Beaulieu feels better than he looks
JASON HILLS, QMI Agency
|Canada defenceman Nathan Beaulieu chaes USA forward Brandon Saad during a World Junior Hockey Championship match at Rexall Place in Edmonton, Alta., Dec. 31, 2011. (CODIE McLACHLAN/QMI Agency)
EDMONTON - Team Canada defenceman Nathan Beaulieu looked somewhat like a chipmunk after the game Saturday night against the United States, but he couldn't be happier.
"I feel great, we won. I look good ... never been better," smiled Beaulieu as he pressed an ice pack down on the side of his cheek.
"I took a shot in the face. Fortunately it missed all my teeth and I took a couple of zippers on the inside of the mouth."
Beaulieu was struck with a hard slap shot from U.S. defenceman Stephen Johns in the second period. The scary incident put Canada down two defenceman for the time being as Scott Harrington left the game earlier with an upper-body injury.
"I'm a Canadian hockey player, I got to take this and run with it," said Beaulieu.
"There's been shots guys took in the face in the NHL and you don't see (them) complaining about it. My first thought was when can I get back in."
Beaulieu got stiched up and took a seat on the Canadian bench to cheer on his teammates to a 3-2 victory.
Team Canada head coach Don Hay didn't go into details of Harrington's injury and he didn't even know when the injury occured.
"He has an upper-body injury," explained Hay still cloudy on details.
"We took him out for precautionary reasons. We really feel he'll be OK as we move ahead here."
Canada wanted a big test in their final round-robin game before heading into the semifinal later this week.
Up 3-0 heading into the third and down two defenceman, the U.S. gave them everything they had in the final frame.
The defence pairing of Jamie Oleksiak and Mark Pysyk were counted on big time in the third.
"Once you see guys battle that hard and see what they're willing to put down on the line, it energizes guys. It really got us going," said Oleksiak.
"Even though we were tired, we kept telling ourselves do it for 'Nate' (Beaulieu), do it for 'Harry' (Harrington) and just do it for each other."
A team can run into trouble when injuries hit, but despite being down to a five-man unit, they adjusted well.
"When you run into a situation like we did in the third, it can be tough, but everyone stepped up," said Pysyk.