VANCOUVER – Vancouver won the chance for the goalkeeper Michael DiPietro debuted a new set of red and white, decorated with leaf Bauer pads and gloves shortly after learning that he would play for Canada at the 2019 IIHF World Junior Championship.
So, why did the 19-year-old goalkeeper mark his new blocker with a felt pen before starting his second pre-tournament against Finland on Sunday?
After receiving the nerve and getting into the focus of long periods of inactivity during his first pre-tournament game, a 5-3 victory against Switzerland at the Save-on-Foods Memorial Center in Victoria, British Columbia on December 19, in which he made 14 savings DiPietro added several easily visible handwritten reminders inside his cuff block, after talking to Dr. Ryan Hamilton, a mental health consultant in Canada.
"Take things one spirit at a time, then ABC: Be aware, breath, choose," said DiPitro. "I talked to our sports psychologist and stuck to me. Be aware of the environment, be aware that your mind is drifting, breathing, and then choosing what to focus on. It's just mental."
Very often it's about gaming, but DiPetro faces additional harassment with Canada that played its preliminary matches Rogers Arena, the home of Canucks, who chose in the third round (No. 64) of the 2017 NHL draft.
Progress DiPietro is closely followed and much hyped in Vancouver, adding another layer of already pressed-packed work to being a janitor in the WJC of home ice.
So just like last season when he did set up a motivational reminder on his phone after being interrupted by Canada during the final selection for the London club 2018, DiPitro will use his blocker's message as another way to help him.
"It's really hyped, this event, and it's in Canada and everything that comes along with it, and I can be the chance of Kanuks, I just have to remember to keep things simple and simple to play," said DiPitro.
Whether he gets to do it as Canada's No. 1 remains to be seen.
DiPietro gave up two goals in 15 blows in the first half of the 5-2 loss to Finland at Rogers Arena on Sunday. Ian Scott (Toronto Maple Leaf) played in the second half of the game and made seven saves on nine strokes.
Scott is 23-2-1 with a saving percentage of .943 and four closings of Prince Albert in the Western Hockey League this season, and Canada's coach Tim Hunter praised the humble Scott style after making 22 saves in a 6- 1 before the match against Slovakia at the Save-On Foods memorial on Friday.
Hunter said he had not picked up his WJC 2019 starter, which starts from Wednesday and runs until January 5 in Vancouver and Victoria. He said it was likely that Scott and DiPitro would split the first two matches against Denmark on Wednesday (8 am ET, TSN, NHL [joined in progress]) and against Switzerland on Thursday, and then the coach will decide on the rest of the tournament.
The challenge for DiPietro is not worrying about that decision.
"Just take one spirit at a time, do not worry about what goes down the road or that it's the Vancouver Canucks building," Canada Consultancy Consultant Fred Brachwyte said. "He just needs to enter, play one stroke and want to be in this situation. When playing for Canada, you are nervous, the pressure is real, but just accept that you want to be in this position and play the game you know how to play. "
The DiPietro game evolved after it was ready.
Best known for his competitiveness and athleticism, with the desperate second and third savings, while helping Windsor to win the memorial cup in 2017, DiPitro calmed down his game. The more relaxed attitude and improved efficiency in movement and tracking mechanics were part of him as a goalkeeper of the Hockey League in the year last season, and having a 922 loss in 22 DHL this season.
"He's not as busy as he was, but he still makes those athletic savings when needed," Browneut said.
Video: Kosentino at DiPitro, Canada ahead of WJC
DiPietro was Canada's third goalkeeper at the 2018 World Cup and recalled some of the tips he received from his roommate, Caroline Haurikenas Curtis McKellini.
"Only the mental side of the game," said DiPitro. "The event, such as World Juniors, gets a analyzed time of 1,000 in my opinion, and sometimes you can see yourself reading in many things and forget to just play. I just focus on my game and what's happening on ice and everything trying to block it from outside noise, it definitely gave me a strategy for it. All you can do is take one spirit at a time. "
If he needs a reminder in the middle of the game, all DiPietro should do is look at his right wrist.