BUFFALO, N.Y. — Backup goaltender Colton Point had a 20-save shutout as Canada blanked Slovakia 6-0 on Wednesday at the world junior hockey championship.
Jordan Kyrou led Canada’s (2-0) offence with a goal and two assists, while Jonah Gadjovich scored twice. Kyrou’s linemates Sam Steel and Taylor Raddysh also scored, as did Maxime Comtois.
Point got the start over Carter Hart, who made 29 saves in Tuesday’s 4-2 win over Finland.
Hart is one of seven players returning from last year’s silver-medal team and the presumptive starter for most of the tournament.
But with a pair of back-to-back games in the preliminary round Canadian head coach Dominique Ducharme decided to rest Hart.
Defenceman Kale Clague missed the game after blocking a shot with his right foot in Tuesday’s 4-2 win over Finland.
David Hrenak stopped 48 shots for Slovakia (0-1).
Canada dominated play throughout the contest, outshooting Slovakia 54-20.
Steel opened scoring 3:39 into the first. Defenceman Cale Makar rushed to the net and made a backhanded pass to Steel, who dropped to one knee to sweep the puck into a wide-open net.
Canada had a scary moment late in the first period when defenceman Jake Bean was knocked off his feet by Slovakia’s Marian Studenic as they were chasing down the puck. Studenic got cut by Bean’s skate, but the Canadian went headfirst into the endboards and lay on the ice for a minute before trainers helped him to the locker-room.
Potentially losing Bean and Clague would cause serious long-term problems for Canada at the tournament.
Hockey Canada has already finalized its roster, so it cannot add any additional skaters to the team, even for injuries. Also, Canada’s blueprint for the world junior championship was to have a fast-skating team that could force turnovers and eventually exhaust its opponents. As two of Canada’s smoothest skaters, Bean and Clague are a key part of that plan.
Fortunately for Canada, Bean returned to the ice near the midway point of the second, playing 2:21 in the period.
Kyrou showed off his slick stick-handling abilities on the power play, sliding the puck between a defender’s legs, then snapping a shot past Hrenak for a 2-0 lead in 1:24 into the second. Kyrou leads the Ontario Hockey League in points, despite not playing for the Sarnia Sting in two weeks while he was at Canada’s selection camp and playing in pre-tournament exhibitions.
Gadjovich made it 3-0 at the 5:43 mark of the second, taking a rebound off the pads of Hrenak and backhanding it past the outstretched goalie.
Raddysh added another power-play goal with 9:27 left in the second. He redirected a pass from Kyrou into Hrenak’s pads, then flipped the rebound over the Slovak goalie.
Comtois made it 5-0, roofing a backhand over Hrenak’s left. Minutes later, Gadjovich scored his second of the night by chipping the puck over Hrenak’s exact same shoulder for the final score.
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John Chidley-Hill, The Canadian Press