HAMILTON, Ont. – Dillon Dubé (Cochrane, Alta./Kelowna, WHL) and Tyler Steenbergen (Sylvan Lake, Alta./Swift Current, WHL) scored two goals apiece, and Canada’s National Junior Team finished its pre-tournament schedule with an 8-1 win over Switzerland on Friday night.
The Canadians flexed their offensive muscle in exhibition play, outscoring the Swiss and Czechs by a combined 17-1.
They were just as dominant on the defensive end at the FirstOntario Centre, holding Switzerland to just seven shots on goal, and zero in the final 29 minutes. Canada had a 61-7 advantage in shots overall.
The scoring started early, with Jordan Kyrou (Toronto, Ont./Sarnia, OHL) finishing a gorgeous feed from Josh Mahura (St. Albert, Alta./Regina, WHL) to put the Canadians up 1-0 just 3:43 after the puck dropped.
Steenbergen doubled the lead less than four minutes later, finding a loose puck in the crease and knocking it past Swiss goaltender Philip Wüthrich.
Canada made a goaltending change to start the second period; Colton Point (North Bay, Ont./Colgate University, ECAC) replaced Carter Hart (Sherwood Park, Alta./Everett, WHL), who made three saves in the opening 20 minutes and did not allow a goal in his four periods of pre-tournament work.
Dubé, who missed the exhibition opener on Wednesday, got on the scoreboard at the 2:39 mark of the second, one-timing a centering pass from Sam Steel (Sherwood Park, Alta./Regina, WHL) for a three-goal advantage.
Guillaume Maillard got the Swiss on the board at 4:52, batting the puck up and over Point, but Jake Bean (Calgary, Alta./Calgary, WHL) beat Wüthrich over the glove at 8:15, Drake Batherson (New Minas, N.S./Cape Breton, QMJHL) tipped in a Mahura shot at 10:34 and Dubé snapped home his second of the period at 18:08 to send Canada to the intermission up 6-1.
Matteo Ritz replaced Wüthrich to start the third period, but the Canadians added two goals in rapid succession to finish the scoring; Steenbergen got his second at 7:35 before Kale Clague (Lloydminster, Alta./Brandon, WHL) went end-to-end just 1:34 later.
““I really liked the way our players handled themselves even though the score was a lot on our side. Guys kept their mindset and we worked on our game.”
– Dominique Ducharme, head coach, on the team’s effort
“I think it’s a good start, but obviously when the pressure and stakes are even higher we’ll have even more jump out there and we’ll be clicking. There’s still some things we can do; the structure is in the back of our mind but it’s not instinct yet. We have one more practice to work on it before we get to Buffalo and we’re looking forward to getting there.”
– Dillon Dubé on making progress each day
The Canadians are off to Buffalo for the 2018 IIHF World Junior Championship; they open the tournament against Finland on Boxing Day (4 p.m. ET/1 p.m. PT).