Canada is going into its opener at the Memorial of Ivan Hlinka under-18 hockey tournament feeling confident, courtesy its Ottawa connection. Ottawa 67's winger Tyler Toffoli scored twice and area minor hockey grads Erik Gudbranson and Ryan Spooner also tallied in a 7-1 win exhibition over host Slovakia on Sunday in Piestany.
Toffoli's line with John McFarland -- the two played midget hockey with the Toronto Jr. Canadiens two years ago -- and Tyler Seguin combined for 11 points for Canada, whose first round-robin game is Tuesday vs. Sweden in Breclav, Czech Republic. Toffoli had two goals and an assist, while McFarland, a member of the Sudbury Wolves, scored once and earned three assists. Seguin, who plays for Plymouth in the OHL, had four helpers.
The big line was in on the game's first three goals, including a tally by Gudbranson, a defenceman from Orleans who skates for the Kingston Frontenacs. Gudbranson earned an early shower after getting a five-minute major and a game misconduct for boarding 6:44 into the second period, but Canada scored a short-handed goal on the ensuing power play.
Spooner, a centre from Kanata who plays for the Peterborough Petes, scored in the third period.