From Hockey Canada
PIESTANY, Slovakia – Three down, one to go for Canada’s National Men’s Summer Under-18 Team at the 2008 Memorial of Ivan Hlinka tournament.
Brayden Schenn (Saskatoon, SK/Brandon, WHL) scored once and added two assists and Ryan Ellis (Hamilton, ON/Windsor, OHL) had four helpers as Canada romped 9-1 over the tournament co-hosts from Slovakia on Thursday, completing a perfect preliminary round and booking a spot in Saturday’s gold medal game.
Despite falling behind in the game’s first minute for the second time in three preliminary round games, the game was never in doubt for Canada, who led 4-1 after one period and 7-1 after two en route to victory.
With the winner booking a trip to the gold medal game, Andrej Kudrna struck early for the Slovakians, beating Canadian goaltender Nathan Lieuwen (Abbotsford, BC/Westside, BCHL) just 34 seconds after the puck was dropped.
The Slovakian momentum lasted just 24 seconds, however, as Schenn pulled the Canadians even, taking a pass from Evander Kane (Vancouver, BC/Vancouver, WHL) and snapping a shot past netminder Juraj Hollý.
Scott Glennie (Winnipeg, MB/Brandon, WHL) gave the Canadians their first lead of the game at the eight-minute mark, stuffing a loose puck past Hollý, and goals from Louis Leblanc (Kirkland, QC/Lac St-Louis, LHMAAAQ) and Ryan O’Reilly (Seaforth, ON/Erie, OHL) 56 seconds apart late in the opening frame sent Canada to the intermission with a 4-1 lead.
It took just 48 seconds of the second period for the lead to reach four goals, as Simon Després (Laval, QC/Saint John, QMJHL) took a drop pass from Glennie and snapped a shot past Hollý, whose night came to an end just minutes later.
Cody Eakin (Winnipeg, MB/Swift Current, WHL) blasted a shot past Tomáš Pék, the new Slovakian netminder, six minutes after Després’ marker, and Jimmy Bubnick (Saskatoon, SK/Kamloops, WHL) converted a rebound from an Ellis point shot on a Canadian powerplay with just five seconds left in the frame, making it 7-1 after 40 minutes.
The Slovakians came out a deflated team in the third period, and it showed on the shot clock as Canada held a whopping 23-1 advantage in the final 20 minutes. The Canadians outshot Slovakia 53-14 overall.
Garrett Mitchell (Regina, SK/Regina, WHL) and Leblanc, with his second of the game, rounded out the scoring in the third as Canada got its offense into gear just in time for Saturday’s goal medal game, where the opposition will be Russia.
Saturday’s game (12:30 p.m. EDT) marks the first meeting between the two countries at the U18 level since April’s gold medal game at the 2008 IIHF World Under-18 Championship in Kazan, Russia, which Canada won 8-0 to claim the world title.
(Nathan also is a writer for MVN.com. He's the writer for the Asylum which covers the Lewiston Maineiacs of the QMJHL. He's also a regular contributor to the NHL Source also at MVN.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)