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Spezza sparks Canada past Slovaks

by Rob Brodie / Ottawa Senators
Jason Spezza (91) and Dany Heatley celebrate a goal with Team Canada teammate Shea Weber (6) during their 7-3 victory over Slovakia on Tuesday at the 2009 IIHF World Championship (Photo by Matthew Murnaghan/HHOF-IIHF Images).

The goals just keep on piling up for Team Canada at the IIHF 2009 World Hockey Championship.

Not coincidentally, so do the victories for the Canucks, who improved to a perfect 3-0-0 in the tournament by romping past Slovakia 7-3 on Tuesday at the Arena Zurich-Kloten in Switzerland. Canada has outscored its foes 22-4 so far in the competition and heads into the qualification round as the clear winner of Group A.

This time, it was Jason Spezza of the Ottawa Senators leading the way with a pair of goals. Spezza's power-play goal late in the first period allowed Canada to build a 3-0 lead and he later wrapped up the scoring for the victors 2:04 into the third.

With seven points in three games, including a team-leading four goals, Spezza is second only to Martin St. Louis of the Tampa Bay Lightning in Canadian scoring. With four assists in Tuesday's win, St. Louis ran his total to nine points (3-6).

Dany Heatley of the Senators added a pair of assists in the victory over the Slovaks, which allowed him to become Canada's all-time leader in that category, breaking a tie with Steve Yzerman. Heatley is tops in career goals for Team Canada as well.

The Canadian roster also includes Ottawa centre Mike Fisher and defenceman Chris Phillips.

Also on Tuesday, France upended Christoph Schubert and Germany 2-1, Russia doubled up on host Switzerland 4-2 and Belarus dumped Hungary 3-1.

The preliminary round wraps up Wednesday with four games. Nick Foligno, Ryan Shannon and the United States tangle with Sweden in a battle to decide top spot in Group C, while Jarkko Ruutu and Finland will chase the same honour against the Czech Republic in Group D. In other games, Peter Regin and Denmark face off against Norway, while Austria meets Latvia.

From there, the top three teams in each of the four groups move on to the qualification round. Canada sees its next action on Thursday against the second-place finisher in Group D, either Finland or the Czechs (2:15 p.m., TSN).

For a complete 2009 world hockey championship schedule, click here.

For more pictures from the tournament, view our photo gallery here.

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