STOCKHOLM – Canada has hit a groove after losing to Switzerland last week. They have won three straight games and outscored their opponents 14-2. Ryan O’Reilly scored in Canada’s last game against Belarus to get his team going. IIHF.com's John Sanful spoke with O’Reilly.
The win over Belarus was another impressive performance and you were able to get your first goal of the tournament. Pleased with the effort?
Ryan O’Reilly: The effort was huge for us. The first couple of games we started real slow and since then have wanted to make sure that we let teams know that when they play us we won’t make it easy for them.
Once again the team struck early to put one on the board. That’s clearly Canada’s priority to get on the board first.
It is. We really work for the first 5-10 minutes playing the right way and outworking them and we are lucky we got the first goal. You want to get some momentum and outwork them down low. Every game we get better and better. We are giving up fewer chances and our power play is connecting more. Hopefully we’ll keep building on that to be successful. We learn from each game and learning shift by shift.
This is not your first time playing in a big sheet this season. You were in Russia for a while. How was that?
It was nice being in Russia for a bit and seeing that style on the big ice and playing against those players and learning about how that type of game is played. To come back here at the World Championship I kind of jumped right back into it and knew what to expect like containing guys, how much room you have to give them and being aggressive in some areas. I’m lucky like some of the guys who played overseas during the lockout. It was very good.
This means you have a great vantage point having played against some of these players throughout the tournament in the KHL.
It’s an advantage having seen some of these players during my time in Russia by playing against these guys who are very skilled. You give them time and confidence they are going to put chances on you all night and we know to expect that so you have to check them hard and can’t give them easy opportunities.
Have you followed any of the action in Helsinki?
I saw that France beat Russia, which is good for them and saw some USA highlights and they are playing well but more focused on what we’re doing over here.
How does this team prepare for its games?
We break down every game and know what to expect that team. We are not focused on the outcome we are focused on the process. That’s why we are so successful. We are focused on the game itself and taking care of the little details, doing well in the neutral zone. We have so much talent upfront that we will get our chances to put pucks in the net.