TRENTINO, Italy – UPEI Panthers goaltender Wayne Savage stopped 15 shots in Team Canada’s 12-1 win over Japan in its tournament opener at the 26th Winter Universiade on Tuesday night.
Nick MacNeil scored four goals and Mike Cazzola tallied six points to lead the Canadians offensively.
Team Canada, comprised entirely of all-stars from the Atlantic University Sport (AUS) conference, now enjoys a two-day break before facing Ukraine in its second of three Pool A contests. Canada will then wrap up the preliminary round on Sunday against Kazakhstan, a nation they beat 3-1 two years ago in the bronze-medal match.
“The group was ready to play in the first period, and it was a little bit like Christmas,” assessed Team Canada head coach and Bedeque native Gardiner MacDougall, who has led UNB to four CIS titles in the past seven years and who was an assistant coach with the Universiade gold medal-winning team in 2007. “We played the first two periods like men, but were boys at Christmas time.
“I think we got away from our game a little bit in the second, but got it back in the third. We have an opportunity for two good practices now, and get ready for our second game in a few days.”
5-1 after first period
MacNeil, a native of Creignish, N.S., and Culligan’s teammate with the reigning University Cup-champion UNB Varsity Reds, had completed his hat trick by the time the first period was over as Canada went back to the locker room up 5-1. The fourth-year forward then notched the lone goal of the second frame, and added an assist in the third to finish with five points.
Cazzola, an Acadia forward who hails from Guelph, Ont., scored Canada’s fourth marker in the opening stanza and assisted on three of MacNeil’s goals.
Cory Tanaka of Saint Mary’s and Éric Faille of Moncton each contributed a pair, while St. Francis Xavier’s Michael Kirkpatrick, Saint Mary’s Lucas Bloodoff and Dalhousie’s Pierre Vandall had singles.
Canada outshot its rivals 22-4 in the first, 13-6 in the second and 23-6 in the third for an overall advantage of 58-16.