Canada's players didn't have much of a challenge on their hands in their opening game of the preliminary round at the World Junior Hockey Championship, beating Latvia 5-2 , Wednesday night at Rogers Place.
The host team picked up where they left off eight months ago, when the event had to be canceled after a few meetings due to the COVID-19 pandemic. A few newcomers are donning the maple leaf this time.
Seventeen-year-old prodigy Connor Bedard broke the ice in the first period, 7:31 after the whistle to kick off the kickoff . Entering the territory, the product of the Regina Pats brought the disc towards him to get rid of his cover before taking a veiled shot that got the better of goalkeeper Patriks Berzins.
Canada was dominant offensively, directing no less than 43 pucks on the Latvian cage, against 24 for the latter. Lukas Cormier and Olen Zellweger added the lead in the second period, each time with the power play.
Ottawa Senators prospect Ridly Greig scored the team's fourth goal beating a a single hand on a breakaway the opposing goalkeeper. Helped by the latter, Quebecer William Dufour confirmed the Canadian victory with 5 min 16 s to go.
Despite their status as underdogs, the Latvians did not give up. Rainers Darzins tied the game 1-1 in the first period and Bogdans Hodass also scored on the third, just four seconds into a power play.
Canadians second in Pool A , will face Slovakia on Thursday.