May 10, 2014, MINSK, Belarus (ISN) – Joel Ward (North York, Ont./Washington, NHL) scored twice and Ben Scrivens (Spruce Grove, Alta./Edmonton, NHL) made 23 saves in picking up his first international win as Canada defeated Slovakia 4-1 on Saturday at the IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship.
Cody Hodgson (Markham, Ont./Buffalo, NHL) and Kevin Bieksa (Grimsby, Ont./Vancouver, NHL) also scored for Canada. Jason Garrison (White Rock, B.C./Vancouver, NHL) picked up two assists.
Miroslav Satan had the lone goal for Slovakia, while Jan Laco stopped 24 shots in the loss.
Both teams were looking to bounce back from opening game defeats. Canada had surprisingly fallen 3-2 to France in a shootout, while Slovakia dropped an overtime decision to the Czech Republic by the same score.
“We were disappointed with the way we came out in the first game,” said Tyler Myers (Calgary, Alta./Buffalo, NHL). “I think all the guys realized that’s not the way we play hockey and that’s not the way Canada plays hockey. The way we responded tonight was exactly what we wanted.”
The best chances of the opening period belonged to Canada. Slovakia was whistled for three straight penalties, but the Canadian power play was unable to convert.
Slovakia came out stronger in the second, and its more aggressive approach led to Canada being whistled for a trio of penalties of its own.
Slovakia was finally able to capitalize on its third man advantage. After working the puck around the zone, Karol Sloboda’s shot from just inside the blue line was redirected under Scrivens’ glove by Satan.
Laco continued to be his team’s best defender. Through 37 minutes only one shot beat him, and the post had his back on that one.
But some sustained Canadian pressure finally found a hole in the closing minutes of the second. After Laco turned away several Canadian shooters in close, Ward tipped in Garrison’s wrist shot from the point.
“It was big for us to respond,” said Myers. “We were happy with the way we were performing, so we knew [a goal] was going to come. I thought we did a good job of being consistent throughout the game.”
Hodgson gave Canada the lead seven minutes into the third. After Garrison sprung the puck free from along the centre boards, Hodgson’s quick release from the face-off circle went under Laco’s glove.
Ten minutes later Bieksa provided some breathing room when his point shot found its way through traffic.
Less than a minute later, Alex Burrows (Pincourt, Que./Vancouver, NHL) found Ward in the face-off circle for a one-timer.
Canada (1-0-0-1) next plays the Czech Republic (0-0-1-0) on Monday at 1:45 p.m. ET/10:45 a.m. PT.