DAVOS, Switzerland — Waterloo, Ont., native Ahren Spylo scored a hat trick as German club Adler Mannheim handed Canada its first loss of the Spengler Cup international hockey tournament Tuesday.
Daniel Steiner and Francois Methot also scored in Mannheim’s 5-2 win.
Jean-Guy Trudel and Shawn Heins replied for the Canadians, who dropped to 2-1 after opening the event with a pair of wins.
“If this was the stinker, it was good to get it out of our system tonight,” said Canadian assistant coach Doug Shedden.
The win improved Mannheim’s record to 2-1. Canada will play Belarusian club Dynamo Minsk today and can lock up a spot in Thursday’s championship game with a victory. Minsk hammered Czech club HC Energy Karlovy Vary 8-0 in the late game Tuesday.
“I think we believed we could just go out and win without going out and playing with our heads and trying to win,” Shedden said. “I think it’s one of those lessons that you learn. You pick yourself up tomorrow.”
Spylo is one of 12 Canadian-born players on the Mannheim roster. Ottawa native Fred Brathwaite, who spent nine season in the NHL, got the win in the Mannheim net.
“I would like to say it would have been special regardless of the team we were playing,” Spylo told Rogers Sportsnet after the game.
Spylo was drafted by the New Jersey Devils in 2002 and after three years in the NHL club’s minor league system, made the move to Europe.
“I haven’t looked back since,” he said. “It’s been a real treat and an honour to play for different nationalities.”
Canada pulled starting goaltender Wade Dubielewicz midway through the second period in favour of David LeNeveu.
Shedden said the Canadian squad was simply outworked.
“I think a few guys with the effort let us down tonight,” he said. “If they’re true Canadians they’re going to bounce back really hard tomorrow.”