Mathew Barzal is off to a dominant start at the World Junior Championship tournament in Toronto, driving play for Team Canada and...causing Slovaks to war amongst themselves.
The top Islanders prospect -- who made the NHL opening roster but was sent down ostensibly due to too much center depth — has been great so far in Canada’s opening wins over Russia and Slovakia.
Mathew Barzal, dominant in tourney opener. Led all skaters in scoring chances, shots from the slot, controlled entries and more. @Barzal_97— Mike Kelly (@MikeKellyNHL) December 27, 2016
But this post is about fun. So enjoy this GIF of Barzal causing three Team Slovakia players to take each other out as they tried to defend Barzal:
and from a second angle too:
Call it a 4-6-7 split?
Sportenet’s Arden Zwelling gets all lyrical about the play, and later calls Barzal “Canada’s best player through six periods:”
Alas, Barzal caught Bodak out of the corner of his eye and diverted his path, side stepping the hit and letting Bodak fly full speed into Bondra, who he upended directly into Bondra’s linemate, Filip Lestan. The three Slovakian bodies hit the deck, sprawling awkwardly as they slid across the ice in their defensive zone. And if you’ve ever seen that happen at a level as high as this before, you’ve watched an awful lot of hockey.
The Canadians are on top of Group B and next play Latvia on Thursday. Slovakia next plays Wednesday against the USA.