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CanucksArmy World Junior Recap: Canada 6 – 0 Slovakia

In a game where the result was never in doubt, it’s time to focus on the process and from that point of view, Team Canada had a perfect night. They never took their foot off the gas and never gave Slovakia a chance.

The domination began early with a point shot from the newly appointed left side defenceman, Colorado Avalanche prospect, Cale Makar. The puck took a fortunate bounce and landed directly on the stick of Anaheim Ducks first-rounder Sam Steel who made no mistake, quickly firing the puck into the gaping cage making it consecutive games with a goal for the Regina Pat.

Up early and feeling confident, the game came to a screeching halt when Canadian defenceman Jake Bean crashed into the boards due to a questionable hit thrown by Marian Studenic. The two stayed down, Bean due to hitting his head on the boards and Studenic because of a sizable gash caused by the skate of Bean. Both ended up being okay and returned the game eventually. A scary incident where both players should consider themselves fortunate as it could have easily ended up a lot worse.

Slovakia was lucky to get out of the period only down 1-0 even with their goalie David Hrenak standing on his head. Canada had multiple grade-A scoring chances including a one-timer from St. Louis Blues prospect Jordan Kyrou at the end of the first.

Another early goal for Canada with Kyrou scoring 1:25 into the second period to make it 2-0. Credit to Kyrou for the crafty dangles and filthy snipe but I’m really not sure what the Slovakian defender was trying to accomplish because that’s not how you defend.

Not long after that, the Canucks own Jonah Gadjovich got into the action scoring his first of the tournament to make it 3-0 Canada. Gadjovich was a beast in the offensive zone tonight, it was only a matter of time before he’d be rewarded for his efforts to go along with Makar’s second assist of the game.

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Just under five minutes after the Gadjovich goal, Tampa Bay Lightning second-round pick Taylor Raddysh would add one on the power-play to make it 4-0. May as well leave Raddysh alone in front, what’s the worst that could happen?

Here’s another clip of the 2016 35th pick overall, Jordan Kyrou doing his thing. Good lord!

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Up 4-0 with under five minutes left, if you’re going to score a garbage goal, it may as well be a beauty and that’s exactly what Anaheim Ducks prospect Maxime Comtois did with this wicked bar down backhander.

With the player of the game award on the line, Gavjovich came through with the clutch 6-0 goal to ensure he’d be taking home some early hardware. A tip and a beauty for his second goal of the game.

This game was more of an intense practice for the Canadian squad. The focus for today was to use team speed to completely suffocate team Slovakia — mission accomplished. Team Canada stuck to their system, remained disciplined and grew as a team today which will bold well for future games in the tournament. Time to rest up for the outdoor game which will be taking place on Friday if mother nature cooperates.

Observations

  • A well-deserved shout out to the Slovak goalie, Hrenak who made 46 saves tonight. Without him, this game could have easily been 10-0.
  • Kyrou was dominant today, finishing with 11, 5v5 primary shot contributions and easily a few more on the powerplay. Kyrou can fly, has vision and is defensively responsible. It appears the St. Louis Blues found a gem in the second round in 2016. It’s easy to see why he’s scored 58 points in only 30 games played this year in Sarnia.
  • Right-handed defencemen Callan Foote notably struggled today in transition out of the d-zone. It’s concerning once you start considering his quality of competition and quality of teammates. Once this tournament ramps up, I can see this becoming a potential problem for the 2017 14th overall pick to Tampa Bay. We’ll keep an eye on it.
  • A tune-up game, no doubt, but it’s still nice to see Gadjovich contributing on the offensive side of the puck to a point where he’s winning player of the game awards. Here’s a guy who wasn’t expected to make the team last month, he’s come a long way in short amount of time.
  • As always, as the data compiles it’s going to become a lot more interesting. We’ll be bringing the Canucks Army faithful some new data soon. I’m also very much looking forward to bringing some Juolevi and Pettersson data to the table once TSN decides broadcasting team Sweden is a good idea.