Team Canada goaltender Zach Fucale makes a save during a practice session in Montreal

Team Canada goaltender Zach Fucale makes a save during a practice session in Montreal

McDavid scores as Canada tops Germany 4-0

McDavid, Lazar score as Canada downs tenacious Germany 4-0 at world juniors

By Bill Beacon, The Canadian Press

MONTREAL – Of course, everyone knew that Connor McDavid’s so-called scoring “drought” wasn’t going to last.

The player tabbed by many to go first overall in the NHL draft in June broke out with a goal and two assists as Canada downed a surprisingly stubborn Germany 4-0 on Saturday at the world junior championship.

The 17-year-old McDavid had been held without a point in Canada’s tournament-opening 8-0 drubbing of Slovakia the night before, but any talk of a slump was put to rest when he scored on a power play only 4:11 into the game.

“It’s exciting, I haven’t scored in a long time,” said McDavid, who got his first goal in a real game since he broke his right hand in a fight during a game on Nov. 11. “I missed a whole bunch of games.

“Scoring goals is fun, so it was nice. There wasn’t a whole lot of difference (from the Slovakia game) other than that the puck was going in. You guys (the media) might have thought I played a terrible game, but in reality, I had my share of chances. That’s just the way it goes sometimes.”

His linemate, Ottawa Senators winger Curtis Lazar, also got his first goal of the tournament.

“I know for Connor and myself, it’s nice to contribute,” said Lazar. “After his goal, he was still quite serious.

“I told him to relax and smile a bit. We’re playing the game we love. I’m happy for him. He works so hard and he’s such an intense, dedicated athlete, so it’s good to get that monkey off his back.”

Max Domi and Madison Bowey also scored, while centre Nic Petan picked up three assists to take over the tournament scoring lead with six points in two games. Canada went 3 for 4 on the power play.

Eric Comrie made 17 saves, while Canada had 31 shots on Kevin Reich. Canada has yet to concede a goal, as Zach Fucale got the shutout against Slovakia.

Some cringed when McDavid banged his hand on the glass during his goal celebration. Lazar said he may have been sending a message that his hand is fine, but McDavid said he was “just kind of in the moment. It’s fun to celebrate with the fans. There were some fans there, so.”

The announced crowd was 12,733, well short of the Bell Centre’s 21,000-plus capacity. The Slovakia game had drawn only 14,142 on Friday night as fans apparently balked at high ticket prices for group stage games.

Those who turned out saw Canada have a tougher than expected time against a German team that has no NHL-drafted players. Germany’s best junior-age player, Leon Draisaitl, was not loaned by the Edmonton Oilers for the tournament.

They were a much tougher opponent than the Slovaks, who seemed to roll over as soon as they fell behind. After some earlier Canadian dominance, Germany backchecked hard, forechecked hard, clogged the middle of the ice and forced the home side to work for its chances.

The Germans held Canada without a shot for over 12 minutes while outshooting them 10-6 in the second frame.

“They definitely took it to us,” said Bowey. “It was good for us.

“It was good competition and it was a high pace game. Especially for us defencemen, we had to get back hard and be on our toes. It was good to get a game like that in.”

It was Germany’s first action of the tournament.

“First game, against Team Canada, we were all nervous,” said German defenceman Tim Bender. “In the second period, we just kept going and tried to create pressure.

“I think we dominated the second period. But it’s such a special experience playing Canada in Canada. We just wanted to have some fun and I think we had that.”

McDavid got Canada started when he had a pass across the crease blocked, but picked up the loose puck and stuffed it past Reich.

On another man advantage at 12:42, McDavid set up Lazar alone in front to score on a one-timer.

A few seconds after Reich made a spectacular glove save on a Jake Virtanen shot from the slot, Domi fed Sam Reinhart and then found an open spot on the doorstep to slip in the return pass 9:14 into the third period.

Bowey scored his second in as many games from the left side on a man advantage at 15:44.

Germany’s best chance came on a second period power play when Marc Michaelis took advantage of a line change to take a pass at the Canadian blue-line and go in alone, but failed to find an opening between Comrie’s pads.

Petan called Comrie’s save “a game-changer.”

Notes — Canada is 13-0 against Germany at the world juniors, including a 7-2 win at last year’s event in Malmo, Sweden. Canada is 189-54-24 all-time at the tournament. . . Canada’s next game is Monday against Finland, which was upset 2-1 by Slovakia earlier Saturday. . . Domi led Canada with five shots on goal.

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