World Junior_ Canada handles first taste of adversity

Canada's Mark Scheifele, right, and Dougie Hamilton, left, attempt to score on Slovakia's goalie...

Canada's Mark Scheifele, right, and Dougie Hamilton, left, attempt to score on Slovakia's goalie Adam Nagy (2) during the first period of their preliminary round game during the 2013 IIHF U20 World Junior Hockey Championship in Ufa December 28, 2012. (REUTERS/Mark Blinch)

Terry Koshan, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:22 PM ET

Adversity wasn’t supposed to come this early for Canada.

But when it did, the Canadian players fought through it with determination.

Canada spotted Slovakia a 2-0 lead on Friday at the 2013 world junior championship and came back to win 6-3 before 2,818 fans at Ufa Arena.

However, the trouble might not be over Canada, which plays the United States and Russia in its next two games. Forwards JC Lipon and Anthony Camara both received a five-minute major and game misconduct — for a check to the head and charging, respectively — and could face further discipline from the International Ice Hockey Federation.

Tomas Mikus, who was hit by Lipon, did not miss a shift. Patrik Luza, who was hit by Camara, was carried off the ice on a stretcher.

No matter what the IIHF decides, Canadian players are going to have to be a little more careful. This isn’t North America.

Canada got goals from Ryan Strome, Morgan Rielly, Ty Rattie and Mark Scheifele in the second period. The goals by Rielly and Rattie were on power plays, while Scheifele’s, with 59 seconds remaining, gave Canada a 4-3 lead.

Scheifele, who was harassed by the Slovaks all game, tipped a point shot by Xavier Ouellet past Slovak goalie Adam Nagy for the winner.

Canada is 2-0 in the tournament.

Already without Boone Jenner, who served the second game of a three-game suspension, Canada lost Lipon at 13:39 of the first period and Camara at 6:21 of the second.

Mikus made the major penalty to Lipon that much more painful when he beat Malcolm Subban, firing a shot to the top corner of the net at 15:17, to give Slovakia a 2-0 lead.

The Slovaks took a 1-0 lead at 2:53 of the first period when Marko Dano scored at 2:53 after he tapped in a rebound when Brett Ritchie failed to check him at the crease.

Canada had trouble getting through the Slovak trap in the opening 20 minutes, but once the Slovaks ran into penalty trouble in the second period, it became less of an issue.

Still, Dano’s second goal gave Slovakia a 3-1 lead before Canada scored three in a row.

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Strome, on a nice deke on a breakaway, scored in the third period.

Canada improved to 7-0-1 against Slovakia at the world junior.

Scheifele was named Canada’s MVP. Dano was named Slovakia’s MVP.

The competition is about to get a lot more stiff for the Canadians. They play the U.S. on Sunday and Russia on Monday to conclude the preliminary round.

Canada has won eight of its past nine games against the U.S. at the world junior, with the loss coming in the gold-medal game in Saskatoon in 2010.

terry.koshan@sunmedia.ca

twitter.com/koshtorontosun

 


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