Canada surpasses Slovaks
Canada surpasses Slovaks
Two points for Jost, Canadians still perfect
David Quenneville, Brett Howden, and Boris Katchuok scored for Canada. Captain Tyson Jost had a pair of assists.
"We really stuck to our game plan of getting pucks deep and using our speed and size," said Jost. "The Czechs and this team here, they both sit back and try to clog up the neutral zone. That’s something we talked about before the game, trying to bypass that and get pucks deep."
Samuel Bucek replied for Slovakia, which will finish off its round-robin against the rival Czech Republic on Tuesday.
Of facing the Czechs, Slovak captain Samuel Solensky said: "It’s 50/50. It’s a rivalry between Slovakia and Czech. We want to start the quarter-finals with third place, so we want to beat them and we will do everything to win tomorrow."
Canada has won three straight games in regulation, whereas Finland, now second in the group, needed a shootout to beat the Czechs 4-3 in its opener.
"We’ve got to play hard and smart, and that’s something we’ve got to key on in the next game against the Finns," said Jost.
In this game, the teams got off to a slow start, turning over the puck frequently. With about seven minutes left in the first period, forward Noah Gregor, freshly added to the Canadian lineup, was foiled at close range as Slovak starter Roman Durny made a left pad save. There was some physical action, too, as a pair of #25’s, Jordan Kyrou and Peter Bjaloncik, collided in the neutral zone.
Canada finally broke through at 3:50 of the second period when Quenneville crashed the net in the midst of a scramble and backhanded the puck up over Durny.
At 8:16, Canada went up 2-0 as Howden scored his third goal in just two outings, converting a nice centering feed from Gregor. The two are teammates with the WHL's Moose Jaw Warriors.
"I thought I played pretty well," Gregor said. "It’s a little different playing internationally, but there were some familiar faces, with Howden on my line. It was nice to get an assist."
The game got chippy and scrambly at times. Canada's Jakob Chychrun and Slovakia's Adam Ruzicka were sent off after a mid-game wrestling match in the neutral zone.
"We’ve done some research on international tournaments, and the team who’s the most disciplined is usually the one who comes out on top," Jost said. "That’s one of the things that going into this tournament we wanted to bear down on, and it’s something we do need to be a little bit better on."
It was 3-0 Canada with 41 seconds left in the middle frame, thanks to a lovely three-way passing play on the rush. From right wing, Jost sent it across to William Bitten, who centered it to Katchuok, and he made no mistake.
Durny did his best to keep his team in it, stopping Howden on a clean break in the opening minute of the third period.
Bucek made it 3-1 with an unassisted shorthanded marker against Canada's Stuart Skinner at 10:17. But that was as close as the Slovaks would get, despite generating some late pressure on the power play and pulling their goalie for the extra attacker.
Final shots favored Canada 39-27. Solensky said of Durny's performance: "He was fantastic, and he saved many chances from the Canadian team."
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