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Ritchie scores four to lead Canada over host Slovakia at Hlinka Gretzky Cup

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TRENČÍN, Slovakia — Ryder Ritchie scored a hat trick and had two assists for Canada's men's under-18 hockey team in a 14-4 over co-host Slovakia at the Hlinka Gretzky Cup on Tuesday.

Canada, which lost 9-6 to Finland on Monday, scored three unanswered goals to start the game.

Although Slovakia responded by scoring twice, the Canadians pulled ahead to lead 8-3 by the end of the second period. Canada then outscored Slovakia 6-1 in the third.

"I thought the guys were really focused, which I expected coming off our last game," said Canadian head coach Alan Letang. "Nobody is happy with how our effort turned out (against Finland) and I knew we would come back with a bounce-back game."

Michael Misa posted a six-point game for Canada with two goals and four assists. Team captain Berkly Catton and Roger McQueen each contributed a pair of goals.

Cayden Lindstrom, Justin Poirier, Carson Wetsch, Maxim Masse and Porter Martone scored Canada's other goals. Goalie Carter George made 15 saves in Canada's net.

"My linemates made great plays on all of my goals tonight," Ritchie said. "It was a group effort tonight and a big bounce-back game, so I am happy with how we played.

"We were hard offensively tonight, we played quick, simple hockey and if we can do that again tomorrow, I like our chances. I am confident in our group.”

Canada faces Switzerland on Wednesday.

In other Tuesday games, the United States beat Sweden 6-1, the Swiss defeated Finland 3-1 and Czechia topped Germany 6-2.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 1, 2023.