BRATISLAVA, SLOVAKIA -- Derek MacKenzie of Sudbury, ON, scored one goal and added a pair of assists on Tuesday to pace Canada's National Under-18 Team to a 5-0 victory over Slovakia in an exhibition international hockey game.
Charlie Stephens of London, ON, Kyle Wanvig of Calgary, Taylor Pyatt of Thunder Bay, ON and Krzystof Wieckowski of Ottawa also scored for Canada, which is coached by Geoff Ward, along with assistants Marc Hascheid and Todd McLellan.
It was the second successive shutout victory for the Under-18 team in two tune-up games for a four-nation tournament involving Under-18 teams from Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Belarus. On Monday, seven different goalscorers helped Canada defeat Slovakia 7-0.
In that game, Ross Lupaschuk of Edmonton, Stephens, Scott Kelman of Yorkton, SK, Jamie Lundmark of Edmonton, Kris Beech of Sicamous, BC, Barrett Jackman of Fruitvale, BC, and Michael Zigomanis of Markham, ON scored for Canada.
On Thursday, Canada opens the tournament against the Czech Republic, then plays the host Slovaks on Saturday and Belarus on Sunday in the straight round-robin event.
The National Under-18 team is part of the Canadian Hockey Association's Program of Excellence, which is designed to identify top hockey prospects and provide them with opportunities to further develop their skills by playing for Canada against top-flight international competition.
Other components of the Program of Excellence include the regional Under-17 teams that compete in international tournaments in Canada each year and, of course, the National Junior Team, which is currently holding its summer evaluation camp in Winnipeg, MB, where the 1999 World Junior Hockey Championship will be held from Dec. 26 - Jan. 5.
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