MacKin­non’s ‘greasy goals’ pace Canada

BEAT SLOVE­NIA 7-2

The Hamilton Spectator - - SPORTS - CAROL SCHRAM

By his own ad­mis­sion he wasn’t win­ning any points for style, but Nathan MacKin­non’s of­fen­sive out­put helped power Canada to an­other strong per­for­mance at the world hockey cham­pi­onship.

MacKin­non scored a hat trick to lift Canada to a 7-2 win over Slove­nia on Sun­day. The vic­tory at Ac­corHo­tels Arena in Paris im­proved Canada’s record to 2-0.

“I thought the puck was fol­low­ing me around,” said MacKin­non, who was named Canada’s player of the game. “I had a cou­ple of greasy goals.”

MacKin­non also added an as­sist while Colorado Avalanche team­mate Tyson Bar­rie had a goal and three as­sists. Bar­rie now leads all play­ers in the tour­na­ment with six points.

“I’ve just been play­ing with good guys,” Bar­rie said when asked about the se­cret to his early-tour­na­ment suc­cess. “I haven’t re­ally done any­thing too spec­tac­u­lar. It’s just a mix­ture of try­ing to jump in the play and be avail­able. Th­ese guys ... there’s ob­vi­ously so much skill on this team, they’ll find you.”

Bray­den Point, Mitch Marner and Jeff Skin­ner also had goals for Canada while Travis Konecny added three as­sists.

Chad John­son made 12 saves in his first start of the tour­na­ment.

“It’s a lit­tle dif­fer­ent than in North Amer­ica with the ice sur­face and ev­ery­thing,” John­son said of his tour­na­ment de­but. “It was nice to get in there.”

The Cana­di­ans built a 5-0 lead be­fore Slove­nia got on the score­board, with Jan Mur­sak and Jan Ur­bas record­ing a goal each.

“We got a les­son in how to play hockey to­day and I think, and hope, that we learned some­thing,” summed up Slove­nia’s coach Nik Zu­pan­cic af­ter the game.

Gasper Kroselj faced 51 shots in Slove­nia’s net. He was mak­ing his sec­ond start in as many days af­ter giv­ing up four goals on 15 shots in the first pe­riod of Slove­nia’s 5-4 shootout loss to Switzer­land on Satur­day.

“It was one of those games … pucks were go­ing in for us,” said Canada’s coach Jon Cooper, who be­lieved his team was able to ben­e­fit from Slove­nia’s tough sched­ule. “They came off an emo­tional game where they were down and came back to tie, hav­ing ex­pended a lot of en­ergy. That was one of the things we wanted to talk about … try­ing to take ad­van­tage of that on teams that play back-to-backs.”

Against Canada, Slove­nia was with­out for­ward Ziga Jeglic, who was serv­ing the first game of a twogame sus­pen­sion for a kick­ing in­ci­dent Satur­day.

Canada, the two-time de­fend­ing cham­pion, is first in Group B. In later games Sun­day in Paris, France shocked Fin­land 5-1 and Switzer­land blanked Nor­way 3-0.

In Group A ac­tion in Cologne, Ger­many, Rus­sia beat Italy 10-1, the U.S. downed Den­mark 7-2 and Latvia de­feated Slo­vakia 3-1.

Canada faces its first back-to­back sit­u­a­tion as it takes on 0-2 Be­larus on Monday. Cooper is plan­ning to go back to Calvin Pickard in net. He back­stopped the Cana­di­ans to a 4-1 win over the Czechs in their first game of the tour­na­ment.

PETR DAVID JOSEK, THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Ryan O’Reilly po­si­tions for a shot on Slove­nia’s Gasper Kroselj dur­ing Canada’s easy vic­tory Sun­day.

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