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Canada leads Slovakia, 4-3, through two periods

by Mike G. Morreale

The Canadian National Junior Team has taken a 4-3 lead through two periods over feisty Slovakia despite the absence of two players in its 2013 World Junior Championship match on Friday at Ufa Arena in Russia.

Top 2013 draft-eligible prospect Marko Dano of Slovakia has two goals and one assist. Dano's power-play goal 10:35 into the second had given Slovakia a 3-1 lead before Canada connected for three straight goals, including a pair of power-play markers.

Canada will be forced to carry on in the third without the services of forwards J.C. Lipon and Anthony Camara. Lipon was given a game misconduct after being whistled for checking to the head at 13:39 of the first. Camara was also thrown out of the game after being whistled for a charging penalty on defenseman Patrik Luza at 6:21 of the second.

Camara's hit on Luza, who had his head down while playing the puck in his zone, left the Slovak motionless for a few seconds before he was carted off on a stretcher. He was taken to the local hospital for precautionary measures.

A tripping penalty to Canada's Ryan Strome, who had pulled his country within 2-1 just 2:16 into the second, would ultimately give Slovakia a two-man advantage for 1:32. Dano would connect for his second of the contest on the 5-on-3 advantage.

Dano and Richard Buri would take penalties 18 seconds apart less than a minute later to give Canada a 5-on-3 advantage. Defenseman Morgan Rielly ripped a shot from the left circle that deflected off the right hip of Slovakia's Branislav Rapac and past goalie Adam Nagy on the short side at 11:42.

Canada would pull into a 3-3 tie at 15:18 on a power-play goal by Ty Rattie off assists from Xavier Ouellet and Rielly. Canada would close out the scoring in the second when Mark Scheifele was credited with his third of the tournament.

The Slovaks had opened a 2-0 lead through one period.

Dano opened the scoring when he jammed home a shot past goalie Malcolm Subban from in the crease 2:53 into the first. Dano fought off a check from Brett Ritchie in the slot before receiving a pass from Matus Matis and sliding home his first goal of the tournament.

The Slovaks, who outshot Canada, 11-5, in the first, are coming off a 3-2 overtime loss to Russia on Wednesday.

Slovakia opened a 2-0 lead 15:28 into the first on a power-play goal by Tomas Mikus. Canada's J.C. Lipon was whistled for a major penalty for checking to the head of Slovakia's Tomas Mikus, in addition to being given a game misconduct at 13:39. Just 1:49 into the advantage, Martin Reway curled the Canadian net and found Mikus alone in the left circle. Mikus gathered the puck and ripped a shot top shelf over the blocker of Subban.

Slovakian goalie Adam Nagy needed only five saves as the trapping Slovaks kept Canada at bay throughout the period. Nagy was also the beneficiary of a blocked shot from forward Michal Uhrik during a Canadian power-play five minutes into the period.

Canada is 7-0-1 all-time against Slovakia at the WJC.

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