PIESTANY, Slovakia – Canada posted its second straight lopsided win at the Memorial of Ivan Hlinka under-18 hockey tournament Tuesday.
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins scored a hat trick and Brett Ritchie added a pair of goals in a 7-3 victory over Switzerland.
Dougie Hamilton and Xavier Ouellet also scored for the Canadians. Daniel Catenacci and Jonathan Huberdeau added two assists apiece as Canada improved to 2-0 following a tournament-opening 6-3 win over Sweden.
Tyson Teichmann made 21 saves for Canada, who outshot the Swiss 40-24.
Canadian coach George Burnett has liked what he's seen of his team so far, especially since the squad had a short, four-day training camp and just one exhibition game to prepare for the tournament.
“Our game was better today so I think I can comfortably say that we've gotten better every day since camp,” Burnett said in a phone interview. “That's the big challenge – that you try to be better every day.”
Burnett acknowledged that Canada did get a little sloppy late in the third period when the score was 7-2.
“But we did some good things,” he added. “We're putting the puck in the right places and we're not turning it over a lot.
“It's great to be up 2-0.”
Alessio Bertaggia, Marwin Leu and Jordan Gahler scored for the Swiss, who slipped to 1-1.
Canada plays Slovakia on Wednesday in its final round-robin game.
The top two teams from each group advance to the semifinals on Friday, with the gold medal game scheduled for Saturday. Canada has won the event five of the past six years.
With some players battling the flu, Burnett used his entire bench against the Swiss.
“It was nice not to have to wear them out any more than we needed to today late in the game,” he said.
So far, nobody has had to sit out due to illness.
“I don't think it's anything serious but when you play at this time of the year, it's pretty common that most teams go through this kind of stuff,” Burnett said.
Canada took in the Swiss-Slovakia game Monday night to do some scouting. While the hosts lost 7-2, Burnett isn't taking them lightly.
“We're going to go about it like getting job done tomorrow is critically important,” he said.
“I think it's important for our psyche to continue to win,” he added.
(Nathan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)