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Canada dominates Slovakia in WJC opener

by Arpon Basu

MONTREAL – A year earlier, Slovakia put a serious scare into Canada in the preliminary round of the same tournament, leading by two goals late in the second period before Canada stormed back to win.

Canada returned the favor Friday, making Slovakia look like the scared team in a dominant 8-0 victory to open the 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship on home soil in emphatic fashion.

Robby Fabbri (St. Louis Blues) had two goals and two assists to lead a Canadian attack that got at least a point from 11 different players, none of whom were named Connor McDavid.

McDavid, the likely top pick in the 2015 NHL Draft, and his linemates Nick Ritchie (Anaheim Ducks) and captain Curtis Lazar (Ottawa Senators) were three of the four Canadian forwards not to get a point in the game, with Frederik Gauthier (Toronto Maple Leafs) being the other.

Nic Petan (Winnipeg Jets) had a goal and two assists and Anthony Duclair (New York Rangers), Max Domi (Arizona Coyotes), Sam Reinhart (Buffalo Sabres), Jake Virtanen (Vancouver Canucks), Brayden Point (Tampa Bay Lightning) and Madison Bowey (Washington Capitals) each had two points for Canada.

Goaltender Zachary Fucale, a prospect of the hometown Montreal Canadiens, made 12 saves for the shutout. His fourth save of the game came at the 7:29 mark of the second period, by which point Canada had 21 shots on goal and led 4-0.

When Point scored at 11:35 of the second to make it 5-0 it ended the night of Slovakia starting goalie Denis Godla, who did well to make 18 saves on 23 shots while the puck remained in his end shift after shift.

Godla was replaced by David Okolicany, who made eight saves on 11 shots.

Fabbri opened the scoring at 4:52 of the first period by finishing a passing play from Duclair and Reinhart, Duclair made it 2-0 at 8:17 when he was left alone in front of Godla, and Fabbri scored again 52 seconds later to make it 3-0.

Nick Paul (Ottawa Senators) muscled home a rebound off a Virtanen wraparound try at 6:56 of the second before Point scored at 11:35.

Domi and Petan scored highlight-reel goals 67 seconds apart late in the second period, with Domi rifling a shot just under the crossbar from the slot at 16:14 and Petan putting a shot under the crossbar while straddling the goal line at 17:21.

Canada took its foot off the gas in the third, but Virtanen still scored a goal from a sharp angle off the rush at 16:41 to complete the scoring.

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