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MacKinnon's Hat Trick Powers Team Canada

Barrie finished with four points

by Ryan Boulding @rboulding /

Colorado Avalanche forward Nathan MacKinnon propelled his team to victory over Slovenia with a hat trick in Game 2 at AccorHotels Arena in Paris, France, on Sunday.

While MacKinnon's three goals and one assist certainly powered the Canadians, it was Avs rear guard Tyson Barrie that got the team going early in the first period. Barrie received a drop pass from Wayne Simmonds (Philadelphia Flyers) at the blue line, walked to the top of the left faceoff circle and ripped a wrister into the far side of the net to give his team the lead just 4:30 into the stanza.

MacKinnon followed suit with his first of the contest 10:06 later when he buried a ping-pong rebound in the crease with a little help from a Slovenian forward. Barrie received an assist on the play.

Brayden Point (Tampa Bay Lightning) converted one last time in the first, potting what would be the eventual game-winner to give Canada a 3-0 lead after one period of play.

Watch: Highlights

MacKinnon opened the scoring in the second with the first of his two in the frame, coming just 4:44 after the opening whistle. Linemate Claude Giroux (Flyers) carried the puck into Slovenia's zone, drawing the defensemen toward him before spinning around and feeding MacKinnon on the far side for the easy tally.

MacKinnon scored the next marker for the Canadians as well, this time on the power play. He received a cross-ice pass from Mitch Marner (Toronto Maple Leafs) and fired a snipe from the faceoff dot to put his squad up 5-0 just 5:43 into the second period. Barrie also assisted on the play.

"I thought the puck was following me around," MacKinnon told the IIHF website. "I had a couple of greasy goals. Skins [Jeff Skinner] and G [Claude Giroux] made it easy for me out there. Marner made a nice pass to me cross-ice, and I managed to score." 

Jan Mursak broke up Canada's dominating play with Slovenia's first marker nearly 10 minutes later to make it a 5-1 game, but Marner countered to give his team a 6-1 lead entering the second intermission. 

Skinner (Carolina Hurricanes) finished Canada's goal deluge in the third when he scored a flukey goal to put the squad up 7-1. MacKinnon skated the puck into the zone and took a hit just inside the blue line. Skinner swooped in and collected the puck, looking to feed MacKinnon across the zone for the shot. His pass was deflected in the slot and caromed in behind Slovenian netminder Gasper Kroselj. Barrie assisted on the play as well.

Slovenia tallied once more with 2:05 remaining but the effort was not enough. 

MacKinnon finished with three goals, one assist, seven shots and 14:50 of ice time while skating with Giroux and Skinner. Barrie ended the match with one goal, three helpers and 19:07 of playing time while skating on the second defensive pairing with Calvin de Haan (New York Islanders). Matt Duchene finished with four shots on goal in 14:51 of game action while playing alongside Mark Scheifele (Winnipeg Jets) and Ryan O'Reilly (Buffalo Sabres). 

Netminder Calvin Pickard backed up Chad Johnson, who made his first-ever start for Canada at the tournament.

Canada (2-0-0-0) now leads Group B with six points. The club will face Belarus (0-0-0-2) in Game 3 on Monday. 

Slovenia (0-0-1-1) has a day off before facing Norway (1-0-0-0) on Tuesday.

Above photo courtesy of @HockeyCanada

USA (7) vs. DENMARK (2)

Clayton Keller recorded a hat trick to help Team USA skate away with a commanding victory over the Danes at LANXESS Arena in Cologne, Germany, on Sunday.

The Americans got on the board just 5:37 in when Anders Lee (New York Islanders) capitalized on a power play to take an early 1-0 lead. Clayton Keller (Arizona Coyotes) followed suit 7:29 later to push the lead to 2-0.

Watch: Highlights

Morten Madsen of Denmark responded 1:04 later to cut the lead in half, but U.S. forward Johnny Gaudreau (Calgary Flames) buried another man-advantage marker to take a 3-1 differential into the first intermission.

Denmark pushed back early in the second, making it a 3-2 game just 1:08 into the stanza, but it was all America after that. Keller and Lee both scored their second tallies of the match to push the score to 5-2 and Brock Nelson (Islanders) added another to bolster the advantage.

Keller completed the hat trick three minutes into the third and Team USA picked up its first win of the preliminary round. 

Avs forward J.T. Compher finished the contest with two shots on goal and 14:51 of ice time while playing alongside Andrew Copp (Jets) and Anders Bjork.

USA (1-0-0-1) returns to action on Monday to take on Sweden (1-0-1-0). 

Denmark has Monday off before facing Slovakia (0-1-0-0) on Tuesday.


RUSSIA (10) vs. ITALY (1)

The powerhouse Russian National Team didn't go easy on the newly promoted Italians at LANXESS Arena in Cologne on Sunday. 

The Russians made the most of every man-advantage opportunity presented, scoring six power-play goals--one in the first period, two in the second and three in the third--en route to a dominating 10-1 victory in their second game of the preliminary round.

Any time the Team Italy took a penalty, Russia capitalized.

Watch: Highlights

Eight Russians finished with multi-point efforts, including four players--Artemi Panarin (two goals, two assists), Nikita Kucherov (one goal, three assists), Vadim Shipachyov (four assists), Vladislov Namestnikov (two goals, two assists)--that had four points each. 

Tommaso Traversa scored the lone goal for Italy 3:40 into the middle stanza to make it 2-1, but Russia controlled the game from there on out. According to the IIHF website, the marker was the country's first against the Russians since 2008.

Italy was outshot 36-15 in the match, including 10-2 in the first period and 16-5 in the final frame.

Avalanche prospect Andrei Mironov was on Russia's top defensive pairing alongside Philadelphia Flyers rookie Ivan Provorov. Mironov led the winning team with 18:05 of ice time and finished with two shots on net.

Russia (1-1-0-0) leads Group A with five points and will face Germany (1-0-0-1) in Game 3 on Monday.

Italy (0-0-1-1) has a day off ahead of Tuesday's matchup with Latvia (1-0-0-0)


FRANCE (5) vs. FINLAND (1)

Tournament co-host France pulled off quite the upset on Sunday, topping Team Finland 5-1 in front of 11,433 spectators at AccorHotels Arena in Paris.

Antoine Roussel (Dallas Stars) scored two goals and the French withstood a Finnish onslaught in the third period that saw the losing squad outshoot the co-host 20-6.

Yet, French netminder Florian Hardy remained steadfast between the pipes, keeping Finland to its one second-period marker.

Watch: Highlights

Pierre-Edouard Bellemare (Flyers) opened the scoring for France 14:17 into the match, but Mikko Lehtonen evened things up just 1:33 into the middle stanza. After that, Hardy took over and let his teammates do the rest.

Roussel scored his first of the game, the eventual game-winner, 2:25 later and Valentin Claireaux pushed the lead to 3-1 by the end of two periods of play.

Roussel made it 4-1 by the 8:27-mark of the final frame and Damien Fleury added an empty-netter to finish the upset.

Avalanche rookie Mikko Rantanen finished the game with an assist on Lehtonen's marker and one shot in 18:21 of ice time. 

Finland (1-0-0-1) is now in fifth place in Group B. The club will face the Czech Republic (1-0-0-1) on Monday.

France (1-0-0-1) is now in third place in Group B and will have Monday off before hosting Switzerland (0-1-0-0) on Tuesday.

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