Eric Comrie IIHF World Championship Journal #3
Winnipeg Jets goaltender Eric Comrie is currently overseas at the 2017 IIHF World Championship. He has kindly agreed to share his experience while he is in France, taking part in his first non-junior international competition for Team Canada. We hope you enjoy this behind-the-scenes look from one of the top young goalies in the game today!
I woke up this morning and went to a breakfast pre-game meal since the game was a 12:15pm start, which is a bit earlier for us. We didn’t have a pre-game skate because we didn’t have any ice. That means it was kind of a day off for me. I wasn’t going to dress for the game, so I just had some breakfast, went back to my room and took the shuttle to the rink to settle in before the game.
Chad Johnson was slated to get the start for Canada. It’s been interesting to see the difference in his style compared to Calvin Pickard. Just from watching them in practice, you can see that Calvin is a bit more athletic, and tries to bait shooters. Johnny’s a bit more technical, very patient with his positioning. He makes sure he gets there, and really trusts his angles. It’s cool to see the difference, and how they both work with different systems in front of them.
We had a great start in game number two. We had some big opportunities early, but Slovenia fought back with some chances of their own. They had a breakaway, but Chad Johnson made a solid save with his elbow. The player shot it high blocker, and he just got his elbow up in time to make a really, really nice save. He made a lot of timely saves as the game went on. Slovenia had a powerplay, but Johnson stayed calm and patient. He did a very good job of just letting the puck come to him. You could really see that he was on, which eventually helped us get the win.
<iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/P_5ZeEGV3OY?list=PLXxhsJqAKWvKCD64AewCF0kQzI7jEIPsI" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>
When Chad is on, he stays very calm. He likes to beat passes on his feet, which keeps from being too reachy. He keeps his hands centred in front of his body, which allows him to control his rebounds and smother pucks.
That’s all Canada really needed.
There was a 5-on-3 in the second period, and you could see how awesome his skating is. Slovenia had a backdoor chance, and the only reason he got there was because he held his edges. It went left-to-right down low, and he stayed on his feet the whole time. It went back across the crease, and the only reason he was able to get there was because he stayed on his feet. It was an excellent display of goaltending, even though they didn’t end up getting a shot on goal.
The Slovenian goalie Gasper Kroselj made some highlight reel saves. Canada played a really strong game, and he was forced to come up big a bunch of times. We have so much skill on our forward lines, they can really go tic-tac-toe with the puck, but Kroselj knew how to read it. In the first period, one of our Canadian players cut across the middle, so the goalie took a step up when he saw the back door was covered. That allowed him to take the shot right in the chest. A couple of other times we had a backdoor threat waiting, and he backed up a step because he knew it was coming. That allowed him to be very quick when moving side-to-side. I liked his game a lot. Canada was just a bit too much to handle for them today.
We were really happy as a team with the victory, it was a strong game. Chad’s early saves allowed the team to relax knowing that they would get strong goaltending. After the game we relaxed and came back to the hotel for a team dinner, and then we made our way to the players’ lounge. We played some more ping-pong (which I love). I had a really good night because I won a lot (I don’t lose often). I was happy about that. Then we played a little 2-on-2 NHL on the Xbox.
Our next game is against Belarus the next day, so we have some time to relax until then.
Overall it was a successful day with another big win that we can build on!