PIESTANY, Slovakia – With one pre-tournament game in the books, it appears special teams won’t be a problem for Canada’s National Men’s Summer Under-18 Team at the 2009 Memorial of Ivan Hlinka.
The Canadians scored three times on the man advantage, including a pair of goals at 5-on-3, as it routed the United States 6-1 on Friday in the first of two exhibition games for the tournament’s defending champions.
Brandon Gormley (Murray River, P.E.I./Moncton, QMJHL) led the way offensively for Canada, scoring once and adding two assists, while Ryan Spooner (Kanata, Ont./Peterborough, OHL), Sean Couturier (Bathurst, N.B./Drummondville, QMJHL) and John McFarland (Richmond Hill, Ont./Sudbury, OHL) all had a goal and a helper.
After Brett Connolly (Prince George, B.C./Prince George, WHL) and the Americans’ Michael Parks traded two-man advantage goals in the opening 20 minutes, the Canadian exploded for four unanswered in the second period, taking a commanding 5-1 lead to the dressing room.
Spooner, Gormley, Couturier and Jaden Schwartz (Wilcox, Sask./Notre Dame, SJHL) – with Canada’s second 5-on-3 goal – all found the back of the net in a middle frame that featured 54 minutes in penalties and eight power plays, five for the Canadians.
Overall the teams combined for 84 penalty minutes.
McFarland rounded out the scoring with a goal in the game’s dying minutes, Canada’s third power play goal of the game.
Canadian goaltenders Louis Domingue (Mont St-Hilaire, Que./Moncton, QMJHL) and Calvin Pickard (Winnipeg, Man./Seattle, WHL) split the duties between the pipes, with each seeing 30 minutes of action.
Canada wraps up its pre-tournament schedule on Sunday, when it faces Slovakia in Piestany (1 p.m. ET).
(Nathan also is a writer for Maineiacs Post to Post and the Maine Hockey Journal. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)