On December 26th, 2014, host nation Canada opened their 2015 World Junior Hockey Championship (WJC) round robin play with a dominating victory over Slovakia, 8-0.
The Canadians, eager to begin their tournament on home soil on a good note, received contributions from throughout their lineup, including goals from seven different players and points from 11 skaters. Resulting from their team depth and scoring prowess, top players Connor McDavid and Curtis Lazar did not register a single point.
In case you missed any moments or highlights of the game, a comprehensive video recap can be seen here:
After a slightly slow start to begin the game, the Canadians began to warm up, showing off the speed and skill which has made them a favourite to win the tournament.
1-0 Goal – Robby Fabbri (Reinhart, Duclair)
Canada got on the board early thanks to a beautiful goal finished off by Fabbri. Anthony Duclair gained the zone on the left hand side, slid a pass forward to Sam Reinhart who then made a great backhand pass to Fabbri who beat Denis Godla five-hole.
– This goal can be seen at 2:00 of the above recap.
2-0 Goal – Anthony Duclair (Domi)
Following an impressive fore-check and resulting zone time, Canada’s top line executed a great cycle game down low. Max Domi fought off multiple defenders before sending a beautiful, cross-ice saucer pass to a wide open Duclair, who deked out the Slovakian net minder before sending a back hand shot into the gaping cage.
– Check out this goal at 4:30 above.
3-0 Goal – Robby Fabbri (2) (Petan, Bowey)
In a quickly developed play, Madison Bowey fired a crisp pass to Nic Petan on the left hand side who subsequently gained the Slovakian zone. As a Slovak defender pressed Petan, he saucered a pass cross ice, between the legs of the opposing player, which Fabbri was able to knock down and fire far-side past Godla. The goal was the third for the Canadians within five minutes.
– Fabbri’s second goal can be seen at 6:20
4-0 Goal – Nick Paul (Crouse, Virtanen)
Canada’s fourth goal of the game was due largely in part to a great rush by Jake Virtanen. Following a turnover at the Slovakian blue-line, Virtanen picked up the pick, held off a defender and drove the net. After attempting a wrap around, Nick Paul kicked the loose puck to his stick amidst a scrum in front of the net and was able to just lift the puck over Godla’s outstretched glove.
– Paul’s goal can be viewed at 12:20
5-0 Goal – Brayden Point (Petan, Fabbri)
Yet another remarkable pass by Nic Petan led to Point’s first goal of the tournament. After gaining the zone, Petan flipped the puck into the slot in what looked to be an attempted individual deke, however the puck was put on a tee for Point, who one-timed a shot over the shoulder of Godla, ending the keepers night early.
– Point’s goal can be seen at 13:40
6-0 Goal – Max Domi (Reinhart)
Domi’s first of the tournament was an individual effort capped off by an amazing shot. After Reinhart found Domi up the middle off of a quick pass, Max, who was one on two, made a quick move, then fired a high wrister far side on David Okilicany, who had replaced Godla between the pipes.
– This goal comes at 13:35 in the recap
7-0 Goal – Nic Petan (Hicketts, Fabbri)
Petan’s first goal of the tournament is arguably the best of the championship to this point. After winning the puck in the corner, Petan skated towards the net unchallenged yet on a terrible angle, yet was able to beat Okilicany up high on a tremendous shot. Okilicany was one-knee down, protected the majority of the net as well as cutting of a potential cross crease pass, however Petan successfully pulled off a highly skilled move to increase the Canadian lead to seven.
– Petan’s snipe can be seen at 17:10
8-0 Goal – Jake Virtanen (Point)
Virtanen was one of Canada’s hardest working players all game and was finally rewarded for his efforts late in the third period. Resulting from a Slovakian turn over at the Canadian blue line, Point quickly skated the puck into the opposing zone and attempted a shot. His shot glanced off of a Slovak player and went wide of the net, however it bounced back through Virtanen’s legs where Jake was able to somehow score from an impossible angle. Virtanen’s quick reflexes illustrated the skill which made him the sixth overall pick in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft.
– Virtanen’s goal can be seen at 20:00
Zachary Fucale made 12 saves to record a shutout.
Canada did exactly what they were expected to do Friday night, beat Slovakia. Although Slovakia shouldn’t be expected to compete for a medal, they are a team which should not be taken lightly, especially by Canada who have had their troubles against Slovakia in recent history.
Ultimately, Canada showed the speed and skill necessary to be both competitive and successful at the WJC on Friday night, a showing which should give Canadian fans renewed medal hopes moving forward.
Canada resumes their round robin play on Saturday, December 27th against Germany. Eric Comrie will get the start in goal.