Francesco Pinelli had a hat trick, Olen Zellweger added four assists and Thomas Milic made 11 saves, sending Canada to a 7-0 win over Switzerland on Friday night in Plano. © Ryan McCullough/HHOF-IIHF Images

Canada scored five power-play goals against a porous Swiss penalty kill en route to an easy and convincing 7-0 win over Switzerland tonight.

The loss ensures Switzerland will finish in fourth spot in Group A and will play the top team in Group B in the quarter-finals (which, as of now, is likely to be one of Russia, Finland, or the United States).

Canada finishes its round robin tomorrow night against Belarus in a game that will likely decide first place.

Canada is now 11-0-1 all time against the Swiss in U18 competition, the only loss coming in 2010. Thomas Milic got the shutout by stopping only 11 shots while Canada had 39 on Mathieu Croce in the Swiss goal.

“They’re a hard-working team and a good skating team,” said Canada’s coach Dave Barr. “They were not an easy opponent. I thought we did a good job defending. We limited their o-zone time. That’s the biggest reason we kept them off the board. We kept them to the outside and our goalie didn’t give up any rebounds. It was a good win for us, and it wasn’t easy.”

The PK has been the great Achilles heel for the Swiss, who have the unfortunate double problem of being both the most penalized team in the tournament and having surrendered the most goals–a whopping 12 in four games while down a man.

“To be honest, I don’t know what’s going on there,” said Swiss forward Benjamin Bougro. “We’ve been taking too many penalties and the PK isn’t working. We’ve changed it up, but I don’t know if we have to be more aggressive or what.”

“We’re taking too many penalties,” coach Marcel Jenni agreed. “We started well but then gave up too many goals on the PK again. The only thing we can do is fight through it and improve. We’ll be ready for the quarter-finals. I’m not worried.”

The Canadians came out with exactly the start they needed, spending most of the time in the Swiss end and preventing their opponents from getting any sense they could win. They also scored the only two goals of the first, starting with a power-play marker at 10:50.

Dylan Guenther got the puck on the left, and moved in to the faceoff dot before wiring a shot that beat Croce to the short side.

Three minutes later, 15-year-old Connor Bedard got his first goal of the tournament. In a scramble behind the Swiss net, Logan Stankoven managed to swat the puck in front, where Bedard made no mistake with the chance.

Shots favoured Canada in the opening 20 minutes by a 12-2 margin, which fairly represented their dominance.

The second was a repeat performance on both sides of the puck. Canada scored two more, and the Swiss managed a mere four shots. Pinelli made it a 3-0 game at 1:48 when Owen Zellweger’s point shot bounced off the post and right to Pinelli. He had an easy conversion for the goal.

Three minutes later, Pinelli scored again, this time on the power play. A loose puck in front bounced off the skate of Swiss defender Tiziano Pauchard right to Pinelli, and he snapped a shot past Croce to give Canada a comfortable 4-0 lead after 40 minutes.

Canada added its third goal with the extra man thanks to a terrific pass by Pinelli to Brennan Othmann, stationed in the middle of Switzerland’s defensive box. Othmann got the puck and fired a perfect shot past Croce to make it 5-0.

Late in the game the Swiss took three quick penalties, and Canada pounced again with the two-man advantage. Zellweger got one goal with a one-timer and soon after Chase Stillman added another to extend the lead further and put an exclamation mark on the Swiss’s lack of discipline.