DAVOS, Switzerland – Kevin Clark (Winnipeg, Man./SC Rapperswil-Jona Lakers, NLA) scored a hat trick and Kris Versteeg (Lethbridge, Alta./HK Nitra, SVK) added a goal, sending Canada’s National Men’s Team to a 4-1 win over HC Ocelari Trinec as the puck dropped Thursday at the 2019 Spengler Cup.
It’s the third year in a row – and the 10th time in 13 years – that Canada has opened with a victory.
Zach Fucale (Rosemère, Que./Orlando, ECHL) made 27 saves and Adam Tambellini (Edmonton, Alta./MODO Hockey, Allsvenskan) recorded two assists to join Clark as the only multi-point producers.
Versteeg got the Canadian offence going less than six minutes in, ripping a one-timer from the top of the circle past Trinec goaltender Petr Kvaca for a power-play goal.
Clark doubled the advantage early in the second period when he got his stick on a point shot from Canadian captain Maxim Noreau (Montreal, Que./ZSC Lions, NLA) at 2:06, and he and Ian Mitchell (Calahoo, Alta./University of Denver, NCHC) worked a give-and-go to perfection five minutes later for a 3-0 lead.
Aron Chmielewski got one back for Trinec when he redirected a shot past Fucale near the midway mark of the middle frame, but that would be the lone marker for the Czech side.
Trinec peppered Fucale with 16 shots in the third period as it tried to chip away at the Canadian lead, but the puck-stopper was up to the task, turning aside everything sent his way.
Clark capped his hat trick with 1:01 to go, scoring unassisted into an empty net.
The win means the Canadians will enjoy an off-day Friday before they face off against host HC Davos on Saturday (2 p.m. ET/11 a.m. PT) in the preliminary-round finale.