GANGNEUNG, South Korea – Kevin Poulin (Montreal, Que./EHC Kloten, NLA) made 19 saves for the shutout in his Olympic debut, helping Canada’s Men’s Olympic Team to a 4-0 win over South Korea on Sunday in the preliminary-round finale for both at the 2018 Olympic Winter Games.
The win leaves Canada in second place in Group A with seven points, and sends it to the quarter-finals on Wednesday (7 a.m. ET/4 a.m. PT) as the highest-ranked runner-up. The Canadians will face the winner of the Finland-South Korea qualification game in the quarters.
Poulin has been red-hot in the red-and-white; dating back to Canada’s semifinal win at the Spengler Cup in late December, he has gone just over 225 minutes without allowing a goal.
The Canadians spread around the scoring, with four different players scoring goals, and 10 recording at least a point. Only Derek Roy (Rockland, Ont./Linköping HC, SWE), who had two assists, put his name on the scoresheet more than once.
The story early was Canadian-born Korean goaltender Matt Dalton, who was under fire from the first drop of the puck, making 11 saves in the first six minutes.
Christian Thomas (Toronto, Ont./Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, AHL) finally solved Dalton at the 7:36 mark of the opening frame, wiring a wrist shot over the glove for the 1-0 goal on the 14th Canadian shot.
Poulin was at his best during a four-minute Korean power play early in the second period, making a handful of point-blank stops to keep the Olympic hosts at bay.
Eric O’Dell (Ottawa, Ont./HC Sochi, KHL) doubled the lead with just over five minutes to go in the second, gathering in a bounce off the end boards and catching Dalton going the wrong way to send Canada to the intermission up by a pair.
The Canadians put the game away with a pair of goals in the third period; Maxim Lapierre (Brossard, Que./HC Lugano, NLA) drove to the net and went five-hole on Dalton at 3:43, before Gilbert Brulé (Vancouver, B.C./Kunlun Red Star, KHL) buried his own rebound on the power play with less than two minutes to go.
Canada finished with a one-sided 49-19 advantage in shots on goal.
“We knew it was going to be a tight game against [Korea]. They’re a good team, they work hard in front of their fans, [and they’ve] got speed. So we were patient tonight and we scored when it was time to score.”
Maxim Lapierre on the host South Korean team
“You tip your hat to them. I think they played well and their goaltender also made some really big saves.”
Mason Raymond of facing the hosts in Sunday’s game