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It wasn't my day: Binnington

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UFA, Russia — The tears streaming down Boone Jenner’s face said it all.

 

The Canada forward stood on the blue line at the Ufa Arena, surrounded by the din of celebrating Russian fans as they cheered their team’s bronze medal at the world junior championship, and the emotion of the moment overwhelmed him.

Jenner and his teammates left this tournament empty-handed for the first time in 15 years.

Jenner’s tears showed the disappointment for this group, which, in its two biggest games of the tournament, fell behind early and spent the rest of the time trying to recover.

Canada almost pulled this one out before losing in what is apparently an obligatory 6-5 score when these countries meet with something significant on the line.

There will be a lot to pick through after this defeat: Canada’s inability, again, to keep pucks out of its net in significant games will be uppermost in a lot of people’s minds. For the second straight game, Canadian coach Steve Spott had to pull his starting goaltender with his team down after a slow start.

It was a game that should have been played on a frozen river, mistakes and goals and open ice and none more evident than on the winner in overtime which saw Valeri Nichushkin sweep in from the wing, dance around Canadian defenceman Ryan Murphy and jam the puck past Canadian goaltender Malcolm Subban at the far post.

Subban had come into the game after Jordan Binnington, getting his first start of the tournament, gave up three goals on five shots. Canada was in a 3-1 hole before the game was eight minutes old.

Murphy is a gifted offensive player and his goal and two assists were as big a reason as any for Canada having a chance to win.

With Griffin Reinhart serving the first of his four-game suspension for highsticking, Spott was down to six defencemen and the winner came with Morgan Rielly and Murphy on the ice. The puck got behind Rielly after a faceoff in the Russian zone and Murphy came over to help, but didn’t come close to defending Nichushkin.

Should Spott have shortened his bench in the OT?

Maybe.

The flip side is, with the extra open ice and a faceoff in the Russian zone, you put the guy with the hot offensive hand out there and try to win it.

The fact is, the winning goal was the 11th Canada allowed in its last two games.

You are not going to win much giving up goals at that clip and it goes beyond the goaltenders.

“We thought Jordan would have that fire to compete and he did. But a couple of goals got by him and we had to make a tough decision. When Malcolm came in, I thought he calmed the ship down and allowed us to get back in the game,” said Spott. “You win as a team and you lose as a team. I don’t want to make this a goaltending controversy. But the change had to be made.”

To Binnington’s credit, he stood there and accepted his share of the loss. The first goal was a wrister along the ice from the circle that snuck under his pad.

“It wasn’t my day, personally,” he said. “I take the blame for most of that. It’s unacceptable by me. I’m still going to hold my head high. We all had a good experience here.

“You know what? Just look at the character we showed by coming back and making it a game like that. These are some of the best teammates I’ve ever played with and you can’t ask for too much more than that.”

Canada couldn’t — nor should it — ask for more from a bunch of teenagers upon which we place huge expectations.

At the end of the day, these are a bunch of kids who wanted to win for Canada more than any other Canadian wanted them to win.

How much they wanted to win was evident on Jenner’s face.

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