It took the Canadians a while to get their legs under them, but when they finally did the Belarussians were no match for Canada’s quick strike offence.
Canada looked to be in a lull throughout the first period – the team was coming off a noon local time start the day before – but the second period was an entirely different story. Offence wasn’t a problem as the team struck for four goals on 16 shots in the frame, chasing Belarussian starter Kevin Lalande from the game.
It was the great offence, and some heady defence from Canada, that teamed up to net Canada its first goal of the second period. With the game still just 1-0 after a first period goal from Derick Brassard, Belarus broke in on an odd-man rush looking to tie the game.
Ryan Murray had other ideas, however, making a terrific play to break up a dangerous pass and then sending Corey Perry in on a partial break that he would capitalize on to make the score 2-0. Canada was also the beneficiary of some dumb luck when, on a shorthanded odd-man rush, a Boone Jenner pass deflected off Ryan O’Reilly’s skate and past Lalande.
The Belarussian netminder would not be given the rest of the game off just yet, having to stick around for two more Canada goals – one from Matt Duchene, another courtesy of Taylor Hall that was set up by some dazzling stick work from 19-year-old wunderkind Connor McDavid – before being relieved by Dmitri Milchakov.
It was more of the same in the third as O’Reilly scored his second of two lucky goals, this time when his pass deflected off a skate in front of the net and in. Canada would add two more goals – Mark Stone finishing off a tap-in at the side of the net, as well as another goal from Michael Matheson (his fourth point of the tournament) – to make it an 8-0 final.
The win atones for what was, despite some deceptive shot totals, a good first period for Belarus and a comparatively sloppy one for Canada. While the Canadians struggled to create any kind of flow in their game, the Belarussians were able to maintain zone time and generate some quality chances, forcing Canadian goalie Cam Talbot to have to be sharp early on.
Fortunately for Canada he was up to the task, recording his second win after he stopped 24 of 25 shots against the United States in a 5-1 tournament opening victory. The win moves Canada into first place in Group B heading into its next game against Germany on May 12 at 1:15 EST.