Canada’s U18 National Men’s team came away with the win Tuesday evening defeating Slovakia 9-1 in yet another dominant performance.
The home team put on a show once again showcasing their speed and some pretty passing plays for the crowd at the Peavey Mart Centrium.
Brayden Yager had a game to remember with two goals and two assists, including the opening tally of the game. This was his second game in a row with at least one goal.
“A lot of credit to my linemates there feeding me the puck. The powerplay it too was really good and when I get a chance I want to shoot and hopefully they just go in,” Yager said.
Yager, who plays for the Moose Jaw Warriors of the WHL, is on a line with Ethan Gauthier and Zach Benson this tournament, who both scored tonight and it seems the trio has found chemistry in a short time.
“Playing with Benny and Gaut’s it’s really easy. They’re both super smart hockey players and we’re able to find each other. Lots of communication out there helps a lot and I thought we did a really good job,” he added. “It’s lots of fun, playing with those two again like I said it’s a treat so I’m very fortunate I get to play with those two guys.”
Yager added this 2005-born group is special to play with and that every line can be a top line and they all trust eachother.
Things got chippy between Slovakia and Canada with plenty of scuffles and banter usually after the whistle. This led to numerous penalties in the opening frame for both teams.
Canadian forward Zachary Benson scored a beauty late in the first period on a quick shot from the point after puck was knocked to him out of the face-off. Team Canada led 2-0 after the opening period.
Canada continued their impressive play into the second period where Yager scored his second of the game nearly eight minutes into middle frame off a slick pass from defenceman Caden Price. Tanner Howe, Riley Heidt, and captain Cameron Allen added three more before going into the final frame.
The Canadians came out for the third period picking up right where they left off. Riley Heidt got his second of the game four minutes in and less than a minute later Ethan Gauthier fired in his fourth of the tournament. With 10:39 left in the final frame Tanner Molendyk fired in a point shot off a pass from Yager.
With only a few minutes remaining in the game Slovakian forward Peter Cisar scored the first goal against the Canadians off a nice toe drag move around the defender and placed it top shelf above Canada’s goaltender Carson Bjarnason.
Head coach Stephane Julien said post game what he liked from his team tonight is they came into the game with the right mindset and kept their foot on the gas pedal.
“What I liked tonight was the pressure we put on the puck. It was non-stop where we stopped them in the offensive zone we created a lot of turnovers from the Slovaks. It’s a good hockey team but at the same time we put the work together. We use all our players, tonight probably all the same ice time and guys were working hard and we deserve it,” Julien said.
Slovakian goaltender Samuel Urban made 37 saves and held the Canadians to just two goals in the first period before he was pulled in the third period. Damian Slavik replaced him and 11 saves. Canadian goaltender Carson Bjarnason made his second start for Canada and made 19 saves.
Canada will be back in the ice Wednesday night against Sweden at 7 p.m. at the Peavey Mart Centrium.