Canadians triumph again
Canadians triumph again
First goal for Hungary vs. Canada in 78 years
The defending champions showcased their balanced attack. Michael Matheson led the way with a goal and two assists. Mark Scheifele, Mark Stone, Derick Brassard, and Taylor Hall had a goal and an assist apiece. Captain Corey Perry and Brad Marchand added singles.
"We have to get a little bit better every period, every game," said Perry. "I thought we did that in the second and third."
Budding superstar Connor McDavid, a Calder Trophy finalist with the Edmonton Oilers, picked up his first two World Championship points, both assists.
Istvan Bartalis replied for Hungary.
"I won't focus on the result," said Hungarian head coach Rich Chernomaz. "It is not so important for us. I was pleased with our overall play, especially in the first period, when we played aggressively."
Goalie Calvin Pickard won his IIHF World Championship debut for Canada, which outshot Hungary 36-22. The Canadians, who defeated the U.S. 5-1 in their opener, have outscored their opposition 12-2 through two games in Group B.
It was the fourth all-time World Championship meeting between these two countries. For Hungary, it was an improvement over their only previous modern-day encounter, a 9-0 loss on April 26, 2009 in Switzerland. Hungary fell 3-1 to Canada in 1933 and earned a 1-1 tie in 1938.
The Canadians were the favorites, but the Magyars were the crowd favorites at Yubileiny, with a massive bloc of chanting, clapping, drum-beating fans behind their team’s net for two periods.
"The Hungarian fans are crazy," said Perry. "They stayed with them the whole game."
As in the 4-1 loss to Slovakia, the Hungarians came out with a spirited effort. But they simply made too many mistakes against the skilled NHL stars.
Despite the victory, Canada also made some defensive errors, which could have proved costly against higher-caliber opposition, and will need to be corrected.
"Our special teams keep getting better and we’re tightening up defensively," said Hall. "It’s never going to be a perfect game, but we keep improving, and I like where our team is at."
Hungary got the first penalty when defenceman Kevin Wehrs, a naturalized Canadian, hooked Hall as he barreled to the net with a backhand. The Canadians capitalized with the man advantage at 5:54 on a nice passing play. McDavid fed the puck down to Stone, who centered it from behind the goal line to Scheifele, and he beat Hungarian starter Zoltan Hetenyi on the glove side.
At 10:04, Perry made it 2-0. Hall swooped in from left wing and handed him a nifty backhand feed that the Canadian captain tapped in at the side of the net.
"I’m having fun with my linemates," said Hall. "We have some good chemistry."
The Hungarian fans erupted when Istvan Bartalis cut the deficit to 2-1 at 18:14. Istvan Sofron’s forechecking caused defenceman Matt Dumba to cough up the puck, and Bartalis surprised Pickard with a high blocker-side shot from the faceoff circle. It was the first World Championship goal Hungary has scored on Canada in more than 78 years.
"They played really well in the first, trapping us in the neutral zone, waiting for us to force plays into the middle," Matheson said of the Hungarians.
Scrambly Canadian defence nearly led to the equalizer at the start of the second period. However, coach Bill Peters’ squad recovered, jumping into a 3-1 lead at 7:12. Stone jammed in the rebound from Cody Ceci’s center point drive.
Marchand notched the back-breaking 4-1 goal at 9:05 on a beautiful set-up by McDavid, who used his speed to surge past the Hungarian defenders and then backhanded the puck to his Boston Bruins linemate right in front.
At 11:36, it was 5-1 as Chris Tanev found an unguarded Brassard in front, and he whacked his second attempt past a sprawling Hetenyi.
Just over a minute later, Matheson got his first of the tournament, beating Hetenyi with a high shot from the faceoff dot. Matheson, a 22-year-old Florida Panthers prospect on defence, is the only Canadian player who spent most of this season in the AHL (Portland Pirates). After the goal, Chernomaz pulled Hetenyi in favor of backup Adam Vay.
"I thought we were able to adjust in the second period, and we capitalized on our opportunities," said Matheson.
In the third period, Hall stretched Canada's lead to 7-1 at 4:35, cutting in from the left side to slide the puck off a falling Hungarian defender and through Vay's legs. At the final buzzer, the 24-year-old Pickard scooped the puck up as a memento of his first victory.
Canada's next game is Monday versus Belarus. Hungary takes on France on Tuesday.
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