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Athanasiou scores twice as Canada moves into semis at Ivan Hlinka tournament

NHL.com @NHL

BRECLAV, Czech Republic - Andreas Athanasiou scored twice Wedesnday as Canada's under-18 men's hockey team advanced to the semifinals of the Ivan Hlinka memorial tournament after a 6-0 thumping of Switzerland.

Canada will meet Russia in one of Friday's semifinals, while Finland will play Sweden in the other.

Canada jumped on top of the Swiss early, with Derrick Pouliot scoring 1:05 into the game and Kerby Rychel adding another eight seconds later. Scott Laughton and Athanasiou also scored in the first as Canada took a 4-0 lead into the intermission.

Canadian head coach Steve Spott said the Swiss attacked Canada early but his club used the cycle to create offence.

"For us it started with our entries," Spott said. "We were able to get the puck in deep and we were able to protect the puck down low and use our size and strength in the offensive zone."

Hunter Shinkaruk added a fifth goal in the second for Canada, while Athanasiou rounded out the scoring midway through the third to continue his strong play at the tournament.

"Andreas' greatest weapon is his speed and he's using that to his advantage," Spott said. "He's not afraid to take the puck to the net and he's been our go-to guy."

Daniel Altshuller and Domenic Graham combined to make 27 saves for the shutout, while Robin Kuonen made 26 saves for Switzerland.

While Athanasiou is stepping up right now, Spott said the team doesn't have a star player and that Canada is having to find different ways to score.

"I've been pretty up front with the way I see out team identity right now," Spott said. "I don't see a (Taylor) Hall or a (Steven) Stamkos or a (John) Tavares. I think we have to play a legitimate team game, a five-on-five game, and outwork our opponents and the boys have bought into that and that's what we're going to have to do to be successful."

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