Canada topples Germany with convincing win in Olympic hockey opener

Feb 10 2022, 3:32 pm

Canada is off to a strong start in its quest for gold in men’s hockey at the 2022 Beijing Olympics.

Canada topped Germany 5-1 in their opening group stage match Thursday.

Germany bested Canada in semifinal action at the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics before eventually finishing with silver. 

Former Calgary Flames forward Ben Street had a goal and an assist, and Kent Johnson and Eric O’Dell each had two assists for Canada, who will play Team USA at 11:10 pm ET/8:10 pm PT on Friday. Canada goalie Eddie Pasquale finished with 15 saves.

Mathias Niederberger made 15 saves in the losing effort for Germany.

It didn’t take Canada long to get their Olympic journey going.

Alex Grant put the Canadians on the board with the team’s first goal of the tournament. 

After O’Dell crunched Marco Nowak below the goal line on the forecheck, Street and Johnson worked the puck back to the point for Grant, who beat Niederberger with a wrist shot to the blocker to put Canada up 1-0 at 15:17. 

Street put Canada up 2-0 at 10:13 with a quick snap shot by Niederberger from just inside the face-off circle. Johnson, selected with the No. 5 pick in the 2021 NHL Draft by the Columbus Blue Jackets, earned his second assist on the play.

Daniel Winnik, whose NHL stops included stints with the Toronto Maple Leafs in 2014-15 and 2015-16, extended the lead to 3-0 just 32 seconds later when he converted on a cross-body one-timer on a 2-on-1 at 9:41. 

Germany cut the lead to 3-1 at 10:45 of the second period via former Flames and Edmonton Oilers forward Tobias Rieder, but Canada restored the three-goal lead just 2:13 later when Maxim Noreau beat Niederberger with an uncontested slap shot by the blocker on the power play.

Jordan Weal, who spent parts of two seasons with the Montreal Canadiens from 2018 to 2020, made it 5-1 at 11:22 of the third period after firing a shot over Niederberger’s blocker after taking a centring pass from Adam Tambellini. 

In all, 12 different Canadians hit the scoresheet in the convincing win.

Jeremy Colliton coached Canada in the win.

Claude Julien, who stepped away from the team after sustaining an injury during training camp, will resume coaching duties against Team USA on Saturday.

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