Canada would score nine goals on 50 shots on Thursday, beating Belarus 9-0 to advance to the semi-finals on Saturday.
It took Canada just 27 seconds to find the back of the net. On the first good scoring chance of the contest, Sidney Crosby made a solid pass from the corner to find Brent Burns, who was streaking right into the offensive zone before roofing it over Kevin LaLande for the 1-0 goal.
After eight minutes of action, Canada would once again see themselves finding the back of the net. Tyson Barrie created the play this time, heading into the zone before getting the puck to Tyler Ennis in front, breaking past two unsuspecting Belarussian defenseman before roofing it over LaLande’s blocker for the 2-0 goal.
Belarus was counting on LaLande to really steal the show for them. A Canadian born goaltender, LaLande has been one of the better goaltenders in this tournament, so another huge performance would be needed in the game today. His first really big moment came at 7:30 of the first, getting across in time to make a huge pad save on Claude Giroux. The save wouldn’t help his team too much, however, as a Burns shot would get tipped by Ryan O’Reilly in front of the net for the 3-0 goal, a goal that deflated Belarus’ hopes.
Before the period was over, the Canadians would get a power-play goal. Jason Spezza would take over the tournament scoring lead with his 12th of the tournament after getting the puck to Tyler Seguin, who scored on a wicked slap shot thanks to a Taylor Hall screen in front. For NHL fans, the Seguin/Hall power-play duo may sound very strange, as the pair were the big headliners at the 2010 NHL Entry Draft which created a ton of buzz all season long.
Seguin’s seventh goal of the tournament would help set the tone in the second period. With just three minutes off the clock in the second, Seguin took a pass from the corner before fanning on the shot, somehow getting it under LaLande’s right pad for the 5-0 goal.
Canada’s dominance was as evident as ever, and after a huge slap shot goal by Burns at the point, it showed how Canada was able to take full control in the offensive zone. After two periods of play, Canada had 39-16 shot advantage, with LaLande making 33 saves for the Belarussians. At the other end, Mike Smith stopped all 16 chances that came his way, but very of the shots actually were threatening by the time they reached the Arizona Coyotes netminder.
With Belarus unable to find a way to put a puck past Smith, Seguin decided to go the other way and make it 3-0. Unlike his first goal, it wasn’t a pretty one, skating right to the net and tipping it over LaLande’s shoulder for the 7-0 goal, giving him the hat-trick in the process. His Dallas teammate, Spezza, would add to his scoring lead after tricking the Belarussian defenseman in front of the net, firing the puck in the net after a slap shot over the glove of LaLande. Canada wasn’t able to get to ten goals in the game, but their 9-0 victory was more than enough as Canada would take the easy win on Thursday.
With the victory, Canada will reach the semi-finals for the first time since 2009. Their opponent for Saturday will be determined later in the day, with the victor of the Czech Republic/Finland game moving on to the next round.
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