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Super 16: Avalanche finish season No. 1 in power rankings – NHL.com

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After all, the Avalanche are parading the Stanley Cup through Denver on Thursday, a party befitting a championship team that went 16-4 in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

The Tampa Bay Lightning are No. 2, another unsurprising nod by the 14 participating NHL.com writers and editors to the team that Colorado defeated in the Stanley Cup Final.

But where does it go from there in the final wrap-up of the season?

To create the NHL.com power rankings, each of the 14 participating staff members puts together his or her version of what they think the Super 16 should look like. Those are submitted and a point total assigned to each. 

The team that is selected first is given 16 points, second gets 15, third 14, fourth 13 and so on down to No. 16, who gets one point. 

Here is the final Super 16 of this season, encompassing regular season and postseason success and failures:

1. Colorado Avalanche (56-19-7)

Total points: 224
Rank on April 28: No. 2

The Avalanche won the Stanley Cup for the first time since 2001 with a six-game victory against the Lightning. They are the sixth team to win the Cup with four or fewer losses in the playoffs since 1987, when the NHL adopted the best-of-7 format for all four rounds. Cale Makar won the Conn Smythe Trophy voted as the most valuable player of the postseason with 29 points (eight goals, 21 assists). He also won the Norris Trophy given to the best defenseman in the NHL. Colorado finished first in the Central Division.

Video: Check out every Avalanche goal from Stanley Cup run

2. Tampa Bay Lightning (51-23-8)

Total points: 209
Rank on April 28: No. 6

The Lightning reached the Final for the third straight season, the first team to do that since the Edmonton Oilers from 1983-85. They fell two wins short from becoming the first team since the New York Islanders (1980-83) to win the Stanley Cup in three straight seasons. Tampa Bay was third in the Atlantic Division.

3. New York Rangers (52-24-6)

Total points: 186
Rank on April 28: No. 9

The Rangers reached Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Final before bowing out of the playoffs in a 2-1 loss at the Lightning, their fourth straight defeat after winning the first two games of the series. It was the only time this season the Rangers lost more than three games in a row. They got to the conference final by coming back from 3-1 down against the Pittsburgh Penguins in the first round and 3-2 against the Carolina Hurricanes in the second round. New York finished second in the Metropolitan Division. Igor Shesterkin won the Vezina Trophy voted as the best goalie in the NHL.

Video: Igor Shesterkin wins Vezina Trophy for best goalie

4. Edmonton Oilers (49-27-6)

Total points: 158
Rank on April 28: No. 11

The Oilers advanced to the Western Conference Final with a five-game win against the Calgary Flames, the first “Battle of Alberta” series since 1991, before they were swept by the Avalanche. They were second in the Pacific Division and won the first round in seven games against the Los Angeles Kings. Connor McDavid (33 points) and Leon Draisaitl (32 points) were the top two scorers in the playoffs despite playing four fewer games than Makar, who was third with 29.

5. Carolina Hurricanes (54-20-8)

Total points: 157
Rank on April 28: No. 3

The Hurricanes were 7-1 at home and 0-6 on the road in the playoffs, their lone home loss in Game 7 against the Rangers, 6-2. They played the entire postseason without goalie Frederik Andersen, who was out with an MCL tear sustained April 16. Carolina finished first in the Metropolitan Division.

6. St. Louis Blues (49-22-11)

Total points: 153
Rank on April 28: No. 8

The Blues were the only team other than the Lightning to defeat the Avalanche in the playoffs. They lost to Colorado in six games in the second round, including 3-2 in Game 6 at home May 27 two nights after staying alive with a 5-4 overtime win on the road. They also won a six-game series against the Minnesota Wild in the first round. St. Louis finished third in the Central Division.

