Canada hammers Japan to open Winter Universiade men's hockey tourney

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Canadian squad includes Panthers and a coach from P.E.I.

Team Canada crushed Japan 12-1 to open the 2013 Winter Universiade men’s hockey tournament Tuesday in Trentino, Italy.

The squad, made up of players from the Atlantic University Sport hockey conference, led 5-1 after the first period and 6-1 at the second intermission.

Nick MacNeill led Canada’s offence with four goals and an assist.

Eric Faille (2), alternate captain Cory Tananka (2), Mike Cazzola (1-5), Michael Kirkpatrick (1-2), Pierre Vandall and Lucas Bloodoff had the other Canadian scores.

UPEI Panthers’ Alex Wall had three assists as did  alternate captain Robert Slaney and Josh Day.

Panther forward Chris Desousa chipped in an assist and UPEI goalie Wayne Savage stop 15 shots.

Ryo Omiya had Japan's goal.

UPEI’s  Matthew Maione was also named an alternate captain. Chris Culligan (UNB) is team captain.

Liam Heelis of Acadia is the third alternate captain.

The team is coached by UNB head coach Gardiner MacDougall, a native of Bedeque.

Panther head coach Forbes MacPherson is an assistant coach.

“The group was ready to play in the first period, and it was a little bit like Christmas,” said MacDougall, 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.”

Canada’s next game is against the Ukraine on Friday.

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.

Organizations: Panthers, Atlantic University Sport

Geographic location: Canada, Japan, Trentino Acadia Ukraine Kazakhstan

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