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Canada Gets First Win Over Slovakia

Saturday, 10.05.2014 / 4:24 PM / News Articles
By Lucas Aykroyd
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Canada Gets First Win Over Slovakia
The crowd wasn\'t on their side, but the Canadians didn\'t care as they beat Slovakia 4-1 on Saturday night. Cody Hodgson scored the third-period winner.

The crowd wasn't on their side, but the Canadians didn't care as they beat Slovakia 4-1 on Saturday night. Cody Hodgson scored the third-period winner.

With 12:53 left, Hodgson used Slovak defenceman Martin Marincin as a screen and zinged a wrister past goalie Jan Laco’s glove.

Joel Ward scored twice for Canada, Kevin Bieksa added a single, and Jason Garrison had a pair of assists.

Karol Sloboda replied for Slovakia.

Canadian goalie Ben Scrivens made 23 saves to win his -- and Canada's -- first game, while Lacos had 24 stops for Slovakia.

A drum-pounding, chanting pro-Slovak crowd left disappointed after their team remained winless through two games.

It was the first World Championship meeting between Canada and Slovakia since the 4-3 Slovak quarter-final win in Helsinki in 2012. Canada retains an all-time head-to-head edge with 10 wins, two ties, and two losses.

Both teams were coming off tough opening defeats, Canada falling 3-2 to France in a shootout shocker and Slovakia blowing a late lead versus the neighboring rival Czech Republic to lose 3-2. The Canadians mustered a significantly better effort here.

There was a tinge of bitterness at Chizhovka Arena from the get-go. Multiple scrums erupted around Laco’s crease.

Canada got the first three power plays on obstruction fouls as the Slovaks struggled at times with the pace. The Canadians couldn’t score, but Bieksa and Troy Brouwer established the red-and-white squad’s physical presence with crushing hits in the offensive zone.

It was Canada’s turn to run into penalty trouble in the second period with consecutive tripping minors to Alex Burrows and Brayden Coburn.

Canada nearly capitalized shorthanded on a ghastly Slovak giveaway. Sloboda left a backhand drop pass that Kyle Turris gobbled up to burst in solo, but he couldn’t outwit Laco.

The Slovaks picked up their intensity and Nazem Kadri was called for a high stick next to the Slovak bench. That broke the game open. With 7:36 left in the middle frame, Sloboda’s blue line drive found its way past Scrivens for a 1-0 lead on the power play.

Canada responded with pressure, and it paid off. At 17:21, Garrison whipped a shot from above the left faceoff circle that Ward deflected high past Laco to tie the game.

After Hodgson's third-period go-ahead goal, Bieksa gave Canada some breathing room when his heavy slapper from the right side bounced up, over and past Laco to make it 3-1 with 2:04 remaining.

Less than a minute later, Ward rounded out the scoring when he converted a nice Burrows feed from behind the goal line.

Canada will face its toughest test on yet with the Czechs, while Slovakia faces France that day.

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STANDINGS

WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 NSH 62 41 14 7 188 147 89
2 ANA 62 38 17 7 182 174 83
3 STL 61 39 18 4 190 152 82
4 CHI 63 37 21 5 183 150 79
5 WPG 63 31 20 12 174 170 74
6 VAN 61 35 23 3 174 162 73
7 MIN 61 32 22 7 173 160 71
8 LAK 60 29 19 12 162 153 70
9 CGY 62 33 25 4 175 160 70
10 SJS 62 30 24 8 173 177 68
11 COL 62 27 24 11 166 179 65
12 DAL 62 27 25 10 195 207 64
13 ARI 62 20 35 7 137 210 47
14 EDM 62 18 34 10 142 206 46

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
B. Little 63 24 26 9 50
A. Ladd 63 20 30 12 50
B. Wheeler 61 16 28 12 44
D. Byfuglien 63 15 26 6 41
M. Perreault 56 18 18 3 36
M. Scheifele 63 10 25 4 35
M. Frolik 63 13 19 3 32
D. Stafford 57 10 17 -18 27
J. Tlusty 53 13 10 -17 23
E. Kane 37 10 12 -1 22
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
M. Hutchinson 18 7 5 .920 2.29
O. Pavelec 13 13 7 .909 2.60
 
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