Video: STL@MIN, Gm5: Tarasenko puts home Buchnevich’s dish

 
7. Florida Panthers (58-18-6)

Total points: 145
Rank on April 28: No. 1

The Panthers won the Presidents’ Trophy as the best team in the regular season with 122 points and a playoff series for the first time since 1996, defeating the Washington Capitals in six games in the first round, but were swept by the Lightning in the second round, scoring three goals in the four games. They led the NHL with 4.11 goals per game in the regular season. Andrew Brunette, Florida’s coach after replacing Joel Quenneville, was replaced by Paul Maurice on June 22.

8. Calgary Flames (50-21-11)

Total points: 143
Rank on April 28: No. 4

The Flames needed seven games, including overtime in Game 7, to get through the first round against the Dallas Stars before a five-game loss to the Oilers. Jacob Markstrom, who finished second behind Shesterkin in the Vezina Trophy voting, allowed 24 goals to Edmonton for a 5.12 goals-against average and .852 save percentage. The Flames finished first in the Pacific Division.

Video: CGY@DAL: Markstrom makes stellar pad save on Pavelski

 
9. Toronto Maple Leafs (54-21-7)

Total points: 128
Rank on April 28: No. 5

The Maple Leafs failed to advance beyond of the first round for the sixth straight season, losing to the Lightning after leading the best-of-7 series 3-2. They have not won a playoff series since 2004. Auston Matthews won the Rocket Richard Trophy as the leading goal scorer in the NHL during the regular season (60) and the Hart Trophy voted as most valuable player. Toronto was second in the Atlantic Division.

Video: Auston Matthews wins Hart Trophy for NHL MVP

 
10. Minnesota Wild (53-22-7)

Total points: 88
Rank on April 28: No. 7

The Wild acquired goalie Marc-Andre Fleury before the 2022 NHL Trade Deadline and he started the first five games of the first round. Fleury was 2-3 with a 3.04 GAA and .906 save percentage. Cam Talbot played Game 6, allowed four goals on 26 shots and the Wild lost 5-1 to end their season in disappointing fashion. They set team records for wins (53), points (113) and goals scored (305) in the regular season, finishing second in the Central Division.

11. Pittsburgh Penguins (46-25-11)

Total points: 77
Rank on April 28: No. 13

The Penguins played three goalies against the Rangers and still nearly won the first round before losing Game 7 in overtime. Casey DeSmith started Game 1 but sustained a core muscle injury in the second overtime that required season-ending surgery. Louis Domingue, who played most of the season in the American Hockey League, replaced him and played through Game 6. Tristan Jarry, Pittsburgh’s No. 1 goalie who was out with a lower-body injury, returned for Game 7. Sidney Crosby was also injured in Game 5 and the center did not play Game 6. The Penguins finished third in the Metropolitan Division.

12. Boston Bruins (51-26-5)

Total points: 69
Rank on April 28: No. 10

The Bruins couldn’t get out of the first round because they never found a way to win in Carolina. They won their three home games in the series but lost all four on the road, including Game 7, 3-2. Boston finished fourth in the Atlantic Division. Following the series, the Bruins revealed that forward Brad Marchand (hip surgery), and defensemen Charlie McAvoy (shoulder surgery) and Matt Grzelcyk (shoulder surgery) will be out for start of next season. Boston fired coach Bruce Cassidy on June 6 and has not yet named his replacement.

 
13. Dallas Stars (46-30-6)

Total points: 56
Rank on April 28: No. 16

The Stars likely wouldn’t have made it even to Game 7 of the first round without Jake Oettinger proving his worth as a No. 1 goalie. Oettinger allowed 13 goals in the seven games against Calgary, a 1.81 GAA and .954 save percentage despite facing 285 shots, an average of 41.0 per game. The Stars hired coach Peter DeBoer on June 21 to replace Rick Bowness, who resigned May 20, five days after Game 7 against the Flames.

Video: DAL@CGY, Gm7: Oettinger stands on head in Game 7

 
14. Los Angeles Kings (44-27-11)

Total points: 46
Rank on April 28: No. 14

The Kings made the playoffs as the third-place team in the Pacific Division and led the first round 3-2 after a 5-4 overtime victory in Game 5. But they lost Game 6, 4-2, and Game 7, 2-0. Los Angeles did not have defenseman Drew Doughty in the playoffs. He sustained a wrist injury March 7 that eventually required season-ending surgery April 11.

