CANADA ROLLS PAST LATVIA FOR PRE-WORLDS WIN
JASON LA ROSE
RIGA, Latvia – Jean-Gabriel Pageau (Ottawa, Ont./Ottawa, NHL) scored twice, Connor McDavid (Newmarket, Ont./Edmonton, NHL) and Pierre-Luc Dubois (Sainte-Agathe-de-Monts, Que./Columbus, NHL) had a goal and an assist apiece, and Canada’s National Men’s Team earned a 6-1 win over Latvia on Tuesday in its lone pre-tournament game ahead of the 2018 IIHF World Championship.
Colton Parayko (St. Albert, Alta./St. Louis, NHL) added three assists, and Bo Horvat (Rodney, Ont./Vancouver, NHL) and Jaden Schwartz (Wilcox, Sask./St. Louis, NHL) had two for the Canadians, who took charge with a three-goal second period.
McDavid was first on the board for Canada, cruising through the slot and getting his stick on a Parayko point shot for the 1-0 goal at 16:59 of the opening period.
But the Latvians responded just a minute later, with Rodrigo Abols tipping a shot past Canadian goaltender Darcy Kuemper (Saskatoon, Sask./Arizona, NHL) to send the game to the intermission tied 1-1.
The goals came fast and furious for Canada early in the second period.
Anthony Beauvillier (Sorel-Tracy, Que./N.Y. Islanders, NHL) was first at 1:08, racing down the left wing and beating Latvian netminder Kristers Gudlevskis with a quick shot over the glove.
The Dubois-Horvat-Pageau line extended the lead with a pair of goals on the same shift; Dubois parked himself in the slot and finished a feed from Horvat to make it 3-1 at 6:05, before finding Pageau with a cross-crease feed to make it a three-goal lead just 28 seconds later.
Curtis McElhinney (London, Ont./Toronto, NHL) took over for Kuemper – who stopped 15 of 16 – to start the third period. He made 12 saves in the final 20 minutes.
Pageau poked in his second of the game early in the third period before McDavid and Schwartz set up Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (Burnaby, B.C./Edmonton, NHL) to finish the scoring midway through the final stanza.
The Canadians will travel to Herning, Denmark for the preliminary round at the 2018 IIHF World Championship. It opens its quest for a third gold medal in four years against the United States on Friday (10:15 a.m. ET/7:15 a.m. PT).