BUFFALO, N.Y. —
A depleted lineup could not slow down a Canadian team that has been a scoring machine at the world junior hockey championship as Brayden Schenn had four goals and an assist in a 10-1 victory over lowly Norway on Wednesday night.
Canada has scored 23 goals in three straight wins in the preliminary round heading into what may be a decisive match for first place in its group on Friday against Sweden (2-0), who play the Czech Republic on Thursday.
“Brayden’s really hot for us,” said Canadian captain Ryan Ellis. “He’s shooting everything. Good for him.”
Canada was reduced to 16 skaters as Zack Kassian served the first of a two-game suspension for a hit to the head during a 7-2 win Tuesday over the Czech Republic and defenceman Calvin de Haan and forward Jaden Schwartz sat out with lower body injuries. Forward Cody Eakin also sat out with a suspected hand or wrist injury.
“It was tough,” Ellis said. “We were short a few bodies but everyone played well and we accomplished what we wanted.”
Erik Gudbranson, with two, Casey Cizikas, Louis Leblanc, Sean Couturier and Marcus Foligno also scored for a Canadian team thought before the tournament to be high on muscle and low on offensive punch.
“You always want to score and get points but you want to do things right,” Ellis said. “If that means scoring, good.”
Schenn, who started the season in the NHL with the Los Angeles Kings, was coming off a five-point game against the Czech Republic and leads the tournament with six goals and six assists.
Rasmus Juell scored in the first period for Norway (0-3) against Mark Visentin, who made his first start in goal in place of Olivier Roy. While most of Norway’s 32 shots were from far out, he made a handful of sharp saves including one at the doorstep on Nicolai Bryhnisveen in the first.
After Schenn scored Canada’s fifth goal at 14:34 of the first, Norwegian starter Steffen Soberg didn’t wait to be called but skated straight to the bench to be replaced by Lars Volden after facing only 12 shots. Volden was solid after giving up two early in his stint. Canada had 43 shots overall.
“It was tough. We were short a few bodies but everyone played well and we accomplished what we wanted.” - Canadian captain Ryan Ellis
The crowd at HSBC Arena was a little smaller than for Canada’s first two games but still overwhelmingly red and white and boisterous as Canada built a 6-1 first-period lead.
Schenn completed is hat-trick 44 seconds into the second frame.
Cizikas scored 2:01 into the game on a feed at the side of the net from Brett Connolly and Schenn banged in Ryan Johansen’s pass at 4:50 and that effectively ended any hope of drama.
Finland 5, Germany 1
In the only other game on Wednesday, Joonas Donskoi had a goal and an assist and Joni Ortio made 28 saves as Finland advanced to the final round of the world junior hockey championship with a victory over Germany.
Joonas Nattinen, Miikka Salomaki, Jesse Virtanen and Erik Haula also scored for Finland. Teemu Pulkkinen and Julius Junttila each added a pair of assists.
Finland finished its group stage Friday against Slovakia.
Tobias Rieder scored the lone goal for Germany, which must now play in the relegation round after posting just one point with two regulation losses and an overtime defeat in its first three games.
Finland leads Group A with seven points in three games, posting two regulation wins after losing its tournament opener to the United States in a shootout. Finland can finish no worse than third in the group, and is guaranteed at least a quarter-final spot.
The Americans are second with five points in two games, and can reclaim top spot in the group with a regulation win over Germany on Thursday. The winner of the group gets a bye into the semifinals.