Watch: Carter Hart engages in superstition-showdown with Swiss backup goalie

Winning games and superstition battles — all in a day’s work for Team Canada goaltender Carter Hart. (Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press via AP)

The most intriguing battle during Canada’s 8-2 pounding of Switzerland on Tuesday wasn’t the one that went down between the two nations for 60 minutes, but an epic staredown that took place between Canadian starter Carter Hart and Swiss backup Matteo Ritz during intermission.

As the most talented goalie on the most scrutinized roster in the 2018 World Juniors, every aspect of Hart’s game has been analyzed and re-analyzed since the start of the tournament. It’s not only his stellar play so far that has garnered attention, though, as his pre- and in-game superstition of having to be the last player on the ice after warmup and at the end of each period has seen its share of the spotlight, too.

It was first noticed by a national audience during Canada’s tournament opener against Finland, when he waited as long as he had to in order to be the last one off the ice. On Tuesday, Swiss netminder Ritz decided that, despite his club having essentially a zero percent chance of beating Canada, he was going to mess with a fellow tendy’s superstition anyways. As Ritz refused to graciously bow out and leave the ice before Hart, the two stayed on the ice for over half the flood, dodging the zambonies while each refused to give in to their weird counterpart.

Hart decided he’d had enough, and appeared to finally vacate down the tunnel towards the Canadian dressing room. Ritz, thinking he had emerged victorious, strutted confidently off  to his team’s room, when Hart re-emerged to the ice seconds later and reclaimed his rightful crown as the king of, uhhh, leaving the ice last.

Analytically speaking, this is a very unsustainable superstition and will likely have to be eliminated when the Flyers prospect reaches the NHL, possibly long before then. But, for now, no one is getting the best of Hart’s pre-period ritual.