 
15. Washington Capitals (44-26-12)

Total points: 30
Rank on April 28: No. 12

The Capitals had 100 points in the regular season, fewest among the eight teams that made the playoffs from the Eastern Conference. They lost the first round to the Panthers in six games. 

 
16. Nashville Predators (45-30-7)

Total points: 26
Rank on April 28: No. 15

The Predators got to the playoffs as the second wild card from the West with 97 points. They would have played the Flames in the first round if they held onto a 4-0 lead against the Arizona Coyotes in the last game of the regular season April 29. But the Coyotes scored five unanswered goals to win 5-4, knocking the Predators into the second wild-card position, which meant playing the Avalanche in the first round. Juuse Saros, who was third in the Vezina Trophy voting, was unavailable because of an ankle injury and Nashville was swept by Colorado.

Others receiving points: Vegas Golden Knights, 9

Dropped out: None

HERE’S HOW WE RANKED ‘EM 

AMALIE BENJAMIN 

1. Colorado Avalanche; 2. Tampa Bay Lightning; 3. New York Rangers; 4. Calgary Flames; 5. Edmonton Oilers; 6. Carolina Hurricanes; 7. St. Louis Blues; 8. Florida Panthers; 9. Minnesota Wild; 10. Boston Bruins; 11. Dallas Stars; 12. Toronto Maple Leafs; 13. Pittsburgh Penguins; 14. Nashville Predators; 15. Los Angeles Kings; 16. Washington Capitals

BRIAN COMPTON

1. Colorado Avalanche; 2. Tampa Bay Lightning; 3. New York Rangers; 4. Edmonton Oilers; 5. Carolina Hurricanes; 6. St. Louis Blues; 7. Calgary Flames; 8. Florida Panthers; 9. Toronto Maple Leafs; 10. Dallas Stars; 11. Pittsburgh Penguins; 12. Minnesota Wild; 13. Los Angeles Kings; 14. Washington Capitals; 15. Boston Bruins; 16. Nashville Predators

NICHOLAS J. COTSONIKA

1. Colorado Avalanche; 2. Tampa Bay Lightning; 3. New York Rangers; 4. Edmonton Oilers; 5. St. Louis Blues; 6. Carolina Hurricanes; 7. Calgary Flames; 8. Florida Panthers; 9. Toronto Maple Leafs; 10. Dallas Stars; 11. Pittsburgh Penguins; 12. Boston Bruins; 13. Los Angeles Kings; 14. Minnesota Wild; 15. Washington Capitals; 16. Nashville Predators

TOM GULITTI 

1. Colorado Avalanche; 2. Tampa Bay Lightning; 3. New York Rangers; 4. St. Louis Blues; 5. Edmonton Oilers; 6. Carolina Hurricanes; 7. Calgary Flames; 8. Florida Panthers; 9. Toronto Maple Leafs; 10. Minnesota Wild; 11. Pittsburgh Penguins; 12. Boston Bruins; 13. Dallas Stars; 14. Washington Capitals; 15. Los Angeles Kings; 16. Nashville Predators

ADAM KIMELMAN

1. Colorado Avalanche; 2. Tampa Bay Lightning; 3. Toronto Maple Leafs; 4. Florida Panthers; 5. New York Rangers; 6. St. Louis Blues; 7. Carolina Hurricanes; 8. Calgary Flames; 9. Minnesota Wild; 10. Edmonton Oilers; 11. Boston Bruins; 12. Pittsburgh Penguins; 13. Washington Capitals; 14. Dallas Stars; 15. Nashville Predators; 16. Vegas Golden Knights

