MAKAR SETS WJAC RECORD, LEADS CANADA WEST TO OPENING WIN
JASON LA ROSE
BONNYVILLE, Alta. – Cale Makar (Calgary, Alta./Brooks, AJHL) became the first defenceman in World Junior A Challenge history to record five points in a game, scoring twice and adding three assists to lead Canada West to a tournament-opening 6-2 win over Switzerland on Sunday night.
The Canadian captain had a goal and an assist in the first period, two helpers in the second and a goal in the third, making him just the seventh player in WJAC history to reach the five-point plateau in one game.
Jordan Kawaguchi (Abbotsford, B.C./Chilliwack, BCHL) added a goal and two assists for the westerners, and Ian Mitchell (Calahoo, Alta./Spruce Grove, AJHL) had one of each.
Canada West came out firing in the first period, directing 22 shots at Swiss goaltender Beat Trudel in the opening 20 minutes and scoring three times before the 12-minute mark.
Mitchell netted the first at 6:31, getting a point shot through traffic and past Trudel on a Canadian power play, and Makar picked up a failed clearing attempt and whipped in a wrist shot two minutes after that.
Jonny Tychonick (Calgary, Alta./Penticton, BCHL) added the third goal by a defenceman at 11:40, showing off slick hands in the slot before snapping a shot behind Trudel, who stopped 39 shots in all.
The Swiss got one back on the power play before the end of the opening frame when Sven Leuenberger tipped a point shot from Nils Seiler behind Canadian netminder Matthew Galajda (Aurora, Ont./Victoria, BCHL), who faced fewer shots in total (17) than his Swiss counterpart did in the first 20 minutes.
Ryan Cox (St. Albert, Alta./Fort McMurray, AJHL) pushed the lead to 4-1 early in the second period, going to the backhand on a partial breakaway, and Kawaguchi added a fifth goal on the power play at 14:07, banging in a rebound from the top of the crease.
Makar capped his record-setting night with a highlight-reel goal six minutes into the third period, picking up the puck on the half-boards before dangling his way to the net and beating Trudel to make it 6-1.
Arnaud Riat scored a consolation goal for the Swiss with 6:35 left to cap the scoring.
Canada West is right back on the ice Monday night for a match-up against Russia (7:30 p.m. MT), while the Swiss face the Russians in the Group A finale on Tuesday afternoon (3:30 p.m. MT).