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Pickard, Canada top Germany 5-1 in WJC Day 4

Tuesday, 12.30.2008 / 12:51 AM / WorldJuniors
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Pickard, Canada top Germany 5-1 in WJC Day 4
World Junior Championships Day 4
republished from Canadian Press via NHL.com (with NashvillePredators.com editorial) note: Chet Pickard (Canada) was the lone Preds prospect in action on Day 4 of the World Junior Championships; both Team USA (Jonathon Blum and Colin Wilson) & Team Finland (Jani Lajunen) were off on Day 4. (Click here for NashvillePredators.com WJC home page)

OTTAWA - Predators prospect Chet Pickard stopped 12 of 13 shots and Zach Boychuk scored a pair of goals in Canada's 5-1 victory over Germany at the world junior hockey championship Monday.

The win assures Canada (3-0) at least second place in Pool A. The U.S. (2-0) is expected to beat Kazakhstan (0-2) on Tuesday, which would make Wednesday's final game between Canada and the Americans a battle for first place in the pool - and with it, a bye to the semifinal.

The runner-up faces the third-place team from Pool B in a quarter-final.

John Tavares of the Oshawa Generals had a goal and an assist, while Jamie Benn of the Kelowna Rockets and Evander Kane of the Vancouver Giants also scored for Canada. Windsor Spitfires defenceman Ryan Ellis added a pair of assists in front of 19,325 at Scotiabank Place.

David Wolf replied for the Germans (1-2).

Pickard, the first goaltender selected in the '08 NHL Entry Draft, earned his second start in as many days, stopping 23 of the 24 shots he's faced in the tournament. His only goal allowed was a power-play marker in the second period.

German goaltender Philipp Grubauer, who plays for the Belleville Bulls, made 44 saves on 49 shots.

Monday's other game saw Sweden improve to 3-0 in Pool B with a 10-1 thrashing of promoted Latvia. Russia (2-0) faces Slovakia (1-1) on Tuesday.

Germany earned promotion to this world championship by winning one of two world 'B' championships earlier this year. The Germans gave Canada their toughest test of the tournament so far.

After outscoring the opposition 23-1 in their first two games, the Canadians led just 2-1 going into the third period despite a 33-9 margin in shots on goal.

While the Germans couldn't match Canada's speed or skill, they were prepared to play a chippy game and get in Canada's face. The Canadians were often guilty of overpassing the puck or hanging onto it too long in the first two periods - a problem they rectified in the third.

Kane followed up Subban's effort to tuck a rebound past Grubauer at 1:04 of the period to extend Canada's lead to 3-1.

Tavares added to it on the power play at 11:25, sweeping a rebound past Grubauer's outstretched pad for his tournament-leading fifth goal.

Less than two minutes later, defenceman Denis Reul cranked Esposito into the boards. Esposito was slow to get up and Reul was given a boarding major and a game misconduct.

Boychuk, a veteran of Canada's team that won gold in 2008 and a Carolina Hurricanes prospect, scored his second of the game at 15:57 on the ensuing man advantage.

Canada's power play continues to hum. The host country scored four times on seven man-advantage chances Monday, which actually lowered its power-play percentage to 61 per cent for the tournament.

Seven Germans play hockey in North America, including six of them in the Canadian Hockey League. Grubauer is a teammate of Canadian defenceman P.K. Subban in Belleville. Forward Toni Ritter plays for the Montreal Junior with Canadian winger Angelo Esposito.

Despite outshooting the Germans 15-4 in the opening period, Canada put the puck past Grubauer only once. Boychuk darted in from the wing and wired a shot from close range upstairs on Grubauer.

Benn made it 2-0 on a five-on-three at 5:57. The German defence sagged around their net and the Dallas Stars draft pick took advantage of the traffic to beat Grubauer with a wrist shot for his fourth of the tournament.

Wolf halved the deficit for Germany at 8:40 of the second period. He tipped a shot from the blue-line through Pickard's pads for the first power-play goal Canada gave up in the tournament.

Patrice Cormier drilled defenceman Florian Miller into the boards just over a minute into the game. Miller went immediately to the dressing room.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper is scheduled to make an appearance at Canada's practice Tuesday.

Notes: Canada is 10-0 all-time versus Germany in the world junior championship and 12-1 against the former West Germany . . . Canada's jerseys from Monday's game will be sold on eBay to raise money for the Hockey Canada Foundation, which supports grassroots hockey . . . All proceeds from the sale of game-worn items will go to the Hockey Canada Foundation, to assist in the promotion of the game at the grassroots level . . . Former NHLer Uwe Krupp is an assistant coach of the Germans . . . Ottawa 67's coach Brian Kilrea was honoured after the first period. The Ottawa native is in his 31st season behind the 67's bench, but plans to step aside next year and concentrate on his general manager's duties.


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