Make it two wins in as many nights for Canada at the IIHF 2017 World Junior Championship, after overcoming early opposition goaltending exploits to handily beat Slovakia 5-0 on Tuesday night.
The win moves Canada clear atop Group B with six points (three for each victory), while the United States and Russia each have three, though the Americans hold a game in hand.
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The roaring start to the tournament opener where Canada scored in less than four minutes against Russia en route to a 5-3 victory wasn’t duplicated on Tuesday night, but not for a lack of trying.
Canada had 14 first period shots on goal against just two for Slovakia. Each time though, Adam Huska was up to the task in the Slovak net, keeping his area clean by tightly controlling rebounds while Connor Ingram, replacing Carter Hart from game one, was the puck stopper for the home side.
Huska’s resistance finally broke five and a half minutes into the second period when Jeremy Lauzon got the game’s first goal, snapping a dish from Tyson Jost past the Slovak goaltender for a 1-0 lead to Canada. Jost had opened Canada’s goal scoring in the tournament a night earlier. Julien Gauthier picked up the second assist on Lauzon’s first of World Juniors.
A tripping penalty to Slovakia’s Mario Grman gave Canada it’s second power play of the night, where Taylor Raddysh took full advantage by doubling Canada’s lead to 2-0 at 10:57 of the second. Skating behind the net, Pierre-Luc Dubois found Raddysh parked to the right of Huska before the goal, Thomas Chabot picked up the other helper.
Less than three minutes later Anthony Cirelli got his stick to a Lauzon slapper from the point, connecting with the puck to redirect past Huska and Canada was beginning to put the game out of reach at 3-0. Slovakia at this point had managed just three shots on goal, the same amount of times Canada had beaten Huska.
Another power play marker arrived at 16:25 of the second period when Chabot buried one from Mathew Barzal. Captain Dylan Strome found Barzal at the point, who patiently waited for Chabot to get in position before the slap shot that made it 4-0.
Second intermission brought mercy for Huska with his team woefully outplayed and outshot 31-3 through two periods.
Less than three minutes into the third period Canada matched its goal scoring output from the opener, taking a 5-0 lead from Michael McLeod with Cirelli and Dillon Dube assisting.
In the end Canada outshot Slovakia 44-6 for Ingram’s less-than-eventful shutout.
Canada gets a rest on Wednesday night before returning to action on Thursday (8 p.m. ET) against another huge underdog in Latvia. After losing to Canada in its first game, Russia returned Tuesday afternoon to pummel Latvia 9-1.
There is no rest for Slovakia, however, as its players must face the United States (6-1 winners over Latvia in its opener) on Wednesday (7:30 p.m. ET).
All World Juniors games are live on TSN.