The team is really coming together during the Junior Club World Cup. We haven’t made it easy on ourselves, but have been finding ways to win. In our game against Norway, we got behind and started to panic just a little bit. Eventually we figured it out, playing our game by working hard and shooting the puck. We came back and finished off with a 5-3 win.
Again we had a quick turnaround with a game the following day. This one was really big because it was a must-win to advance to the semifinal round. It also happened to be against the hometown Omsk Hawks. That was a game I will never forget -- Hawks vs. Hawks. It was pretty crazy and surreal to play in front of that many people. I think it was almost 9,000 fans.
So many guys played well and it was a total team effort. Mark Friedman, Josh Nenadal, and Zach Stepan all blocked a lot of shots. Forwards Vinny (Hinostroza), Ryan (Papa), and Taylor (Cammarata) all had great games. Justin (Kloos) made a penalty shot towards the end of the game which was pretty cool. Eamon (McAdam) played unbelievable once again in net and the whole team was pretty sound defensively except for a few minutes. We weathered the storm a little bit during one stretch and pulled away for a 7-3 victory.
Great atmosphere, but most of all it was an incredible feeling to hear our national anthem played at the end of the game while standing on the blueline halfway around the world.
We had an off day before the semifinal round.
In the morning, I was part of a very special opportunity as one player from each tournament team made a visit to a children's hospital just outside the city of Omsk. The hospital wasn’t very big, but it was really nice inside and well-kept. We met and sat with a few kids, gave them some presents, and spent some time talking to them. It was really interesting to hear their stories and where they were from. Some of the kids were cancer patients and they talked about how they deal with their sickness. It reminded me how fortunate our team is to be healthy and able to play hockey. Some of those bumps and bruises we get during the season can never compare to what these kids are battling.
Later in the afternoon, we took a tour of Omsk. Every day we drive by this awesome looking cathedral (Dormition Cathedral) on our way to the rink, and we actually got a chance to go inside during our tour. It had two levels and there was a service going on in the basement level. We felt bad because I think we may have interrupted the service a little bit. It was a cool experience to get a closer look at their culture and see what they do with their religious rituals.
One of the funny moments of the tour was during our walk by the river. There were some guys dressed up from historic times and they had a cannon. Vinny (Hinostroza) decided he wanted to shoot it. The cannon represented one of the first forts in Omsk and the two military guys helped Vinny get all set up. We stood there for about 20 minutes and they couldn’t get it to work. It was getting pretty cold outside but finally he got it to go. It was pretty loud and a cool moment. We have some funny video of the whole thing.
We are looking forward to the next game. It is always nice to move on in a tournament but we know the games aren’t going to get any easier. The team has really come together as a group. We plan to play hard and fast for 60 minutes and all we can ask for is to give it our best.
Follow Ian McCoshen on Twitter at:@ijmccoshen3
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