International Ice Hockey Federation

Canada hammers Belarus

Canada hammers Belarus

Noel scores twice in 8-3 romp, Veleno debuts

Published 20.04.2018 23:49 GMT+5 | Author Lucas Aykroyd
Canada hammers Belarus
MAGNITOGORSK, RUSSIA - APRIL 20: Canada's Serron Noel #26 scores on Belarus's Daniel Veremeichik in the first period during preliminary round action at the 2018 IIHF Ice Hockey U18 World Championship. (Photo by Steve Kingsman/HHOF-IIHF Images)
Canada and Belarus traded goals during a hectic start, but the favorites found their groove in a 8-3 win on Friday. The Canadians have won two straight games.

Serron Noel stepped up with two goals and an assist, while Jack McBain had a goal and two assists. Alexis Lafreniere added a goal and an assist. Raphael Lavoie, Alexis Lafreniere, Jared McIsaac, and Liam Foudy also scored for Canada. Allan McShane had two assists, as did Joe Veleno, making his U18 debut after being added to the roster.

"We want to be a four-line hockey club," said coach Don Hay. "We want everybody to contribute and everybody to bring value to our group. So I think we’re doing that. To me, it would be nice to get a practice with the new players, but we’ve got a good spirit within our group."

Ilya Usov, Alexei Protas and Viktor Masilevich replied for Belarus, which had its creative offensive moments in its opener, but couldn't handle Canada's firepower.

"Obviously the first period was nervous for us because we have a lot of young guys," said Belarus forward Pavel Azhgirei. "The second period was pretty good for us and the third period was a tight game. But you never give up."

Canada outshot Belarus 28-27 as goalie Colten Ellis recorded his second straight win.

Jared McIsaac praised Hay's coaching: "He has a lot of experience and that’s going to take us to the Promised Land where we want to be at the end of the tournament, and that’s in the final. Second game in, you can tell what he’s like as a coach. He’s a great leader for all of us."

Next up for Canada is Switzerland on Sunday. The Belarusians are right back at it as they take on Sweden on Saturday at 15:30.

The first period offered an offensive frenzy. First, McBain went to the net and banged one home at 1:19. But Belarus answered right back at 1:45 as Usov roofed the rebound from Alexander Shrakhbov’s right point shot.

Undaunted, Canada made it 2-1 at 2:03. Lavoie powered around defenceman Ilya Solovyov and slid the puck past Belarus starter Nikita Tolopilo’s pokecheck attempt. The Halifax Mooseheads forward, who scored twice in the 6-4 win over the Americans, now has three goals in two U18 games.

Lafreniere stretched Canada’s lead to 3-1 at 3:00, dipsy-doodling past the outstretched stick of Kirill Levyunshov and scoring on a rising wrister from the faceoff circle. That was it for the towering Tolopilo, who was yanked for Danil Veremeichik.

"The offense is unbelievable," said Canada's Jonathan Tychonick. "We have great goal-scorers on our team."

The Belarusians rallied to make it 3-2 on a lovely goal at 6:48. Dancing into the high slot, Ilya Kazyanin found Protas at the side of the net with a cheeky backhand pass, and he put it in.

McIsaac restored Canada’s two-goal lead, cruising into the faceoff circle and powering a low drive past Veremeichik at 12:01.

Noel made it 5-2 at 13:48 on a breakaway, tucking a backhand between the goalie’s legs. Veleno earned his first assist on the play.

"He had a long couple of days of travel, so that’s always tough on a guy," said Canadian captain Ty Smith of Veleno. "But he handled it well. He played really well for us and it helped us out a lot.

Veleno, who plays for the Drummondville Voltigeurs, is one of five players in Canadian Hockey League history who was granted an exemption to play major junior when he was 15 years old. The others are John Tavares, Aaron Ekblad, Connor McDavid, and Sean Day.

The teams settled down in the second period. Canada extended its lead to 6-2 with 3:11 left in the frame when an onrushing Foudy pounced on a turnover and scored high to the glove side from the left faceoff circle.

In the third period, Belarus cut the deficit to 6-3 just 29 seconds in. Masilevich barged to the net and shoved the puck past Ellis.

Noel scored his second of the night at 4:44, converting his own rebound at the end of a sweet passing sequence. Dellandrea gave Canada an 8-3 lead, beating Vermeichik on a nice forehand deke on a shorthanded breakaway at 10:16.

Of allowing seven goals through two games, Tychonick said: "I think that’s a bit high, but it’s a process. We’re focusing on the end goal. There’s a process to start with. We’re got to tighten up the D-zone more. I think it’s just sticks on the ice, the little details that we talk about every day."

In four all-time meetings, this was Canada's third straight win over Belarus at the U18 tournament. Belarus won the inaugural encounter 5-3 in 2002.

 

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