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Team Canada Wins Fifth Straight Over Japan 6-3
NR.011.97
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January 22, 1997
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FERNIE, B.C. -- Team Canada scored four unanswered third-period goals to overcome a 3-2 second-period deficit and defeat the Japanese Olympic team 6-3 on Wednesday night.

It was the fifth straight victory for Canada over Team Japan in a six-game tour that winds up on Friday night in Bonnyville, AB.

George Zajankala of North Delta, B.C., and hometown hero Xavier Majic were the scoring stars for Canada on Wednesday night, with one goal and three assists apiece. Zajankala helped set up the first three of Canada's four third-period goals n the third.

Brett Clark, on a setup from Fernie native Xavier Majic, staked Canada to a 1-0 lead just 24 seconds into the game, but if many in the sellout crowd of 1,235 expected a laugher, the Japanese fairly quickly dispelled that notion.

Toshiyuki Sakai evened the score on the power play at 8:27 of the first, and the Japanese took a 2-1 lead on a goal by Shin Yahata - also with a man advantage -- at 10:34.

Zajankala brought Canada even on a Canadian power play at 12:50, on another setup by Majic. But feisty Tsutsumi Otomo, a thorn in Canada's side the entire series, put Japan ahead 3-2 at 14:15 of the second period.

Majic erased that lead, to the delight of his hometown fans, at 1:05 of the third period -- another power play goal, and that seemed to crack the Japanese resolve.

Reid Simonton, Dave Lovsin and Ron Pasco completed the scoring for Canada, who outshot Japan 32-17. One of the 32 shots was a penalty shot by Canada's Dean Evason at 18:29 of the final period.

The referee signalled for the penalty shot after a Japanese defender intentionally lifted the net from its moorings during a wild pileup around the Japanese net. Goaltender Shinichi Iwasaki waited for Evason to make the first move, then got a leg pad on Evason's shot. Blair Allison had no such dramatics to deal with in the Canadian goal, and faced just 17 shots in the game.


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Hockey Canada
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