JIHLAVA, CZECH REPUBLIC -- Vincent Lecavalier of Ile-Bizard, Quebec scored twice to lead Canada to a 5-3 victory over Slovakia in a tuneup game on Wednesday as both Under-18 clubs prepared for a three-nation tournament that opens Thursday.
Lecavalier, the scoring sensation for the Rimouski Oceanic of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, opened the scoring for Canada at 6:28 of the first period on a breakaway after he stripped a Slovakian defenceman of the puck in the neutral zone. Justin Papineau of Ottawa, who plays for the Belleville Bulls of the Ontario Hockey League, made it 2-0 Canada with a slap shot from the top of the circle at 15:21 .
After Roman Maczoszek halved the score just 20 seconds later, Manny Malhotra of Mississauga, who plays for Guelph of the OHL, finished off a nifty three-way passing play with Papineau and Lecavalier at 18:17 of the first period to make it 3-1 for Canada.
Lubomir Pistek of Slovakia had the only goal of the second period, narrowing the lead to 3-2, but Lecavalier, with his second goal of the game on a feed from Papineau, re-established the two-goal spread at 4:02 of the third. Rico Fata of Sault Ste. Marie, ON, a member of the OHL's London Knights, scored Canada's final goal at 8:45 of the final period.
The victory meant Canada completed its pre-tournament preparation with a 1-1-1 won-lost-tied record, following a 3-1 loss and a 2-2 tie against the host club from Czech Republic. The club opens the three-game tournament on Thursday in Znojmo against the Czechs. On Friday Canada plays Slovakia in Zdar, where the tournament final will be held on Sunday, August 17.
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