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Martin St. Louis scores hat trick as Canada hammers Hungary 9-0

NHL.com @NHL

KLOTEN, Switzerland - At least Hungary can say that it truly knows what the top level of the IIHF World Hockey Championship is all about.

The hockey minnow is here for an experience and it certainly got one Sunday as a Canadian team full of NHL players hammered a country that has never produced one 9-0.

Hungary is participating in the elite tournament for the first time in 70 years and didn't have the size, speed or strength to even keep the game close. The gap between No. 1 and No. 20 in the hockey world is about as wide as the Atlantic Ocean that separates the two countries.

Martin St. Louis had three goals and an assist for Canada, which is simply looking to jell and develop some chemistry in the early stages of this tournament. The team will take a 2-0 record into Tuesday's game against Slovakia.

Shea Weber, with two, Derek Roy, James Neal, Mike Fisher and Jason Spezza had the other Canadian goals on Sunday while Chris Mason made 16 saves for a shutout in his first ever appearance with a national team.

Many of the Hungarian players have spent more than a decade striving for a spot in the top level of the world championship - a goal they finally achieved by winning a lower-tiered event last year in Japan. They considered the reward to be a "once in a lifetime" chance to play against some of the NHL stars they regularly watch on TV.

Despite the gap in talent, the game featured a surprising amount of edge.

There was a couple scrums after the whistle and Scottie Upshall was ejected early in the second period for knocking Andras Benk out of the game with a huge open-ice hit.

The Canadian forward received a game misconduct for a hit to the head and a match penalty, which carries an automatic one game suspension. The tournament directorate also has the option to tack on additional discipline.

Interestingly, Canada's biggest challenger at this event also delivered a lopsided loss to an undermanned opponent. Defending champion Russia breezed past France 7-2 in Bern.

Extra time was needed in the other two games played on Sunday as Switzerland edged Germany 3-2 in overtime and Belarus beat Slovakia 2-1 in a shootout.

The Canada-Hungary matchup turned into a blowout quickly.

St. Louis tipped home his first of the night 5:18 into the first period and it was 4-0 by the time the horn sounded for the first intermission. It was hard not to feel for Hungary goalie Levent Szuper, who was left alone repeatedly before getting pulled mercifully after allowing six goals on 25 shots.

Zoltan Hetenyi didn't fare much better in his place.

The Canadian players barely lifted a stick in celebration of the goal that completed a hat trick for St. Louis in the third period. They didn't seem to be enjoying a game that resembled one-sided shinny.

It was a far cry from Hungary's tournament opener.

The underdogs nearly pulled off an unlikely tie with Slovakia on Friday before allowing a goal with 13 seconds to play to lose 4-3. While being lavished with praise by a reporter during a post-game interview, Hungarian coach Pat Cortina wisely cautioned about getting too excited.

"It's only game one," said Cortina. "Game two could be a totally different story."

How right he was.

Switzerland 3 Germany 2 (OT)

At Bern, the host country earned a big win over Germany when Mark Streit scored 1:18 into overtime.

Mathias Seger and Roman Wick also had goals for the Swiss while Martin Gerber stopped 20 shots. Christoph Schubert and Christoph Ullman replied for the Germans.

Belarus 2 Slovakia 1 (SO)

At Kloten, Oleg Antonenko scored twice in the shootout while Jan Lasak stopped all three shots after being inserted midway through the tiebreaker to help Belarus pull out the win.

Andrei Stas scored in regulation for the Belarusians while Marcel Hossa responded for Slovakia.

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