EDMONTON — With a resounding win on opening night already in the books at the Hlinka Gretzky Cup, the Canadians expected a tougher test against Slovakia at Rogers Place on Tuesday.
They got it, and then some, on the way to a 4-2 victory.
Goals by captain Alexis Lafreniere of the Rimouski Oceanic, Dylan Holloway of the AJHL's Okotoks Oilers, Graeme Clarke of the Ottawa 67's and Josh Williams of the Medicine Hat Tigers were the difference as Canada improved to 2-0 in Pool A.
Canada went from running up a double-digit decision in a 10-0 romp over Switzerland Monday to relative a nail-biter in the span of 24 hours against a Slovakian team that battled them in front of goaltender David Borak, who made 54 saves.
While the Canadians were up by three goals in the first 15 minutes against the Swiss and never looked back on Monday, they found themselves in a scoreless tie through 20 minutes in this one.
Borak had a hand in that, stopping all 13 shots he faced. So did a string of three minor penalties taken by the Canadians in the first 12 minutes.
Lafreniere got things started just over a minute into the second period, snapping a high shot behind Borak. Holloway made it 2-0 in the final four minutes of the period. All told, Canada fired 23 shots at Borak. When Clarke made it 3-0 early in the third on a power play it seemed the Slovaks might fade, but it didn't happen.
Andrej Golian and Artur Turansky, on a power play, put pucks behind Taylor Gauthier four minutes apart to cut it to 3-2 and it was game on with more than 10 minutes to play. William ended any drama, lifting a puck up and over Borak to make it 4-2 with just under eight minutes to play.
Canada continues preliminary-round play in Pool A against Team Sweden (2-0-0) at Rogers Place Wednesday.