Canadians rout Denmark; advance to semifinals
Team Canada has advanced to the semifinals for the 17th consecutive year.
Captain Curtis Lazar scored twice in the Canadians 8-0 thumping of the Danes in front of a sold-out Air Canada Centre on Friday night.
The Canadians improve to 5-0-0-0 at the tournament with the quarterfinal victory.
Lazar, 19, opened the scoring at the midway mark of the first period. The Ottawa Senators rookie beat Danish netminder George Sorensen to give the Canadians their first of eight goals on the night. Assistant captian, Sam Reinhart, put the host club up by two just moments later for his tournament-leading ninth point.
Canada pushed even harder in the second period out-shooting the Danes by a tally of 19-3. 17-year-old Lawson Crouse got things started with his first of the tournament seven minutes into the middle period. Moments later Connor McDavid impressed the 18,800 in attendance with a slick breakaway goal. Later in the period, former Edmonton Oil King, Lazar, notched his second of the game and fifth of the tournament tying him with American Dylan Larkin for the tournament lead.
The third and, ultimately, final period of the game mirrored the second. Canada out-shot Denmark 17-5 while out-scoring them 3-0. North Bay Battalion’s Nick Paul scored his second of the tournament three minutes into the period. Two minutes later, Brayden Point notched his second of the 2015 IIHF World Junior Hockey Championships. Nick Ritchie rounded out the scoring for Canada with the team’s lone power play goal on the evening with under a minute to play.
Seven different Canadian players scored goals in Team Canada’s momentous victory over the underdogs, Denmark.
Connor McDavid was named Canada’s player of the game. The 17-year-old phenom had a goal and two assists to lead Canada in scoring along with captain Lazar. McDavid has 51 points in 18 games with the Erie Otters this season. The projected first-overall pick at the upcoming NHL Entry Draft is participating in his second IIHF World Junior Hockey Championships. McDavid had a goal and three assists in seven games with Canada last year in Malmo, Sweden.
Zachary Fucale was perfect in net for Canada. The Quebec Remparts goaltender stopped all 14 Danish shots on the way to his third win of the tournament and second shutout. Canadian head coach Benoit Groulx is mum on who will start in goal for Canada on Sunday.
The Danes, now eliminated from the tournament, were given team awards just prior to the Canadian anthem. The top three Danish players, as selected by the IIHF, received Tissot watches. Goaltender George Sorensen, Halifax Mooseheads forward Nikolaj Ehlers and Portland Winterhawks forward Oliver Bjorkstrand were named Denmark’s best trio.
The Canadians will now shift their focus to Sunday when they play Slovakia in the semifinals. The winner of the Canadian, Slovak semifinal will play either Russia or Sweden in the gold medal game on Monday. Both the semifinals and finals will take place at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Ont.,.