LANGLEY, B.C. – Randy Gazzola (Thorold, Ont./Trenton, OJHL) scored a hat trick – the first by a defenceman in tournament history – as Canada East opened the 2011 World Junior A Challenge with a 5-0 win over the Czech Republic on Monday afternoon.
Gazzola scored once in the first period and twice in the third, all on shots from the point. His first was a seeing-eye shot that eluded Czech netminder Marek Langhamer, followed by a blast from the point on the power play midway through the third period and a wrist shot that bounced off a Czech glove and in just three minutes later.
Tyson Spink (Williamstown, Ont./Cornwall, CCHL) and Justin Danforth (Oshawa, Ont./Cobourg, OJHL) also scored for the Canadians, who got a 16-save shutout performance from Adrian Ignagni (Mississauga, Ont./St. Michael’s, OJHL).
Langhamer finished with 27 saves for the Czech Republic, which made its tournament debut.
Canada East will enjoy an off day Tuesday before taking on Russia in Wednesday’s early game (4 p.m. PT), while the Czechs will meet the Russians on Tuesday afternoon (4 p.m. PT).
(Nathan can be reached at email@example.com)