JASON LA ROSE
(ISN) – DAVOS, Switzerland – Bud Holloway (Wapella, Sask./SC Bern, SUI) and Stefano Giliati (Montreal, Que./Espoo Blues, FIN) scored first-period goals, giving Canada’s National Men’s Team a lead it would not relinquish as it earned its first win at the 2014 Spengler Cup, beating Medvescak Zagreb 3-1 on Saturday.
The victory allows Canada to finish the preliminary round with a 1-1 record, and keeps the Canadians’ first-place chances alive in the Cattini Group, depending on the result of Sunday’s Zagreb-HC Davos game.
Alexandre Giroux (Quebec City, Que./HC Ambri-Piotta, SUI) had the other goal for Team Canada, his second in as many games, while Drew MacIntyre (Charlottetown, P.E.I./Charlotte, AHL) stopped 24 of 25 shots in his first start of the tournament.
After falling behind early in Friday’s loss to HC Davos, the Canadians struck first on Saturday; a Derrick Walser (New Glasgow, N.S./Rapperswil-Jona Lakers, SUI) slap shot rattled off the mask of Zagreb goaltender Calvin Heeter (denting the cage) and Holloway found the rebound to open the scoring at 11:45.
Giliati doubled the lead less than six minutes later, finding a loose puck in the slot, spinning and snapping a quick shot past the blocker of Heeter to make it a 2-0 game after one period.
Giroux pushed the Canadian advantage to 3-0 just 67 seconds into the second period, taking a perfect feed from Marc-Antoine Pouliot (Quebec City, Que./HC Fribourg-Gottéron, SUI) and beating a sprawling Heeter.
That would be all the offence the Canadians would muster, but that was all they needed thanks to MacIntyre, who kept the Croatian side off the scoreboard for more than 48 minutes.
Pascal Pelletier ruined the shutout bid eight minutes into the third period, wiring a perfect wrist shot past MacIntyre.
Medvescak Zagreb finished with a 25-24 advantage in shots on goal.
The Croatian team, which plays in Russia’s Kontinental Hockey League, had 15 Canadian-born players in its line-up and is led by head coach Doug Shedden, who served as Canada’s bench boss at the last two Spengler Cups, winning the championship – Canada’s 12th – in 2012.