ROBERT LAFLAMME 

1. Colorado Avalanche; 2. Tampa Bay Lightning; 3. Edmonton Oilers; 4. Florida Panthers; 5. New York Rangers; 6. Calgary Flames; 7. Carolina Hurricanes; 8. Toronto Maple Leafs; 9. St. Louis Blues; 10. Minnesota Wild; 11. Pittsburgh Penguins; 12. Los Angeles Kings; 13. Boston Bruins; 14. Dallas Stars; 15. Washington Capitals; 16. Nashville Predators

MIKE G. MORREALE

1. Colorado Avalanche; 2. Tampa Bay Lightning; 3. Toronto Maple Leafs; 4. New York Rangers; 5. Carolina Hurricanes; 6. St. Louis Blues; 7. Minnesota Wild; 8. Florida Panthers; 9. Edmonton Oilers; 10. Calgary Flames; 11. Boston Bruins; 12. Pittsburgh Penguins; 13. Washington Capitals; 14. Los Angeles Kings; 15. Dallas Stars; 16. Nashville Predators

TRACEY MYERS 

1. Colorado Avalanche; 2. Tampa Bay Lightning; 3. New York Rangers; 4. Edmonton Oilers; 5. St. Louis Blues; 6. Carolina Hurricanes; 7. Calgary Flames; 8. Florida Panthers; 9. Toronto Maple Leafs; 10. Boston Bruins; 11. Pittsburgh Penguins; 12. Washington Capitals; 13. Los Angeles Kings; 14. Dallas Stars; 15. Minnesota Wild; 16. Nashville Predators

BILL PRICE

1. Colorado Avalanche; 2. Tampa Bay Lightning; 3. New York Rangers; 4. St. Louis Blues; 5. Edmonton Oilers; 6. Carolina Hurricanes; 7. Calgary Flames; 8. Florida Panthers; 9. Toronto Maple Leafs; 10. Los Angeles Kings; 11. Pittsburgh Penguins; 12. Boston Bruins; 13. Minnesota Wild; 14. Nashville Predators; 15. Dallas Stars; 16. Washington Capitals

SHAWN P. ROARKE 

1. Colorado Avalanche; 2. Tampa Bay Lightning; 3. St. Louis Blues; 4. Calgary Flames; 5. Edmonton Oilers; 6. Florida Panthers; 7. New York Rangers; 8. Carolina Hurricanes; 9. Toronto Maple Leafs; 10. Minnesota Wild; 11. Pittsburgh Penguins; 12. Boston Bruins; 13. Nashville Predators; 14. Vegas Golden Knights; 15. Dallas Stars; 16. Los Angeles Kings

DAN ROSEN 

1. Colorado Avalanche; 2. Tampa Bay Lightning; 3. New York Rangers; 4. St. Louis Blues; 5. Carolina Hurricanes; 6. Edmonton Oilers; 7. Florida Panthers; 8. Calgary Flames; 9. Pittsburgh Penguins; 10. Toronto Maple Leafs; 11. Minnesota Wild; 12. Dallas Stars; 13. Los Angeles Kings; 14. Boston Bruins; 15. Nashville Predators; 16. Washington Capitals

DAVID SATRIANO

1. Colorado Avalanche; 2. New York Rangers; 3. Tampa Bay Lightning; 4. Florida Panthers; 5. Toronto Maple Leafs; 6. Carolina Hurricanes; 7. Calgary Flames; 8. Edmonton Oilers; 9. Minnesota Wild; 10. St. Louis Blues; 11. Dallas Stars; 12. Vegas Golden Knights; 13. Nashville Predators; 14. Boston Bruins; 15. Los Angeles Kings; 16. Pittsburgh Penguins

PAUL STRIZHEVSKY

1. Colorado Avalanche; 2. Tampa Bay Lightning; 3. Carolina Hurricanes; 4. Florida Panthers; 5. New York Rangers; 6. Toronto Maple Leafs; 7. Calgary Flames; 8. Edmonton Oilers; 9. St. Louis Blues; 10. Minnesota Wild; 11. Boston Bruins; 12. Pittsburgh Penguins; 13. Los Angeles Kings; 14. Dallas Stars; 15. Washington Capitals; 16. Nashville Predators

