Canada sticks it to U.S.

TERRY KOSHAN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:12 AM ET

MORA, Sweden -- Andrew Cogliano will watch his teammates make some interesting decisions during the 2007 world junior hockey championship.

But the Woodbridge native knows he will never see a teammate throw his stick at an opponent while the latter is on a breakaway.

Cogliano, who plays at the University of Michigan and is a teammate of United States defenceman Jack Johnson at the college, has a bit of insight into how the Americans think. But Cogliano, an Edmonton Oilers 2005 first-round draft pick, doesn't understand it any better.

"Whenever we play them, I was thinking they do something controversial that costs them the game," Cogliano said about the U.S. after Canada beat the Americans 6-3 yesterday. "They are a good team, but it seems like they don't put it all together.

"You would not see things like that on our team. We keep it one way or you won't be playing."

That's the team way, which the Americans yet again showed signs of not quite grasping.

The play that had observers abuzz came with just over 10 minutes remaining in the third period. Winnipeg native Jonathan Toews stole the puck from Jack Johnson at the American blue line and broke in alone on goalie Jeff Zatkoff. Just as Toews went to shoot, Erik Johnson threw his stick at the Canadian player, forcing Swiss referee Danny Kurmann to call a penalty shot.

"I don't ever remember seeing something like that," Montreal Canadiens scout Dave Mayville said.

Johnson's stick-toss could not have been more selfish. It happened when his club had erased a 3-0 Canada lead and had closed to within a goal. Toews killed the American momentum when he calmly skated in and rifled a shot over Zatkoff's catching glove for his second goal of the game.

It turned out to be the winning goal. To underscore the bad decision, the U.S. scored once more to get back within a goal before Darren Helm of St. Andrews, Man., scored twice in the final two minutes, including once into an empty net.

Earlier, Jack Johnson, with his team already shorthanded, unnecessarily slammed Sam Gagner's head into the boards to put his team down two. These are things being done by experienced veterans, allegedly with bright NHL futures, that are hurting their club in a large way.

Neither of the Johnsons were made available to the media.

But teammate Bill Sweatt acknowledged his team, which did not have much jump after being upset by Germany a day earlier, is being damaged by individualistic play.

"I would say that's part of it," Sweatt said. "We can't play as individuals. Look where it has got us so far. We have a bunch of players who have to put egos aside and some are finding it hard to do."

Steve Downie of Queensville, Ont., and Thunder Bay's Tommy Pyatt also scored for Canada.

Sweatt, Erik Johnson and Mike Carman scored for the U.S.


Videos

Photos