Ritchie scores four goals as part of Canada’s 14-4 win over Slovakia
Team Canada picked up their first win of the 2023 Hlinka Gretzky Cup on Tuesday, beating Slovakia 14-4. Ryder Ritchie played a huge role offensively for the Canadians, scoring four goals and adding an assist in the victory.
Berkly Catton got the Canadians on the board just 26 seconds into the game. After Michael Misa hit the post on an original scoring chance, Catton jumped on the rebound and buried his second goal of the tournament, giving Canada the early 1-0 lead.
At the 9:33 mark of the opening frame, Ritchie doubled Canada’s lead with an impressive solo effort. After battling three Slovakian players along the boards, Ritchie dug out a loose puck and worked in on goal. His first shot attempt was blocked, but he followed up and circled around the net with the puck and buried a wraparound goal, giving Canada a 2-0 lead midway through the opening 20 minutes. Their two goal lead lasted the remainder of the first period, as they headed to intermission with the two goal edge.
After hitting the post in the first period, Misa scored his first of two goals in the second period just 2:07 in. However, Slovakia brought themselves right back into the game, scoring two goals less than two minutes apart to make it a 3-2 game.
Despite facing the recent pressure in their own end, Canada scored just 15 second after the Slovaks made it a one goal game. Catton found his second goal of the game, giving the Canadians a 4-2 lead with his third goal of the tournament. Misa added another goal of his own later in the middle frame to give Canada a 5-2 lead, collecting his fourth point of the game while doing so.
Cayden Lindstrom extended the lead even further with 7:35 left in the second period. The Medicine Hat Tigers forward scored to give Canada a 6-2 lead, which led to a goaltending change on the Slovakian side. With 6:10 remaining in the second, Justin Poirier made it a 7-2 Canadian lead. With 4:42 left in the second, Slovakia responded, as Adam Belusko scored from the point to make it a 7-3 game.
Ritchie wasn’t content on scoring one goal, so he went out and scored another in the late stages of the second. In an odd man rush for Canada, Ritchie sniped a one timer for his second goal of the contest, giving Canada a commanding 8-3 lead.
Canada scored twice in the opening 36 seconds of the third period to take a 10-3 lead. The latter of the two goals came courtesy of Ryder Ritchie, who let go a patented snipe from the right circle. The 16-year-old WHL Rookie of the Year completed the hat trick with the goal.
After Canada went up 11-3, fans in the arena were entertained by Slovakian forward Tomas Pobezal, who scored a Michigan goal to make it an 11-4 game. Maxim Masse answered right back for Canada to make it a 12-4 Canadian lead.
On a Canadian powerplay, Ritchie scored goal number four on the night. Taking a cross ice pass, Ritchie one timed a shot from his off wing near the right circle to make it a 13-4 game. The shot looked like it got deflected by Roger McQueen on the way in, but Ritchie was credited with his fourth goal of the game, giving him five points in the contest.
Canada added another goal with 30 seconds left in the third period to take the game by a 14-4 final. They are back in action tomorrow morning against Switzerland. Puck drop is 7:30am Sask time.
Kubiesa Scores as Czechia Remains Undefeated
Matej Kubiesa picked up his second goal of the Hlinka Gretzky Cup on Tuesday, as Czechia improved to 2-0 with a 6-2 win over Germany. The second round pick of the 2023 CHL Import Draft selection by the Raiders has goals in back to back games. His first goal of the tournament came as part of Czechia’s 7-2 win over USA on Monday.
Czechia has a chance to go undefeated through round robin play tomorrow, as they wrap up group play against Sweden.