Toronto Star

Canada gets second shutout win,

Phenom back from broken hand punches glass after first goal in Canada’s second shutout win


MONTREAL— When Connor McDavid scored his first goal of the world junior hockey championsh­ip, he sent a message.

It wasn’t intended for Germany, which ended up on the wrong side of Canada’s 4-0 victory Saturday night. It wasn’t meant for the fans, who might have been worried after he didn’t score in Canada’s 8-0 tournament-opening win over Slovakia.

The message was to everyone: He’s back and his hand is fine.

McDavid’s post-goal celebratio­n was a whack on the Bell Centre glass with the same hand he broke in a fight six weeks ago. The injury was believed to have happened when his fist hit the glass in that scrap.

“It was just exciting,” said McDavid. “I haven’t scored in a long time, missing a whole bunch of games. Scoring goals is fun.”

Linemate Curtis Lazar took note of the celebratio­n.

“It’s a message in disguise, showing that his hand is good to go,” said Lazar.

“I was a little nervous, but it held up good. We’re going to need him for the long run.”

The hockey world knew McDavid, the highly touted 17-year-old phenom, might take over the world junior showcase at any time. It happened Saturday night, when the player of the game recorded three points.

McDavid scored the opening goal off a scrum in front of German goalie Kevin Reich at 4:11 of the first period.

“You guys probably thought I played terrible (against Slovakia),” McDavid told reporters. “But in reality, I had my fair amount of chances. You don’t cash in all the time. The difference (against Germany) is they went in.

“At the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter how you’re doing. It’s all about the team, and if the team is winning that’s all that matters.”

Post-game, McDavid was stonefaced and all business, as if to say the work is not done.

“After his goal, he was so serious, I told him to relax and smile a little bit,” said Lazar. “We’re playing the game we love. I’m happy for him. He worked so hard. He’s such an intense athlete. It’s good (to get that goal). Now we have to keep on rolling.” The marker came on the power play, with assists to Josh Morrissey and Nic Petan, but it was all McDavid — with patience and quick stickhandl­ing to the side of the net before committing to the shot.

Later in the period, he set up Lazar for Canada’s second goal, also with the man advantage. That gave the captain something to celebrate.

“It feels good,” said Lazar. “I was really angry at myself for the way I played (against Slovakia). I’m still adjusting. Things are finally coming into place. I can build off this performanc­e. I still have a couple of gears in me.”

With their top two players on the board, all seemed right for Canada — which returns to action Monday night against Finland. But after that 2-0 start and outshootin­g Germany 7-0, the tables turned.

Canada started to make fancy nolook and cross-ice passes which led to turnovers. The Germans gained confidence, establishi­ng a forecheck and forcing penalties. Canada looked guilty of one sin it wanted to avoid: taking an opponent lightly.

“They played really well,” McDavid said of the Germans. “They were aggressive on the forecheck and shut it down defensivel­y.”

The Germans, who don’t have a single player drafted by an NHL team, gave a team filled with future stars a run for its money.

It took until 9:14 of the third for Canada to breathe a little easier, with Max Domi finishing off a Sam Reinhart feed. An excited Domi stuck out his tongue and pointed to Reinhart to make sure everyone knew who had done all the work. McDavid and Petan combined again, setting up Madison Bowie for the fourth goal.

Eric Comrie backstoppe­d Canada’s second shutout in two days, making 17 saves.

 ?? PAUL CHIASSON/THE CANADIAN PRESS ?? Team Canada’s Connor McDavid shakes off German defenceman Fabio Wagner behind goalie Kevin Reich in Saturday night’s game in Montreal.
PAUL CHIASSON/THE CANADIAN PRESS Team Canada’s Connor McDavid shakes off German defenceman Fabio Wagner behind goalie Kevin Reich in Saturday night’s game in Montreal.

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