Nurse reflects on U18 Gold - PLAYER BLOG
August 27, 2012
U18 tournament adds third medal to the count for Nurse
|Acadie-Bathurst Titan||Baie-Comeau Drakkar|
|Blainville-Boisbriand Armada||Cape Breton Screaming Eagles|
|Chicoutimi Sagueneens||Drummondville Voltigeurs|
|Gatineau Olympiques||Halifax Mooseheads|
|Moncton Wildcats||PEI Rocket|
|Quebec Remparts||Rimouski Oceanic|
|Rouyn-Noranda Huskies||Saint John Sea Dogs|
|Shawinigan Cataractes||Sherbrooke Phoenix|
|Val-d'Or Foreurs||Victoriaville Tigres|
|Brandon Wheat Kings|
|Edmonton Oil Kings|
|Medicine Hat Tigers|
|Moose Jaw Warriors|
|Prince Albert Raiders|
|Red Deer Rebels|
|Swift Current Broncos|
|Prince George Cougars|
Just over a week ago, Team Canada's entry at the Memorial of Ivan Hlinka U18 tournament captured gold for the 5th consecutive season. One member of the team was Hounds' 2nd-year defenceman DARNELL NURSE.
With player's arriving in Sault Ste. Marie in preparation for the open of Training Camp 2012, we had a chance to get Darnell's thoughts on his recent international competition in our latest player blog exclusively here on soogreyhounds.com
In August I had the opportunity to represent Canada in the prestigious Ivan Hlinka tournament. After 3 tough inter-squad games the team was selected, giving everyone the opportunity to relax and get to know our new teammates.
After 2 days of practice in Toronto, we hopped on a 9-hour flight to Vienna, Austria, which felt more like a week. Arriving early in the morning and traveling to Breclav, Czech Republic, we had to fight off the temptation to sleep and battle through practice.
The first day in Europe was definitely the hardest day just based on how tired everyone was.
The next day was our first game as a team and it showed that we had a lot of work to do as we lost to the Czech Republic 6-4. We had two days to regroup in order to turn it all around and have success at the tournament.
In our first round-robin game against Switzerland we showed some of what we were capable of beating the Swiss 4-1 but we knew we had much more.
Our second test was against Sweden, one of the best teams in the tournament. We played a full 60 minutes and gave everything we had. We managed to hold onto the lead and beat the Swedish team 7-5. This was one of our best games and we proved we had what it takes to be a great team.
In our third game we faced some struggles battling with the Slovakian team from start to finish. They held a 1-0 lead for the first two and a half periods. With 5 minutes left we used everything we had been taught and were able to pull of a 2-1 win.
We had finished first in our pool and had a second opportunity to play the host country, Czech Republic. The atmosphere for the semifinal game was very unique. The crowd was loud, there were drums, chants, and a lot of screaming making it hard at times to hear our coaches and teammates. This game was almost the opposite of the exhibition game, we played great for 60 minutes and came out on top 5-2, giving us a shot at a championship.
We took on Finland for the championship game once again we rose to the occasion beating the Finnish team 4-0. It was a great all around effort and felt great to represent Canada to the best of our abilities.
Winning the tournament was an unbelievable experience and being able to win a World Championship is the greatest accomplishment I have ever been a part of.
The tournament has made me even more hungry to start this upcoming OHL season. This is an experience I will not soon forget but the next step starts Wednesday.