CANADA BLANKS SLOVAKIA IN PRE-U18S OPENER
JASON LA ROSE
CHELYABINSK, Russia – Serron Noel (Nepean, Ont./Oshawa, OHL) scored twice, and Canada’s National Men’s Under-18 Team netted four goals in the first period to earn a 5-0 win over Slovakia in its pre-tournament opener Sunday ahead of the 2018 IIHF U18 World Championship.
Cameron Hillis (Oshawa, Ont./Guelph, OHL), Alexis Lafrenière (Saint-Eustache, Que./Rimouski, QMJHL) and Cole Fonstad (Estevan, Sask./Prince Albert, WHL) had the other goals for Canada. Lafrenière and Fonstad finished with a goal and an assist apiece, while Ty Dellandrea (Port Perry, Ont./Flint, OHL) chipped in with a pair of helpers.
Kevin Mandolese (Blainville, Que./Cape Breton, QMJHL) and Nolan Maier (Yorkton, Sask./Saskatoon, WHL) shared the shutout in the Canadian goal; Mandolese played the first two periods before giving way to Maier in the third.
After a slow start, Canada twice struck for two goals inside a minute before the end of the first period.
Noel got the scoring started at 8:18 off a set-up from Lafrenière and Dellandrea, and Hillis doubled the advantage just 36 seconds later.
Lafrenière made it a 3-0 game with a shorthanded goal with just 1:23 remaining in the opening frame, before Fonstad added another for the Canadians on the same penalty kill only 27 seconds after that.
Noel netted his second of the game early in the second period, capping the offence.
The Canadians are right back to action Monday in Chelyabinsk, wrapping up its exhibition schedule against Finland (10:30 a.m. ET/7:30 a.m. PT). It opens the world championship Thursday in Magnitogorsk, taking on the defending champions from the United States (10:30 a.m. ET/7:30 a.m. PT).