Skip to main content

Domi using childhood advice for Canada at WJC

by Sean Farrell

MONTREAL -- Max Domi is putting into practice for Canada at the 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship advice he got as a youngster from family friends Mario Lemieux and Mats Sundin to shoot the puck whenever the opportunity is there.

Domi (Arizona Coyotes), the son of Tie Domi, scored for a second straight game at Bell Centre on Saturday and Canada recorded its second shutout win in two days with a 4-0 victory against Germany.

There really wasn't any question about him shooting when he put Canada up by three at 9:14 of the third period; the 19-year-old forward joyfully stuck out his tongue to celebrate after he scored on a back-door tap in off a no-look backhand pass from Sam Reinhart (Buffalo Sabres).

"That was a gift," Domi said Sunday. "I guess Christmas came a couple of days late for me."

Domi recalled how his father, a veteran of 1,020 NHL games, would remind him that two members of the Hockey Hall of Fame had encouraged him to seize opportunities to score goals as much as setting them up.

"I would always overpass when I was a kid in minor hockey so he'd jump all over me," Domi said. "He's like, 'Fine. If you can't listen to Mario or Mats Sundin, then I don't know who else I can get to tell you'."

Domi has 17 goals and 41 assists for 58 points in 27 games with the London Knights of the Ontario Hockey League this season. His 287 points and 240 penalty minutes in 214 games during his four seasons with the Knights stand in contrast to his father's NHL totals of 104 goals, 245 points and 3,515 penalty minutes.

"He played a long time in the NHL and I haven't even got there yet so obviously he's the guy that I look up to in the sense that I want to be able to follow in his footsteps," Domi said. "I ask him questions every day and he talks to me every day about it and it's just work ethic and being a good teammate and stuff like that. He's a pretty special guy on and off the ice so I'm pretty lucky to have him in my back pocket 24/7."

Canada has outscored its opponents 12-0 after opening the tournament with an 8-0 win against Slovakia on Friday. Next up for the hosts are defending champion Finland on Monday.

"They play very good as a unit," Canada coach Benoit Groulx said. "They're very good at blocking the middle of the ice and taking your time and space away so it's going to be a matter for us of managing the puck well, make sure that we put [ourselves] in position to use our speed and be hard defensively."

Finland, which defeated Canada in the 2014 semifinals, is winless with one point at 0-0-1-1. After losing to the United States in a shootout, Finland lost 2-1 to Slovakia on Saturday, despite holding a 38-12 advantage in shots on goal.

"Anyone can lose any of these games, it's just how high the competition is," Domi said. "It's tough every night and you've got to be ready to go. They're going to want to win [Monday] and so are we, so we've got to be ready to match everything they bring at us."

Groulx said Zachary Fucale (Montreal Canadiens) will start against Finland. Fucale made 12 saves Friday; Eric Comrie (Winnipeg Jets) made 17 saves Saturday.

"These aren't easy decisions," Groulx said. "The two of them, the way they're playing, they haven't left us much room to maneuver and so we thought that Zach had done well enough to deserve the start. It was a discussion we had among the coaches and we just simply decided it would be Zach."

Fucale was in goal last year for Canada's 5-1 loss to Finland in Malmo, Sweden.

"I wouldn't say it's still fresh in my mind but obviously I remember what happened and I learned from it and it's certainly going to serve as a motivator for [Monday’s] game," Fucale said.

Defenseman Darnell Nurse (Edmonton Oilers) said knowing who will get the start has no impact on Canada's preparation.

"We have confidence in whoever's in net, just knowing their capabilities and how great they are," Nurse said. "And Zach is one of the best in the world and we're real fortunate to have him between the pipes."

Nurse noted that Comrie delivered the goods in the second period Saturday when Germany had some momentum.

"It was a little bit of a wakeup call, but with that said, you see how deep our team really is when we had to rely on our goaltender," Nurse said. "Eric came up and made some huge saves for us and I thought we were able to really bounce back and take control of the game as soon as the third [period] came around."

Jake Virtanen (Vancouver Canucks) felt he took advantage of his opportunity to play on a line with Robby Fabbri (St. Louis Blues) and Connor McDavid, the consensus top prospect for the 2015 NHL Draft.

McDavid had a goal and two assists Saturday, and Fabbri has two goals and two assists in two games.

"I think we played pretty good in the third there and had a couple of chances,” Virtanen said. “But whatever line you get put with you've just obviously got to make it work, and I think it clicked pretty well and hopefully it could stay that way and I can keep producing."

Virtanen, who has a goal and an assist, will have his family squarely behind him notwithstanding his Finnish roots. The 18-year-old forward said he knows a few Finnish words, but nothing that will allow him to do any bilingual chirping Monday.

His grandparents immigrated to Canada from Finland when his father was a child.

"I think my grandpa has a little mixed feelings," Virtanen said. "He has a soft spot for them, but he lives here so I think he's for Canada all the way."

View More

The NHL uses cookies, web beacons, and other similar technologies. By using NHL websites or other online services, you consent to the practices described in our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service, including our Cookie Policy.