VANCOUVER – Vancouver Canucks Goalkeeper Perspective Michael DiPietro debuted a new set of red and white Bauer pads and gloves, adorned with maple leaves, shortly after learning that he would be playing for Canada in the 2019 IIHF World Junior Championship.
So why was the 19-year-old goalkeeper scoring his new blocker with a felt-tip pen before making his second match before the tournament against Finland on Sunday?
After admitting nervousness and focus amid long periods of inactivity during his first pre-tournament match, a 5 to 3 win against Switzerland at the Save-On-Foods Memorial Center in Victoria, British Columbia on December 19. DiPietro added some hand-written reminders easily visible inside his fist-blocker after talking to Dr. Ryan Hamilton, Canada's mental performance consultant.
"Take one disc at a time, and then ABC: Be aware, breathe, choose," said DiPietro. "I was talking to our sports psychologist and that was for me. Be aware of what surrounds you, be aware that your mind is drifting, take a deep breath and then choose what to focus on.
Much of the goalkeeper often does, but DiPietro faces extra distractions with Canada playing his preliminary round of Rogers Arena games, home to Canucks, who selected him in the third round (No. 64) of the 2017 NHL Draft.
DiPietro's progress was closely monitored and very sensationalist in Vancouver, adding yet another layer to the already overworked job of being a keeper in a WJC in the home ice.
So, just like he did last season when he set a motivational reminder on your phone after he was hacked by Canada during the final selection camp for the 2018 WJC, DiPietro will use the message on his blocker as another way to help him.
"It's really sensational, this event, and being in Canada and whatever comes along with that, and me being a Canucks prospect, I just have to remember to keep things simple and just play the goal," said DiPietro.
If he manages to do this as Canada's number one continues to be seen.
DiPietro scored twice in 15 shots by playing the first half of a 5-2 defeat by Finland at the Rogers Arena on Sunday. Ian Scott (Toronto Maple Leafs) played the second half of the game and made seven defenses in nine pitches.
Scott is 23-2-1 with a 0.443 percentage and four shutouts to Prince Albert in the Western Hockey League this season, and Canada coach Tim Hunter praised Scott's calm style after making 22 saves in a 6-1 win before the tournament. against Slovakia at Save-On Foods Memorial Center on Friday.
Hunter said he did not choose his starting engine for the 2019 WJC, which starts on Wednesday and runs through Jan. 5 in Vancouver and Victoria. He said it is likely that Scott and DiPietro will split the first two games against Denmark on Wednesday (8 pm ET; TSN, NHLN [joined in progress]) and against Switzerland on Thursday, and then the technical team will make a decision for the rest of the tournament.
The challenge for DiPietro is not to worry about this decision.
"Just take one disc at a time, do not worry about what's on the road or with the Vancouver Canucks building," said Canadian race consultant Fred Brathwaite. "He just has to get in, shoot one shot at a time and want to be in that situation. When you play in Canada, you're nervous, the pressure is real, but just accept that you want to be in this position and play the game." do you know how to play. "
DiPietro's game has evolved since it was called.
Better known for his competitiveness and athleticism, which makes the second and third save desperately while helping Windsor win the Memorial Cup in 2017, DiPietro calmed his game. A more relaxed position and greater efficiency in the mechanics of movement and tracking were part of him being named the goalkeeper of the year of the Ontario Hockey League last season and having a savings of 0.922 in 22 OHL games this season.
"He's not as busy as he used to be, but still does sports defenses when needed," Brathwaite said.
Video: Cosentino in DiPietro, Canada, ahead of the WJC
DiPietro was Canada's third goalkeeper at the 2018 IIHF World Championship and recalls some of the advice he received from his roommate, Carolina Hurricanes goalie Curtis McElhinney.
"Just the mental side of the game," DiPietro said. "An event like World Juniors is analyzed 1,000 times in my opinion and sometimes you can see yourself reading in a lot of things and only forgetting to play. Just focus on my game and what is happening on the ice and try to block It definitely gave me a strategy for that. All you can do is take one puck at a time. "
If he needs a reminder in the middle of the game, all DiPietro needs to do is look at his right wrist.