OSHAWA, Ont. –
The tests are only going to get harder for Canada's world junior hockey team, buttheplayerspassed the first one with flying colours.
Playing the first of three pre-tournament games before a packed house Monday, the Canadians jumped outtoa3-0 lead in the first five minutes in, cruising to an 8-0 win over Switzerland.
Sean Couturier, the youngest player on the Canadian squad, had a goal and three assists, includingahelperon Marcus Foligno's goal just 1:25 into the game.
Afterward, to a man, the Canadian players spoke of the team's depth, which many believe to beitsbiggeststrength.
"All four lines contributed and that's what we need to win," said Couturier, the only Canadian playeryettobe drafted into the NHL. "We were blocking shots, chipping pucks out and creating a lot of thingsonoffencewith our forecheck. It was a good night for us."
There were eight different goal scorers for Canada, with 13 players registering at least a point.
Foligno, Louis Leblanc, Tyson Barrie, Casey Cizikas
and Carter Ashton each had a goal and anassist,whileJaden Schwartz and Calvin de Haan
, captain of the hometown Oshawa Generals, also scored.
"It was an unbelievable feeling. I got a standing ovation there for a bit, and it feels great,"saiddeHaan, who pointed to his parents in the crowd after scoring Canada's seventh goal late in thesecondperiod."It was just a great feeling."
Foligno opened the scoring on a rebound, sliding a shot past Swiss goalie Benjamin Conz fromadifficultangle.
There were several nice passing plays resulting in goals as well, including one-timers by Cizikastomakethe score 3-0 4:51 into the game and Barrie to make it 4-0 on a power play 4:25 into the second.
Schwartz, Leblanc and Couturier all ripped pinpoint wrist shots past an overwhelmed Conz, whowaspulledafter allowing seven goals on 28 shots through two periods. Lukas Meili was excellent inrelief,allowingonly one goal on 18 shots.
Ashton scored that 8:45 into the third period to make it 8-0 after barging to the net andpokingithome.
Mark Visentin wasn't tested much in earning the shutout for Canada, facing only 20 shots, fewofthemdangerous.
"I think we worked our gameplan to perfection," said Canadian captain Ryan Ellis, who won gold in2009andsilver last year. "We're not super, super skilled, so I think just keeping it simple is the key."
Canada has exhibition games against Sweden on Tuesday in Toronto and Finland on Thursday inKitchener,Ont.,before opening the tournament in Buffalo, N.Y., on Boxing Day against Russia.
"I think there's a lot of excitement," said Ellis. "In the past, there's kind of been a lot expected,andIthink there's a lot of doubters out there this year.
"I think there's a lot of excitement and a lot of pride going into it this year."