PIESTANY, Slovakia – The pre-tournament schedule is done. Bring on the games that count for Canada’s National Men’s Summer Under-18 Team at the 2009 Memorial of Ivan Hlinka.
Two days after a convincing 6-1 win over the United States, Canada posted another lopsided win, getting a combined 11 points from its top line of John McFarland (Richmond Hill, Ont./Sudbury, OHL), Tyler Seguin (Brampton, Ont./Plymouth, OHL) and Tyler Toffoli (Scarborough, Ont./Ottawa, OHL) in a 7-1 win over Slovakia on Sunday.
McFarland led the way with a goal and three assists, while Seguin had four helpers and Toffoli two goals and an assist. The line did most of its damage in the first period, when Canada took a commanding 3-0 lead it would never relinquish.
Erik Gudbranson (Orleans, Ont./Kingston, OHL), Brett Connolly (Prince George, B.C./Prince George, WHL), Quinton Howden (Oakbank, Man./Moose Jaw, WHL) and Ryan Spooner (Kanata, Ont./Peterborough, OHL)) also scored for the Canadians, who will now travel to Breclav, Czech Republic to open the tournament against Sweden on Tuesday (9:30 a.m. ET).
Canada came out with jump in the opening 20 minutes, outshooting the tournament co-hosts 20-7 and getting goals from McFarland, Gudbranson and Toffoli less than nine minutes apart to pull away early.
The Slovakians tried to shift the momentum in the middle frame, firing 18 shots at the Canadian goal, but the netminding tandem of Calvin Pickard (Winnipeg, Man./Seattle, WHL) and Louis Domingue (Mont St-Hilaire, Que./Moncton, QMJHL) stopped them all.
Pickard got the start in goal before being replaced by Domingue just past the midway point of the second period. Overall, the Canadian goaltenders turned away 37 shots they faced as Canada held a 52-38 advantage in shots on goal.
Connolly pushed the lead to four early in the second period, undressing a Slovakian defender and roofing a shot past goaltender Juraj Simboch, and Howden made it 5-0 shorthanded, scoring while the Canadians killed a five-minute major assessed to Gudbranson.
Spooner and Toffoli counted for Canada in the third period to round out the scoring, while Slovakia’s Boris Krempasky picked up his country’s lone goal on a power play in the final 20 minutes.
(Nathan also is a writer for Maineiacs Post to Post and the Maine Hockey Journal. He can be reached at email@example.com)