Hall Hat Trick Leads Canada
Taylor Hall was expected to provide much of the offensive punch for this year's version of Team Canada at the World Junior Hockey Championships, but he had not scored a goal in the tournament. That all changed last night with his break out game against Slovakia. The Windsor Spitfire forward scored 3 goals and added an assist in an 8 to 2 victory for Canada.
Hall opened the scoring at 7:18 of the first period with a power play goal. Alex Peitrangelo added another 21 seconds later. Then Hall fired a wrist shot past Slovak goaltender Marek Ciliak giving Canada a 3 to 0 lead. Ciliak was replaced in the Slovak net by Tomas Halasz.
Canada increased its lead to 7 to 1 in the second frame with goals from Luke Adam, Ryan Ellis, Hall with his third, and Brayden Schenn. Richard Panik ended Canada's shut out streak when he scored a power play marker for the Slovaks.
The Canadians went with Martin Jones in goal and he was busier than Jake Allen who started the previous two games.
The game was a physical affair and the Slovaks managed, at times, to get under the skin of the Canadians. Captain Patrice Cormier took a costly cross checking penalty in the second period which resulted in a Slovak power play goal. Cormier did not see much ice time for the rest of the game.
For Taylor Hall the hat trick was a first time experience. He told the Canadian Press, "It was a fun night for me,".... "I've actually never scored a hat-trick in front of a home crowd and I've never had hats come down for me, so it was a nice feeing."
Canada will play the United States on New Year's Eve. Both teams are undefeated and the winner will receive a bye to the semi-finals.
Canada 8, Slovakia 2
Canada - Hall (Ellis, Eberle) PP, 7:18
Canada - Pietrangelo (Cormier, Bourque) 7:39
Canada - Hall (Unassisted), 10:43
Canada - Adam (Della Rovere) 5:08
Canada - Ellis (Hall, Kadri) PP, 13:20
Slovakia - Panik (Hrasko, Rais) 17:25
Canada - Hall (Pietrangelo, Ellis) PP, 17:42
Canada - Schenn (Kozun, Pietrangelo), 18:39
Canada - Della Rovere (Schenn) SH, 12:41
Slovakia - Bakos (Stastny), 13:43
Canada - Martin Jones
Slovakia - Marek Ciliak, Tomas Halasz (10:43, 1st)