BUFFALO, N.Y. — Sometime during Canada’s 6-0 rout of Slovakia Jordan Kyrou realized that he and his teammates had made a mistake. They had picked the wrong song to celebrate goals to at the world junior hockey championship.
After every goal “Hey Baby” by DJ Otzi blasted over the loudspeakers at KeyBank Center, sometimes twice, as replays of the goal were shown on the scoreboard.
“I think we’re going to change it up,” said Kyrou with a laugh. “At first we thought it was a good idea but after hearing it it’s like ‘uhhhh it’s kinda iffy.’ We’re probably going to change it up.”
Kyrou said they might return to a celebratory song from previous world juniors, like last year’s “We Dem Boyz” by Wiz Khalifa or “Let Me Clear My Throat” by DJ Kool, which was used in Helsinki, Finland, at the 2016 championship.
“We might go with the same one as last year, or I’m not sure what else we were thinking of, more of a pump-up song,” said Kyrou, who refused to snitch on which of his teammates had nominated “Hey Baby.”
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.
Backup goaltender Colton Point had a 20-save shutout in net, getting 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.
“When you get a game, you get a game,” said Point. “There’s no politics involved. He’s obviously the starter for a reason. He’s an amazing goaltender. I just come in and if I get a game then I’ve got to play my game.”
Canada’s defence, one of its strengths heading into the tournament, continues to be battered by injuries.
Dante Fabbro is working himself into game shape after missing most of selection camp and two pre-tournament exhibitions with a lower-body contusion. He was limited to 5:18 of work on Wednesday and did not go on the ice in the third.
Kale Clague missed the game after blocking a shot with his right foot in Tuesday’s win over Finland.
Then late in Wednesday’s first period 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. He returned midway through the second.
“Everyone’s day-to-day. We expect Clague to be back on (Friday against the United States). Fabbro we’re just managing his ice time because he played a lot against Finland. He didn’t practise much before that so we wanted to make sure that he was getting some action but not too much,” said Ducharme, adding that although Bean’s fall was scary, he just had the wind knocked out of him.
What is in doubt is if Canada’s outdoor game against the rival U.S. on Friday will go ahead as planned. The temperature has been below -10 Celsius all week before windchill with heavy snow expected, making playing at New Era Field — the home of the NFL’s Buffalo Bills — potentially dangerous for players and fans.
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, dropping to one knee to sweep the puck into a wide-open net.
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 tournament in scoring with a goal and three assists so far. He also leads the Ontario Hockey League in points, despite not playing for the Sarnia Sting in two weeks while with Canada’s junior team.
Gadjovich made it 3-0 at the 5:43 mark of the second, taking a rebound off Hrenak’s pads and backhanding it past the outstretched goalie.
Raddysh added another power-play goal with 9:27 left in the second, flipping his own 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.