Slovakia 0 - Canada 2
TURRIS' PAIR, MASON'S GOALTENDING LEAD CANADA TO 2-0 WIN OVER SLOVAKIA
by Alan Adams
PARDUBICE, Czech Republic – Canada is on a roll at the 2008 IIHF World Junior Championship.
Kyle Turris (New Westminster, BC/University of Wisconsin, WCHA) scored two power-play goals and goaltender Steve Mason (Oakville, ON/London, OHL) turned aside 22 shots to pace Canada to a 2-0 win over Slovakia on Thursday.
It was Canada's second triumph in as many days at this year's World Juniors, and the win came less than a day after an emotional tournament-opening 3-0 triumph over the Czech Republic.
Canada, the three-time defending gold medalist, has now won 20 consecutive games at the tournament. The last loss was to the United States in the 2004 gold medal game in Helsinki.
The Canadians have allowed only 19 goals during the 20-game winning streak, and they have not surrendered an even strength goal since the second game of the 2007 tournament against the Americans, a streak of more than 370 minutes.
Mason was quick to credit the work of Canada's defencemen with keeping the streaks alive in the Czech Republic.
"The defence was unbelievable at blocking shots," he said. "We are fortunate to have this bunch of guys in front of us."
Mason registered Canada's second straight shutout, following the 44-save performance of Jonathan Bernier (Laval, QC/Lewiston, QMJHL) against the Czechs.
"We knew coming into here that we have a lot of confidence in our goalies," said defenseman Luke Schenn (Saskatoon, SK/Kelowna, WHL).
After a goalless first period, the Canadians capitalized on a two-man advantage in the first minute of play in the second to take the lead.
Moving the puck quickly on the power play, Turris – named Canada's Player of the Game – was parked between the faceoff circles and deflected a point shot by Canadian captain Karl Alzner (Burnaby, BC/Calgary, WHL) past Slovak netminder Julius Hudacek just 54 seconds after the period's opening face-off.
Drew Doughty (London, ON/Guelph, OHL) was the workhorse on Canada's second goal of the game in the third period, as the blueliner made a clever spin-o-rama move to elude a Slovak forward and then broke in on a 3-on-1 with Turris, who took Doughty's pass and converted into a wide open net for the insurance marker.
"Drew just made a great move to get away from the Slovak guy and fed Kyle a perfect pass," said Schenn. “It was great to get that second goal and give us some breathing room."
It was the second straight game in which the Canadians scored two power-play goals. John Tavares (Oakville, ON/Oshawa, OHL) scored twice with the man advantage in the victory over the Czechs.
Hudacek was the only reason Thursday's game was close, producing an effort similar to the one turned in by Bernier in Canada's win over the host Czechs. He was a logical choice for Slovakia's Player of the Game award.
Mason wasn't as busy as his Slovak counterpart but was sharp when he had to be, preserving the shutout with just under three minutes left in the third period with an acrobatic save on a Slovakian power play.
Canada's takes to the ice in Pardubice next on Saturday, when they face Sweden.
"They are a good team and they will be ready for us," said Schenn.