Nugent-Hopkins powers Canada past Germany at World Juniors

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TSN.ca Staff
12/26/2012 10:23:33 PM
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Ryan Nugent-Hopkins led the way with five points and 17-year-old Jonathan Drouin had a goal and an assist as Canada defeated Germany 9-3 in their opening game at the World Junior Hockey Championship.

Nugent-Hopkins, who is finally in the tournament two years after being cut by the 2011 squad, assisted on a power play marker by defenceman Xavier Ouellet at the 3:02 mark of the opening frame before scoring his first goal of the tournament six minutes later.

"We have such a skilled team up front and in the back end and it was good to see us come together like that," Nugent-Hopkins told TSN.

Tobias Rieder replied for the Germans with 30 seconds left in the first to cut Canada's lead in half to 2-1.

With Germany on the power play early in the second period, Nugent-Hopkins went to work again - assisting on Mark Scheifele's shorthanded goal off a 2-on-1 rush. Jonathan Huberdeau, Ty Rattie and Ryan Strome then padded the lead to 6-1.

Leo Pfoderl, who assisted on Rieder's goal in the first, scored Germany's second goal at 16:22 and Sarnia Sting forward Nikolas Latta made it 6-3.

But Nugent-Hopkins then turned on the offence once more with an assist on Scheifele's second goal of the game. The top line of Nugent-Hopkins, Huberdeau and Scheifele delivered as advertised on the scoreboard, combining for four goals and 10 points.

"We felt like we knew where we were on the ice," said Nugent-Hopkins. "I liked the chemistry we had and we want to keep that going forward."

Drouin, whose status was up in the air after suffering a mild charleyhorse injury during practice on Christmas Day, made it 8-3 in the third period with his first goal and second point of the tournament. Tyler Wotherspoon scored Canada's ninth goal of the game with three minutes left in the game.

"Last night the doctors put (Drouin) through some vigorous exercise and when he was doing sprints I felt a lot better," Canadian coach Steve Spott told TSN. "Those are tough. Anyone whose had a charley horse knows how painful they can be."

Spott said fans should get used to watching the draft-eligible Drouin compete like he did against the Germans.

"He's everything as advertised. He's a special hockey player and, the thing I like about his game is, he's responsible in our own end and he's so dynamic offensively - so he's everything I was hoping he'd be."

Elmar Trautmann made 37 saves on 46 shots in Germany's net.

Rieder, who plays for Spott and with Canadian defenceman Ryan Murphy on the Kitchener Rangers, said his team was less disappointed with the result and more pleased to score three goals against Canada.

"It was pretty special playing against Steve Spott, Canada's coach," Rieder said. "I think we played really well the first period, but the second and third period, you just saw that Team Canada is a better hockey team."

Malcolm Subban got the start in goal for Canada and made 25 saves for the victory. "Malcolm was good and he'll be going again in Game 2," Spott confirmed to TSN after the game.

Subban, who had a shaky start in a 3-2 exhibition loss to Finland last Thursday, was in a pre-tournament battle with Jordan Binnington for the No. 1 job. "It was tough," Spott said of the decision to go with Subban. "The deciding factor was the experience and he's played over here before this summer."

With the win, Canada has won 14th straight World Junior tournament openers. Canada's next game is against Slovakia, Friday on TSN and TSN.ca at 4am et/1am pt. 



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