O Captain, My Captain: Doan leads Canada past Belarus
By Lucas Aykroyd
KHODYNKA--Canadian captain Shane Doan's actions spoke louder than words on Friday afternoon in Moscow, as he led his team to a 6-3 win over Belarus with a natural hat trick in a span of 6:35 in the second period. His goals came shorthanded, on the power play, and at even strength. The win leaves Canada atop Group F with nine points.
"It was a game we needed to win," Doan said.
"It shows you the level of professional [Doan] is, by shelving everything that was going on and going out and leading us by example tonight," said Canadian forward Mike Cammalleri, alluding to the recent controversy in the Canadian Parliament about Doan's appointment as team captain. "We have a live feed of the Canadian media at our hotel, so we've been aware of what's going on."
"He's one of those guys who comes through when there's pressure and criticism," said Jonathan Toews. "He's proved that he's a real leader in our locker room."
"That's what a captain's supposed to do," said Head Coach Andy Murray.
Belarus, which has never beaten Canada at the Worlds, remains pointless in last place in the Qualifying Round group.
Canada got off to a shaky start but asserted its dominance over time, outshooting Belarus 40-21.
Toews and Matthew Lombardi added a goal and an assist apiece, Cammalleri scored once, and Rick Nash had a pair of helpers.
Nash did not play in the third period due to the stomach flu, but said afterwards that he was feeling better.
For Belarus, Dmitry Meleshko scored a goal and an assist, Aleksei Ugarov and Aleksandr Ryadinsky chipped in singles, and Oleg Antonenko had two assists.
Cam Ward made 18 saves in goal for Canada, while Stepan Goryachevskikh, appearing in his first-ever World Championship game for Belarus, recorded 34 saves.
Next up for Canada is the Czech Republic on May 6, while Belarus faces Slovakia that day.
Canada established an early edge in shots on goal, but faced the game's first real adversity when Belarus got an extended two-man advantage. The Belarusians capitalized, opening the scoring at 8:43 when Aleksei Ugarov picked up the rebound from Oleg Antonenko's center point shot and barely snuck it in past Ward's outstretched right leg. The goal was video-reviewed and deemed good.
During a mid-period Canadian power play, Toews put a close-in shot off Goryachevskikh's left post, and the Belarusian goalie foiled Nash several times from in tight. Next, Antonenko attempted to give Belarus a two-goal lead with a quick wrister from near the hash marks, but Ward picked it off with his glove.
Shortly after the one-minute mark of the second period, Jason Chimera broke in off the left side and got a breakaway, but Goryachevskikh pokechecked him before he could get off a shot, and the Canadian forward took a slashing penalty after the whistle. However, Canada tied the game while shorthanded, as Nash burst down right wing to grab a loose puck in the neutral zone and fed Doan perfectly for a 2-on-1 one-timer at 2:38.
"That first goal set the tone in a lot of different ways," said Lombardi.
At 5:15, Canada went up 2-1 on the power play when Toews charged off the goal line and tried to wrap the puck past Goryachevskikh, who stopped it with his goal stick handle but couldn't stop Doan from collecting the puck and roofing it into the open side.
It was 3-1 Canada at 8:32 when Toews went hard to the net to tip in the final pass on a give-and-go play off the rush with his linemates Chimera and Jordan Staal.
Just 41 seconds later, the Canadians took a four-goal lead when Matthew Lombardi circled the net and centered the puck to Doan for an easy tap-in from the crease, completing the Canadian captain's hat trick.
With 3:40 left in the middle frame, Mike Cammalleri made it 5-1 Canada with a cheeky backhand tip of Dion Phaneuf's shot from the blueline. Ward put on a brief goaltending clinic as Belarus peppered him with shots during a late-period power play, which included another 5-on-3 sequence.