Brayden Schenn's domination at the world junior championship continued on Wednesday, as the Saskatoon native scored four goals and added an assist to power Canada to a 10-1 victory over Norway.
New York Islanders prospect Casey Cizikas got the Canadians on the board first, scoring the game's opening goal just over two minutes after puck drop. Forward Brett Connolly scooped up a giveaway in the Norwegian zone and fed the puck to Cizikas, who recorded his first goal of the tournament.
Just under three minutes later, Schenn took a pass from Ryan Johansen and beat netminder Steffen Soberg for his first of the night.
"Brayden's really hot for us," said captain Ryan Ellis. "He's shooting everything. Good for him."
Defenceman Erik Gudbranson scored twice, while Louis Leblanc, Sean Couturier and Marcus Foligno also found the back of the net for Canada. Gudbranson's two were his second and third goals of the tournament, the same total he has with the OHL's Kingston Frontenacs. And while the flood of offense feels food, the 18-year-old said his overall performance is most important.
''To step up that way is obviously nice, but I've also been happy with my defensive play,'' Gudbranson said. ''I've been physical and I can't say enough about the team supporting me.''
Leblanc's goal give Canada a commanding 4-0 lead before Norway's Rasmus Juell got his side on the board with a slow roller to beat Mark Visentin. Less than one minute later, Schenn added his second of the game before Foligno muscled his way across the ice and snapped one past Lars Volden, who replaced Soberg after the fifth goal.
Schenn showed his mastery again in the second period, beating Volden just 44 seconds into the frame to record the hat trick. The feat was last accomplished in 2009 when Edmonton Oilers rookie Taylor Hall netted three against Slovakia. And with assists on two of Schenn's goals, Ellis set a new standard for blueliners at the tournament, passing Reijo Ruotsalainen for most career points by a defenceman.
''The kid's been playing fantastic for us,'' Gudbranson said of Schenn. ''He's been leading the squad not only on the scoresheet but he's been playing well and doing the little things right defensively and he's been great in the room as well.''
Schenn didn't stop at three, scoring his fourth goal of the contest with less than three minutes to play. The goal tied Mario Lemieux and Simon Gagne for most scored in the tournament; Lemieux netting four against Norway in 1983 and Gagne doing it against Kazakhstan in 1999.
''That's not bad company (to be in),'' Schenn said after the game. ''It was nice to score, but my teammates were there to set me up tonight and full credit to them.''
Couturier scored another goal for Canada 17 second later before Gudbranson added his second of the night.
Although the score was lopsided, the Norwegians kept Visentin busy throughout the night. The Waterdown, ON, naitive faced 32 shots to Canada's 43 on Soberg and Volden, albeit, most of Norway's shots were from far out.
Canada (3-0) took another step towards first place in Group B and a semifinal bye. They have nine points and sit in the top spot of their group, one win more than Sweden who play the Czech Republic on Thursday. Should Sweden win their next game, their head-to-head battle with Canada on Friday will decide the group winner. The winner of the group will advance directly to Monday's semi-final round, while the second and third-place finishers in the group will have to play a quarterfinal game on Sunday.
Norway (0-3) is making its first appearance in the tournament since 2006 and has lost 15 straight games at the event. The Canadians have never lost to Norway, going 7-0 and outscoring them 60-7.
Canada was without forward Zack Kassian, who was suspended for two games after receiving a match penalty for his hit to the head and neck of Czech defenceman Petr Senkerik. Kassian will also miss Friday's key matchup versus Sweden.
Defenceman Calvin de Haan and and forward Jaden Schwartz were also out of the lineup. De Haan left Tuesday's game against the Czech Republic early in the second period with an apparent leg injury. He limped to the bench and did not return to the game. Schwartz appeared to suffer a lower-body injury in the first period of the same contest, but remained in the game and scored a goal.
"It was tough," defenceman Ryan Ellis said. "We were short a few bodies but everyone played well and we accomplished what we wanted."
Swift Current Broncos forward Cody Eakin was also a last-minute scratch for precautionary reasons. He injured his right hand against the Czech Republic on Monday and thought he'd be good to go for tonight's game, but tweaked the injury in warm-up. His status for Friday's game against Sweden is unknown.
Earlier in the day, Finland defeated Germany 5-1 in Group A action. Finland leads the group with seven points in three games, posting two regulation wins after losing its tournament opener to the United States in a shootout. Finland can finish no worse than third in the group, and is guaranteed at least a quarter-final spot.
Friday's Canada versus Sweden match-up will be available on TSN, TSN.ca and TSN Mobile apps at 3:30pm et/12:30 pm pt.