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Sawchenko leads Canada over Switzerland at Hlinka tournament

Ivan Hlinka
Ivan Hlinka
Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

According to the Hockey Canada website on Monday, Calgary native Zachary Sawchenko of the Moose Jaw Warriors made 20 saves as Canada defeated Switzerland 5-1 to open the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Hockey Tournament in Piestany, Slovakia. The tournament is for the best players in the world under the age of 18.

Sawchenko, who was born December 30, 1997, made 4 saves in the first period, and then eight saves each in the second and third period. Dominik Schmid scored the only goal on Sawchenko with 9:36 remaining in the second period.

The Canadian team was led offensively by Mathew Barzal of Coquitlam, British Columbia. A center for the Seattle Thunderbirds of the Western Hockey League, Barzal was the only Canadian player to register a multi-point game as he notched a goal and an assist. Barzal also scored the game winning goal for Canada at 10:12 of the first period to put Canada up 2-0 at the time.

Meanwhile Calgary native Nick Merkley of the Kelowna Rockets also got on the scoresheet. Merkley assisted on Canada's fifth goal of the hockey game from Peterborough, Ontario native Mitchell Stephens of the Ontario Hockey League's Saginaw Spirit.

In other action on day one of the event, Sweden beat Slovakia 6-1, Finland beat Russia 5-2 and the Czech Republic beat the United States 4-2. Canada's next game is against Sweden on Tuesday.

The Ivan Hlinka Memorial Hockey Tournament is an annual summer hockey tournament in honour of former Pittsburgh Penguins head coach Ivan Hlinka. A native of Most, Czechoslovakia, Hlinka won three gold medals for the Czechoslovakia at the World Hockey Championships and was the head coach for Czech Republic's gold medal winning men's hockey team at the 1998 Olympic Winter Games in Nagano. Hlinka died in a car accident at the age of 54 in 2004.

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