Hits will keep on coming

TERRY KOSHAN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 10:17 AM ET

VANCOUVER -- If Ryan O'Marra has the chance again, he said he gladly will steamroll an opponent.

Despite officiating in their past two games that has all but killed their ability to play intense, hard-hitting hockey, the Canadian players say they will be loathe to change.

Horrible officiating on the part of Russian referee Rafail Kadyrov overshadowed last night a strong defensive performance by Canada, which beat Norway 4-0 and held the Norwegians to only 13 shots. The majority of those shots came with Canadians in the penalty box.

O'Marra was called for checking to the head in the final minute on what appeared to be a legitimate body check.

"Teams are watching and we have to maintain an identity," said O'Marra, a Mississauga native who skates for the Erie Otters. "Our identity should be that we are a physical team and tough to play. I would make that hit any day of the week, and I knew I was going to take a penalty. To eliminate stick penalties, we have to keep our sticks on the ice. But we are going to keep hitting and can't hold back."

Cam Barker, David Bolland, Kyle Chipchura and Luc Bourdon scored for Canada, which pumped 50 shots at Norway goalie Lars Haugen. Bolland, at 14:50 of the second period, started a three-goal burst for Canada in a span of one minute, 51 seconds that put the game away.

Now at 3-0, Canada would advance directly to the semi-finals if it beats the U.S. tomorrow night. The Americans, at 2-0, play Switzerland tonight.

Though officiating in international hockey events involving European referees almost never is good, last night was special. The fans thought so badly of Kadyrov they booed at times when he called penalties against Norway.

Canada coach Brent Sutter was relieved his team, which has allowed just 47 shots in three games, played with more determination. But Kadyrov was another matter.

Including seven 10-minute misconducts, there was 160 penalty minutes called in a game that was not chippy.

'NOT ENTERTAINING'

"That was a two-hour, 45-minute hockey game," Sutter said. "There is always the assumption these rules were put in to make the game more entertaining, but that is not entertaining hockey. It's not something you want to see in the game. We can't let it dictate how we need to play, but it makes it difficult to coach."

Maple Leafs prospect Justin Pogge, who made his third consecutive start, barely was tested. It's all but assured backup Devan Dubnyk will not play here, unless Pogge gets hurt. The most recent time a Canadian backup did not play was 1992, when Mike Fountain watched Trevor Kidd play every minute.

"It was a little bit of a surprise but I am glad I got in there," Pogge said. "I don't like sitting on the bench. I was happy to jump back in because I did not have the greatest game the other night (against Switzerland)."


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