Canada’s National Junior Team Feast On Slovakia – Off To Semis

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Barrett Hayton scored twice and Alexis Lafrenière had a goal and an assist in his return to the line-up, leading Canada to the semifinals with a 6-1 win over Slovakia. © Andrea Leigh Cardin/HHOF-IIHF Images

OSTRAVA, Czech Republic – Barrett Hayton (Peterborough, Ont./Arizona, NHL) scored twice and Alexis Lafrenière (Saint-Eustache, Que./Rimouski, QMJHL) added a goal and an assist in his return to the line-up, leading Canada’s National Junior Team to a 6-1 quarter-final win over Slovakia on Thursday at the 2020 IIHF World Junior Championship.

With the teams being reseeded for the semis, Canada will wait for the results of the two late quarter-finals to determine who and when it will play on Saturday.

Hayton added an assist for a three-point effort, while Dylan Cozens (Whitehorse, Y.T./Lethbridge, WHL), Calen Addison (Brandon, Man./Lethbridge, WHL) and Jamie Drysdale (Toronto, Ont./Erie, OHL) chipped in with two helpers apiece.

Joel Hofer (Winnipeg, Man./Portland, WHL) was the best Canadian early; the goaltender made a couple of point-blank stops on a five-minute power play to keep the game scoreless, including a terrific right-pad save off Robert Dzugan.

Canada went to work on offence shortly after the man advantage expired, with Cozens and Lafrenière working down low before setting up Hayton all alone in the slot for the 1-0 goal.

The second period belonged to the Canadians; they outshot Slovakia 18-4 and stretched their lead to five.

Connor McMichael (Ajax, Ont./London, OHL) got the festivities started early in the middle frame, keeping on a two-on-one and beating Slovak netminder Samuel Hlavaj to the far side.

Jacob Bernard-Docker (Canmore, Alta./University of North Dakota, NCHC) made it 3-0 at 3:42, stepping around a shot block and snapping a shot past Hlavaj, and Liam Foudy (Scarborough, Ont./London, OHL) blew past the defence before going to the backhand at 9:02.

Lafrenière added a power-play marker 1:48 after the Foudy goal, wiring a wrist shot through traffic to send Canada to the dressing room with a commanding five-goal advantage.

Hayton got his second of the game a minute into the third period on another Canadian power play, chasing Hlavaj after six goals on 30 shots. Samuel Vyletelka stopped all 14 shots he faced the rest of the way.

Slovakia finally solved Hofer when Oliver Okuliar ripped a slap shot over the glove with 14 minutes left, but that would do it for scoring.

Canada finished with a one-sided advantage on shots on goal, 44-18.