MARNER NETS HAT TRICK TO LEAD ONTARIO OVER GERMANY
by Wendy Graves
SYDNEY, N.S. – Mitchell Marner (Thornhill, Ont./London, OHL) scored three goals and Dylan Strome (Mississauga, Ont./Erie, OHL) added a goal and two assists as Ontario opened Group B play at the 2014 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge with a 8-1 win over Germany Sunday afternoon.
Matthew Kreis (Georgetown, Ont./Barrie, OHL), Blake Speers (Sault Ste. Marie, Ont./Sault Ste. Marie, OHL), Jakob Chychrun (Toronto, Ont./Toronto Jr. Canadiens, GTHL) and Brett McKenzie (Vars, Ont./North Bay, OHL) also scored for Ontario.
Ontario dominated from the opening face-off and 11 players ended up on the scoresheet. The key to the game was its special teams: it scored three times on the power play and once shorthanded.
The boys in red came out quickly and built a 2-0 lead shortly after the seven-minute mark of the first period. Germany was being outskated, outhustled and outhit, but thanks to back-to-back minors on Ontario, they cashed in on the man advantage, with Jakob Mayenschein firing in a shot from the left wing.
Germany must have been feeling lucky to be trailing by only one goal as the clock ticked down on the opening period. Alas, its luck expired 30 seconds before the period did. Strome fired the puck wide of the German net, but Chychrun was Johnny-on-the-Spot and gave Ontario a 3-1 lead after 20 minutes.
Ontario built on that momentum in the opening minutes of the second. With the team killing a tripping minor, a strong forecheck led to a short-handed tally by McKenzie.
A great individual effort by Travis Konecny (Clachan, Ont./Ottawa, OHL) to keep the puck in the German zone, followed by a pass on his stomach led to Marner making it 5-1 after the second period.
Two tic-tac-toe passing plays helped Marner finish his hat trick, and an unassisted goal by Strome completed the scoring in the third.
Ontario will look for a 2-0 start when it takes on Atlantic in an all-Canadian match-up Monday night in Sydney (7 p.m. AT), while Germany takes on the defending bronze medallists from the United States in an afternoon tilt in North Sydney (2 p.m. AT).