MONTREAL, Que. – Robby Fabbri (Mississauga, Ont./Guelph, OHL) had two goals and two assists, Nic Petan (Delta, B.C./Portland, WHL) added scored once and added a helper, and Canada’s National Junior Team blanked Slovakia 8-0 to open the 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship on Friday night.
It is the 16th consecutive year Canada has opened the World Juniors with a win, dating back to a 0-0 tie with Slovakia at the 1999 tournament in Winnipeg, Man. The last time Canada lost its first game was 1998, when it lost 3-2 to Finland.
Sam Reinhart (West Vancouver, B.C./Kootenay, WHL) finished with two assists, while Max Domi (Toronto, Ont./London, OHL), Brayden Point (Calgary, Alta./Moose Jaw, WHL), Anthony Duclair (Laval, Que./N.Y. Rangers, NHL) and Jake Virtanen (Abbotsford, B.C./Calgary, WHL) each had a goal and an assist in the win.
Nick Paul (Mississauga, Ont./North Bay, OHL) was the other goal scorer for Canada and netminder Zach Fucale (Rosemère, Que./Québec, QMJHL) earned the 12-save shutout.
Canada needed just 4:52 of the first period to open the scoring; Duclair carried the puck into the Slovak zone before dishing to Reinhart, who found Fabbri for a one-timer through the legs of goaltender Denis Godla.
Duclair made it a two-goal lead less than three minutes later, showing off his quick hands with a beautiful forehand-to-backhand deke from in close, and Petan fed Fabbri 52 seconds later for his second of the period.
Paul started a four-goal second period at 6:56, collecting the rebound off a Virtanen wraparound and knocking the puck past Godla, and Point ended the Slovak’s goaltender’s night at 11:35, hammering home a shot from the slot to make it 5-0.
Domi welcomed David Okolicany at 16:14, wiring a wrist shot just under the crossbar, and Petan pushed the lead to 7-0 just 67 seconds later, finding space above Okolicany’s short-side shoulder on a drive to the net.
Virtanen scored the only goal of the third period and rounded out the scoring with 3:19 left, picking up the rebound of a Point shot and finding the back of the net from an almost-impossible angle.
Fucale faced few challenges in the Canadian goal; his busiest period was the second, when he made five of his 12 saves, earning his first shutout in his sixth World Juniors start.
The Canadians are right back to action on Saturday night, taking on Germany; the puck drops at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT at the Bell Centre.