Taylor Raddysh scored four goals and Matt Barzal chipped in with a pair as Canada dumped Latvia 10-2 on Thursday night to remain unbeaten at the world junior hockey championship.
Captain Dylan Strome had four assists as Canada improved its preliminary round record to 3-0-0. Latvia, which has been outscored 25-4 in the tournament, fell to 0-3-0.
The victory moved Canada into a first-place tie with the United States in Group B. The Americans, who edged Russia 3-2 earlier in the day, will meet the host team in a New Year’s Eve showdown at Air Canada Centre.
Latvia played at a good pace in the early going and actually outshot Canada 10-9 in the opening period.
Barzal woke up the quiet Toronto crowd at 10:38 with a short-handed goal. He sped past two Latvian players at the blue line and flipped the puck over the outstretched pad of Latvian netminder Mareks Mitens.
Canada made it 2-0 just over a minute later as Nicolas Roy tipped in a blast from Philippe Myers at the point.
Raddysh added a power-play goal with 20 seconds left in the period. He took a slick feed from Thomas Chabot and fired the puck under the crossbar.
Goaltender Carter Hart, who helped Canada to a 5-3 win over Russia on Boxing Day, returned to the net after Connor Ingram posted a six-save shutout in a 5-0 win over Slovakia on Tuesday.
Hart was steady when called upon but the shots were infrequent and usually of middling quality. He wasn’t really tested until early in the second period when he made a nice glove save on a Martins Dzierkals snapshot from in close.
Raddysh scored again with the man advantage at 9:11 of the second period. Mitens was pulled moments later and his replacement, Gustavs Grigals, seemed overwhelmed by the stiff Canadian attack.
Raddysh deflected a shot for the hat trick at 12:13 before Canada tacked on three more goals in a span of two minutes 43 seconds.
Barzal, Anthony Cirelli and Michael McLeod all scored at even strength to turn the game into a laugher. Renars Krastenbergs put Latvia on the board at 17:58 to end Hart’s shutout bid.
Raddysh deflected a point shot at 2:07 of the third period for his fourth goal of the night. Dzierkals scored Latvia’s other goal on a nice deke at 7:59.
Julien Gauthier closed out the Canadian scoring at 18:05. Canada outshot Latvia 35-25 overall.
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