Edmonton, AB - As quickly as it began, it was over.
It was over as soon as the matchup was penciled into the tournament's schedule, but the game needed to be played; such is the case, a necessarily evil in an international setting.
Team Canada assembled at Rexall Place this morning knowing what the outcome would be. Even so, the right things were said as media prodded to catch an appealing sound bite.
"We won't let up," proclaimed captain Jaden Schwartz, noting that Denmark had allowed 18 goals and scored a mere three in games against the US and the Czech Republic.
And they didn't. Not through 40 minutes, anyway. What needed deciding was how many, and if Denmark could spoil Mark Visentin's shutout. The answers were 10 and yes in a 60-minute, tilted and spirited eight-goal Canadian win at Rexall Place Thursday night.
"I thought we had a great start," said Canadian Head Coach Don Hay. "I thought we had a real good period, and it's a hard game to play in at times when you're expected to close it out, but I thought we played well and did what we had to do to have success."
"[Denmark was] working really hard and they're a proud country," added Freddie Hamilton, who notched a goal and an assist in the 10-2 romp. "They represented themselves really well and no matter what he score was, we were going to be good sports and not showboat or run up the score too much.
"They played hard and battled to the end, so we showed them respect."
The game was broken open at 2:34 when Quinton Howden was sprung on a partial break, snapping a shot up high, blocker-side on Sebastian Feuk to put Canada up 1-0. It was all they needed to get going. Even then, more were added in a rout that was dispatched with four opening-period goals as the red and white took control.
Canada extended to a two-goal advantage at 6:14 as, with Ryan Strome serving a hooking minor, Brett Connolly raced in on a similar path as Howden, hammering the puck upstairs, in-and-out on the helpless netminder.
Then there was another.
Mark Stone scored as Denmark's Anders Thode made an ill-advised backhand pass in the slot, which was picked by No. 16 and quickly rifled past the unsuspecting goalie at 16:05.
As Denmark looked lost in the slot, tumbling to the ice in a three-skater heap, Ryan Strome pounced on the loose puck, collecting it for a quick moment as he snapped it blocker-side to cash Canada's fourth late in the period.
Through 20 minutes, Canada held a 4-0 lead on the scoreboard while Denmark had only registered three shots; two of which were chipped from the neutral zone as line changes were conducted.
"I didn't see many pucks at all, but in the second period I started seeing some more and it helped me get into the game," said Mark Visentin, who posted 24 saves in the win. "When I looked at their past shot totals, I knew there would be times when I would need to stay awake.
"It's nice to get shots on net," he added, chuckling. "I'm a goalie and I like making saves."
Denmark didn't go quietly, posting 23 shots to Canada's 32 in the remaining two periods, scoring twice early in the third when the game was well in the red and white's hand.
Eight minor penalties to the Canadian squad contributed to the Danes' push.
"We took more penalties than they did and we've been taking a lot throughout the tournament so far," Hamilton explained. "Our penalty kill has been really good, but when we start staying out of the box, it'll be even better."
In preparation for Saturday's clash with the United States, Canada didn't want to develop any bad habits in a game that they were expected to win and record a double-digit total. Denmark cashed with goals by Nicolai Meyer and Emil Kristensen 5:43 apart in the third, but Canada pushed back, scoring three more late to seal the win.
"It was important to end on a strong note," Hay said. "We're a proud team and we want to play well to the end. There are always going to be some bad habits that are going to take place. It's really hard to keep it up for 60 minutes.
"The urgency is there, but it's going to drop off when you're not getting pushed or the threat to lose isn't there."
"I thought our team stuck to the system and didn't let those bad habits creep in," added Brandon Gormley, who recorded two assists and a +4 rating in the win. "If you get away from your system, any team is going to make you pay. We thought the game might be over, but a game is 60 minutes and we needed to play it that way.
"Now we need to be prepared, because the US will be an even tougher match."