SCRIVENS LEADS CANADA TO PRE-OLYMPIC WIN
JASON LA ROSE
RIGA, Latvia - Ben Scrivens (Spruce Grove, Alta./Salavat Yulaev Ufa, KHL) stopped all 27 shots he faced for the shutout, backstopping Canada's Men's Olympic Team to a 2-0 win over Latvia in its pre-PyeongChang opener Sunday.
Marc-André Gragnani (L'Île-Bizard, Que./HC Dinamo Minsk, KHL) and Mat Robinson (Calgary, Alta./CSKA Moscow, KHL) provided the offence for the Canadians, who started their three-game exhibition schedule on a winning note.
Gragnani gave Canada all the offence it would need early on, letting go a harmless-looking wrist shot from the point that found its way through traffic and through Latvian goaltender Elvis Merzlikins for an early 1-0 lead at 2:13.
Robinson added insurance just past the midway mark of the second period, jumping into the rush and taking a feed from Derek Roy (Rockland, Ont./Linköping HC, SHL) before going to the backhand to beat Merzlikins.
Scrivens did the rest, keeping the Latvians at bay on a pair of power plays in the third period and surviving a late flurry with Merzlikins on the bench to preserve the clean sheet.
The Canadians are back on the ice at Arena Riga on Tuesday when they face off against Belarus (5 a.m. ET/2 a.m. PT) before departing for South Korea later in the week. Canada closes out its pre-tournament schedule in Incheon against Sweden on Feb. 11 (11 p.m. ET/8 p.m. PT).