MIKE ZEISBERGER 

1. Colorado Avalanche; 2. Tampa Bay Lightning; 3. New York Rangers; 4. Edmonton Oilers; 5. Carolina Hurricanes; 6. Calgary Flames; 7. St. Louis Blues; 8. Florida Panthers; 9. Toronto Maple Leafs; 10. Pittsburgh Penguins; 11. Minnesota Wild; 12. Boston Bruins; 13. Los Angeles Kings; 14. Dallas Stars; 15. Washington Capitals; 16. Nashville Predators

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Andreescu eliminated from National Bank Open after loss to teenager Zheng – Sportsnet.ca

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TORONTO — Canada’s Bianca Andreescu lost to China’s Zheng Qinwen 7-5, 5-7, 6-2, as she was eliminated from the National Bank Open on Thursday.

Andreescu, from nearby Mississauga, Ont., was the last Canadian playing in the women’s tennis tournament.

Felix Auger-Aliassime is the only Canadian left in the men’s event in his hometown of Montreal.

Zheng will play Karolína Plíšková of the Czech Republic on Friday in the WTA tournament’s quarterfinal.

It was the first time the 53rd ranked Andreescu had played world No. 51 Zheng.

Andreescu won the 2019 edition of the event when it was last held in Toronto, earning the victory after all-time great Serena Williams retired from the match due to injury.

Trailing 5-4 in the first set, Andreescu dropped a volley well out of Zheng’s reach to go up 40-0 in the match’s 10th game. The smart play drew loud cheers from the partisan crowd at Sobeys Stadium and then Andreescu’s first ace of the match tied the set 5-5.

The crowd included Toronto Blue Jays infielders Santiago Espinal and Bo Bichette as well as Olympic sprinter Andre De Grasse.

A Zheng ace made it 6-5 and then, after a lengthy rally, the Chinese player used an overhead smash to win the set 7-5.

Andreescu made the most of her home court advantage, egging the crowd on after critical points in the second set.

She pumped her fist and yelled after Zheng’s return on game point was well past the baseline. Then Andreescu threw her hands up, encouraging fans to cheer when Zheng’s return was long on set point.

That momentum did not carry into the third set, with Andreescu quickly falling behind 3-1.

Although Andreescu won a game point, earning her chants of “Let’s go Bi-bi!” she gave up three break points as Zheng took a 4-2 lead. A hard forehand smash to the opposite court by Zheng added to that advantage.

Zheng put the match away on a double break point when Andreescu charged the net and the 19-year-old Chinese player put the ball deep but in.

World No. 1 Iga Swiatek of Poland was stunned by Brazil’s Beatriz Haddad Maia 6-4, 3-6, 7-5 earlier in the day. The unseeded Haddad Maia had already upset 13th-seeded Leylah Fernandez of Laval, Que., on Wednesday.

Haddad Maia will face the winner of the Round of 16 match between Belinda Bencic and Garbine Muguruza in a quarterfinal on Friday.

Serving was an issue for Swiatek with nine double faults to Haddad Maia’s one. The top-ranked player from Poland said that the swirling gusts in the bowl-shaped stadium were an issue for her.

“Right now it’s hard to say if it was more her game or the wind that really messed up my first set,” said Swiatek, who was playing Haddad Maia for the first time. “I think she just used the conditions better than me.

“When she was playing with the wind she was playing really strong balls and sometimes I was late for them.”

The wind was also a factor in Coco Gauff’s win in the afternoon. The American moved on to the quarterfinals with an entertaining and error-filled 7-5, 4-6, 7-6 (4) win over Aryna Sabalenka.

Both players struggled with the conditions at Sobeys Stadium, with Sabalenka committing 18 double faults and Gauff hitting into 15. Sabalenka had 42 unforced errors overall, while Gauff had 32.

Gauff will face Romania’s Simona Halep in the quarterfinals. Halep, a two-time Canadian Open champion, defeated Switzerland’s Jil Teichmann 6-2, 7-5 to begin the day’s slate of matches at Centre Court.

