Canada battles back to defeat Slovakia 6-3 at world junior championship

Donna Spencer, The Canadian Press
Associated Press

UFA, Russia - Down three forwards and trailing by two goals in the second period, Canada came from behind to beat Slovakia 6-3 at the world junior hockey championship Friday.

Ryan Strome scored a pair of goals and defenceman Morgan Rielly contributed a goal and an assist to lead Canada, now 2-0 in Pool B.

Canada takes on the United States on Sunday and concludes the preliminary round against host Russia on New Year's Eve.

Forwards J.C. Lipon and Anthony Camara were both out of Friday's game by 6:21 of the second period with game misconducts. That reduced Canada to 10 forwards because Boone Jenner was serving the second of a three-game suspension.

Trailing 2-0 after the first period and 3-1 midway through the second, Canada then exploded for six unanswered goals.

Mark Scheifele scored the go-ahead goal with less than a minute remaining in the second period. Ty Rattie and captain Ryan Nugent Hopkins also scored.

"In an event like this, you've got to find different ways to win and tonight was about dealing with adversity early and staying true to our tasks," Canadian coach Steve Spott said. "I give our kids a lot of credit. They had to be resilient and ultimately find a way to win and they were able to do that."

Defenceman Xavier Ouellet assisted on two Canadian goals. Malcolm Subban turned away 25 of 28 shots on the Canadian net for his second win of the tournament.

Marko Dano scored twice and Tomas Mikus also scored for Slovakia. Adam Nagy turned away 24 of 30 shots in Slovakia's net.

Spott awaited word on whether there would be supplemental discipline for Lipon and Camara from the International Ice Hockey Federation.

Camara, who plays for the Barrie Colts, caught Slovak defenceman Patrick Luza with his head down near the boards early in the second period. Luza was taken from the ice on a stretcher and then to hospital. Team officials said he may have suffered a concussion.

Lipon, a Kamloops Blazer, checked Mikus behind the Slovak net in the first period. Mikus lay face down on the ice while the Canadian was ejected from the game. The KHL's Slovan Bratislava forward then scored a power-play goal on his next shift.

"In my eyes, the two hits were dirty," Mikus said. "I didn't see the second one, so I can't comment on it, but there was ... blood in the face so not clean. Just dirty.

"We scored two fast goals. We should have played defence better, but stupid penalties and we paid the fine."

Canada may escape an additional suspension of Camara at least. Spott said a linesman told Camara his hit was clean.

"I think I've got a full appreciation for how good officiating is in the Canadian Hockey League right now, but saying that, these are the cards that we're dealt over here and we understand there is a different standard," said Spott, who also coaches the Ontario Hockey League's Kitchener Rangers.

Slovakia had taken Russia to overtime in their Pool B opener before falling 3-2. Against Canada, they were the faster, smarter and harder-working team in the opening period.

The ejection of Camara galvanized Canada, while the Slovaks lost control of their emotions. Power-play goals from Rielly and Rattie in the second period tied the game 3-3.

Schiefele's tip-in of a Ouellet shot from the blue-line at 19:01 knocked the fight out of Slovakia for the third period.

Strome says the Canadians didn't panic when their forward lines were depleted

"Everyone wants a little bit more ice time anyway," he said with a smile.

"Everyone stepped up when they needed to," Strome continued. "I think that's the sign of a great winning team and a team that's growing together. You've got to be happy with the final outcome."

The Russians and the United States were to clash in the later Pool B game. The Czech Republic downed Finland 3-1 in a Pool A game Friday.