BUFFALO – Canada took advantage of countless turnovers by Norway in its own end to cruise to a 10-1 win in Group B action at HSBC Arena tonight.
Brayden Schenn had four goals and an assist, and Canada mounted a six-goal blitz in the first period. He now leads all scorers in the tournament with 12 points, and defenceman Ryan Ellis is second with eight. It was his second straight five-point game, and the four goals ties a U20 record.
"He’s unbelievable," said teammate Quinton Howden. "He had a good last night and followed up tonight. He’s a phenomenal hockey player."
The win keeps Canada atop Group B with a perfect 3-0 record and nine points while Norway is now winless (0-3) and in danger of going to the Relegation Round. The win came despite Canada dressing only 16 skaters. Jaden Schwartz, Calvin de Haan, and Cody Eakin were all scratches because of injury, and Zack Kassian sat out the first of two games of a suspension.
"We knew we played against the probably best team of the tournament, and we’re underdogs," said Sondre Olden. "We just had to go out there and play our best game and as hard as we could, but Canada is a good team and we didn’t have a chance."
Canada plays its final game of the Preliminary Round on New Year’s Eve against Sweden while the Norwegians face Russia in a do-or-die game Thursday night
The game was scarcely two minutes old before Casey Cizikas opened the scoring on a close-in two-on-one after Norwegian defenceman Nicolai Bryhnisveen simply fell while carrying the puck out of his own end as the last man. The goals kept coming in quick succession after that, the only excitement from Norway coming off the faceoff after Canada made it 4-0.
Rasmus Juell claimed the puck at centre, skated in on goal, and lifted a weak shot that goalie Mark Visentin flubbed. The goals were just eight seconds apart. Canada came right back when Schenn got his second of the night. No sooner had the puck bulged the twine than goalie Steffen Søberg skated quickly to the players’ bench, removing himself from the game in favour of Lars Volden.
The self-imposed exile had little effect, though, as Marcus Foligno made it 6-1 before the end of the period.
"We just wanted to have good habits and overall we played pretty well," Ellis said. "They started turning on, but we didn’t sit back at all. You always want to score points, to hit and play as well as you can and do things right."
Schenn got his hat trick just 44 seconds into the second period when Volden messed up on a routine shot. The rest of the game was played in cruise control until a late flurry of three goals, including Schenn's fourth, in the last three and a half minutes. Point made; point taken.
(Nathan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)