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Canada romps over Slovakia


BUFFALO, N.Y.—Sometime during Canada's 6-0 rout of Slovakia yesterday, Jordan Kyrou realized he and his teammates had made a mistake.

They had picked the wrong song to celebrate goals to at the world junior hockey championship.

After every goal, “Hey Baby” by DJ Otzi blasted over the loudspeakers at KeyBank Center, sometimes twice, as replays of the goal were shown on the scoreboard.

“I think we're going to change it up," Kyrou said with a laugh. ”At first we thought it was a good idea but after hearing it, it's like, 'Uhhhh, it's kinda iffy.'

“We're probably going to change it up.”

Kyrou said they might return to a celebratory song from previous world juniors, like last year's “We Dem Boyz" by Wiz Khalifa or "Let Me Clear My Throat” by DJ Kool, which was used in Helsinki, Finland at the 2016 championship.

“We might go with the same one as last year, or I'm not sure what else we were thinking of, more of a pump-up song," noted Kyrou, who refused to snitch on which of his teammates had nominated "Hey Baby.”

Kyrou led Canada's (2-0) offence with a goal and two assists while Jonah Gadjovich scored twice.

Kyrou's linemates, Sam Steel and Taylor Raddysh, also scored, as did Maxime Comtois.

Kyrou leads the tournament in scoring with a goal and three assists after two games.

He also leads the OHL in points—despite not playing for the Sarnia Sting in two weeks while with Canada's junior team.

Back-up goalie Colton Point had a 20-save shutout in net, getting the start over Carter Hart, who made 29 saves in Tuesday's 4-2 win over Finland.

Hart is one of seven players returning from last year's silver-medal team and the presumptive starter for most of the tournament.

But with a pair of back-to-back games in the preliminary round, Canadian head coach Dominique Ducharme decided to rest Hart.

“When you get a game, you get a game," reasoned Point. ”There's no politics involved.

“He's obviously the starter for a reason," Point said of Hart. ”He's an amazing goaltender.

“I just come in and if I get a game, then I've got to play my game.”

David Hrenak stopped 48 shots for Slovakia (0-1).

Canada dominated play throughout the game, outshooting Slovakia 54-20.

Canada's defence—one of its strengths heading into the tournament—continues to be battered by injuries.

Dante Fabbro is working himself into game shape after missing most of selection camp and two pre-tournament exhibitions with a lower-body contusion.

He was limited to 5:18 of work yesterday and did not go on the ice in the third period.

Kale Clague missed the game after blocking a shot with his right foot in Tuesday's win over Finland.

Then late in the first period yesterday, Jake Bean was knocked off his feet by Slovakia's Marian Studenic as they were chasing down the puck.

Studenic got cut by Bean's skate but the Canadian went head-first into the end boards and lay on the ice for a minute before trainers helped him to the locker-room.

He returned midway through the second.

“Everyone's day-to-day. We expect Clague to be back on [Friday against the United States],” said Ducharme.

“Fabbro we're just managing his ice time because he played a lot against Finland,” he noted.

“He didn't practise much before that, so we wanted to make sure that he was getting some action but not too much.”

Ducharme added although Bean's fall was scary, he just had the wind knocked out of him.

Potentially losing Fabbro, Bean, and Clague—all veterans of last year's tournament—would cause serious long-term problems for Canada.

Hockey Canada already has finalized its roster, so it cannot add any additional skaters to the team—even for injuries.

Also, Canada's blueprint for the world junior championship is to have a fast-skating team that could force turnovers and eventually exhaust its opponents.

As three of Canada's smoothest skaters, Fabbro, Bean, and Clague are a key part of that plan.

It will be decided this afternoon if Canada's outdoor game against the rival U.S. tomorrow will go ahead as planned, or if it will be brought indoors.

The temperature has been below minus-10 Celsius all week before windchill with heavy snow expected, making playing at New Era Field—home of the NFL's Buffalo Bills—potentially dangerous for players and fans.

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