Later, seventh seed Jessica Pegula of the United States came back from a set down to defeat defending champion Camila Giorgi of Italy 3-6, 6-0, 7-5.

Pegula saved match point to tie the third set 5-5, then broke to take the lead on Giorgi’s sixth double fault of the match. Pegula served to love in the final game to move on to the quarterfinals.

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Quebec's Olivier Rioux, world's tallest teen, chasing hoops dream at Canada Games – Yahoo Canada Sports

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Olivier Rioux landed with a size-large exclamation point on Michael Meeks’ radar when the Canada Basketball coach opened a photo in his inbox seven years ago.

Rioux was attending a kids basketball camp in Montreal, and posed for a photo alongside then-Detroit Pistons and Canadian team centre Joel Anthony, who stands a formidable six foot nine.

“Ron Yeung (Canada Basketball’s manager of domestic development) sent me this photo of Olivier and Joel, and Olivier is about the same height, give or take an inch. Ron says, ‘This kid is nine years old,'” said Meeks.

“I was immediately on the phones, finding out who he was and what was going on and what we can do to help.”

In the years since, Rioux has sprouted to a full seven foot six. He can dunk on an NBA hoop while barely leaving his feet.

Guinness World Records recognized him as the world’s tallest teenager when he was 15 and seven foot five. If he played in the NBA now, he’d be tied with Cleveland’s Tacko Fall as the league’s tallest player.

But Rioux is playing for Quebec at the Canada Summer Games this week in Ontario’s Niagara Region with kids at least his own age, if nowhere near his size.

Quebec was scheduled to face Saskatchewan on Friday after dropping a 72-70 decision to Alberta in Thursday night’s semifinal.

Meeks, who’s at the Games to keep an eye on Canada’s young players, said he’s seen improvement in Rioux even over the past few weeks, but cautions that like any super tall player, he’s a long-term work in progress.

“People see his size and their expectations are pretty high,” said Meeks. “For me, it’s the little things like his mobility and agility, how he’s moving, how he conceptualizes the game — how much fun is he having competing and playing?

“This is important because we’re in uncharted territories with Olivier, there’s never been anybody that big at that age before. So, we’re kind of cautiously optimistic that he’s definitely moving in the right direction.”

Rioux, who’s from Anjou, a borough in east Montreal, will begin Grade 10 in the fall in Bradenton, Fla. He moved there to attend IMG Academy — a school that counts superstar tennis sisters Serena and Venus Williams among its alumni — a year ago.

“It was nice,” Rioux said of his first year away from home. “I was calling my parents almost every day, and the school year was good, my grades were up.

“Back in Montreal I used to go to school every day for at least eight hours. Now I go to school for three hours and practice in the afternoon, It’s different,” he added with a deep-voiced laugh.

He’s having fun at the Games, he said, and has taken in some of the boxing competition.

Rioux was 5-2 in kindergarten. His dad Jean-Francois is 6-8, his mom Anne is 6-2.

He first became an unsuspecting internet star at age 12, while playing at a tournament in Spain. He stood out like a maypole among the other players on the court. It caught the eye of Golden State star Steph Curry, who tweeted: “So many questions … “

Jamal Murray posed for a photo alongside him that summer. He already towered over the Denver Nuggets star guard from Kitchener, Ont.

Joey Mckitterick, who’s coached Rioux at Montreal’s AAU program Brookwood Elite since he was 12, echoed Meeks in that he’s seen huge improvement in Rioux this year, particularly as his growing has slowed and his co-ordination is catching up.

But perhaps most important is that Rioux is enjoying the game, which is key since huge expectations come with being super tall.

“I think this year you could see that he enjoyed everything about it, the basketball, the travelling, everything like that. He’s definitely falling in love with it,” Mckitterick said.

Mckitterick said part of his responsibility coaching Rioux was being a buffer between the teen and curious onlookers.

