By: Henry Whitfield
A sluggish start and a two ejections put Team Canada behind early on Friday morning, but on the back of a big second period they battled to a 6 – 3 win over Slovakia.
Coming off a 9 – 3 win in their opening game against Germany, Canada’s offence was no where to be found in the first period, falling two goals behind early on.
Marko Dano opened the scoring for Slovakia, finishing off a play by Matus Matis to put the underdogs ahead.
Forward J.C. Lipon was then ejected midway through the period, thrown out for checking to the head and Slovakia took no time to capitalize on the major penalty, Tomas Mikus putting the puck past Malcolm Subban.
Ryan Strome answered back at the start of the second, but it was another ejection that gave Slovakia the edge.
Anthony Camara was given a game misconduct for charging after a crunching hit on Dano and on the ensuing penalty it was Dano who scored his second of the game and restored the 2 goal lead for Slovakia.
Moments after scoring it was Dano who turned from hero to villain, getting a penalty for spearing and it was the moment that spurred the Canadians into action.
Morgan Reilly and Ty Rattie scored back to back power play goals to tie the game up and Mark Sheifele gave the Canadians a lead with less than a minute left in the second, completing the comeback.
In the third period Captain Ryan Nugent-Hopkins sealed the win and Strome scored his second of the game, giving the Canadians a 6 – 3 win over a plucky Slovakia.
Subban picked up the win with 25 saves and while he allowed three goals, he can’t be blamed for allowing two goals against on two five minute major power plays in the first two periods.
Despite the win, the story of the game will surround the two ejections and while reporters and fans alike were quick to jump on the referees it will be up to the off-ice officials whether suspensions are handed down to Camara and Lipon.
**[Updated: IIHF announced there will be no supplementary discipline for Anthony Camara after his game misconduct and ejection]**
Nathan MacKinnon [3 Shots] – Not a lot of ice time in the first two periods, but was reunited with Jonathan Drouin and picked up three shots in the third period. His best play of the night was when he dragged the puck through a defenders legs on a play behind the net.
Jonathan Drouin [1 Assist, +1, 2 Shots] – Continuing to be a spark plug and picked up an assist on Ryan Strome’s first goal of the night. When reunited with Mackinnon, he really seemed to pick up his game.
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Henry is a writer for Sportstream.ca and part of the The Sports Show on 88.1 CKDU every Thursday Morning at 9am. You can follow him on twitter at @HenryWhitfield , where he live tweets his thoughts during each Mooseheads game.