“When we travel, we could be sitting in a hotel lobby and random strangers will come up to him and ask him for a picture. It’s challenging even getting through the airport to make a flight on time because people are constantly stopping him: ‘Can I take your picture? Can you hold my baby?’ Can you do this, can you do that?

“When I met with our players at the end of the year. I told him ‘I can’t imagine being you. But the best I can do is just kind of guide you and help you and be here for you for anything you need, because I can’t put myself in your position.’ Nobody could.”

That uniqueness makes it difficult to gauge where basketball might take him.

“When you see Olivier, every three to six months he’s doing things quicker, faster, stronger, more balanced, he’s got more agility, his game is getting better, his understanding of how to impact the game is getting better,” Meeks said. “This is important, because usually taller players are a little bit slower (to develop), and he’s moving at the right rate in terms of a super tall player.

“Usually guys that stopped growing at about 6-3, 6-4, you could begin to see exactly what they’re going to be by the time they’re 16 years old. But these tall, tall players, it’s 24, 25 before it all starts coming together.”

Rioux, who likes to study the games of Giannis Antetokounmpo and Nikola Jokic, who are both 6-11, is well-proportioned for his size and hasn’t had any major physical issues such as sore knees that can come with fast growth.

Among other NBA giants, Gheorghe Muresan is listed as the tallest ever at seven foot seven. Yao Ming and Shawn Bradley were 7-6. Canadian Sim Bhullar was 7-5, but his weight — he was listed at 360 pounds — was a limiting factor.

Canada at least has some experience with super tall players. Zach Edey, a 20-year-old from Toronto, is seven foot four. Edey made his debut with Canada’s senior men’s team in a World Cup qualifier in May. The IMG Academy product is heading into his junior season for the Purdue Boilermakers, who’ve also expressed early interest in Rioux.

“There are a lot of Division 1 schools that are very familiar with him already,” Mckitterick said. “The schools that are really focusing in on him are ones that value the size and want to use it. Because basketball has kind of gone in the direction of smaller (multi-position players), but there’s still a lot of programs that still value that size.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 12, 2022.

Lori Ewing, The Canadian Press

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McTavish puts up six points, Canada crushes Slovakia at world juniors – Sportsnet.ca

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Four goals and a pair of assists from captain Mason McTavish powered Canada to a dominant 11-1 victory over Slovakia at the world junior hockey championship Thursday. 

Brennan Othmann and Joshua Roy each scored and contributed a pair of helpers for Canada (2-0-0) while Connor Bedard, Will Cuylle, Logan Stankoven and Olen Zellweger added one of each. Zack Ostapchuk also scored. 

Matej Kaslik put away the lone goal for Slovakia (0-0-2) midway through the second period. 

Making his first start of the tournament, Canada’s Dylan Garand registered 22 saves. Tomas Bolo stopped 33 of 44 shots for Slovakia. 

The Canadians were coming off a decisive 5-2 win over Latvia on Wednesday while Slovakia dropped a 5-4 decision to Czechia on Tuesday. 

Canada will continue round-robin play against Czechia (1-0-1) on Saturday. 

With just seconds left on the game clock, Ostapchuk picked up a loose puck at the side of the net and slid it around the front, in past Bolo to seal the score at 11-1.

Roy gave Canada a 10-1 lead with less than five minutes to go on the game clock. 

William Dufour’s shot hit Bolo’s pad and Roy picked up the rebound at the top of the crease, firing it in over the netminder as he fell to the ice.

McTavish barely celebrated after giving Canada a 9-1 cushion 3:44 into the third period. 

He found space between Bolo and the post for his fourth goal of the night, a strike that tied a Canadian record for most goals in a single game at the world juniors. 

Other players who have accomplished the feat include Mario Lemieux (1984), Brayden Schenn (2011) and Maxime Comtois (2019).

McTavish completed his hat trick with 35 seconds left in the middle frame. 

Bedard took a hit in the neutral zone and sent a puck up the ice to give his teammates a two-man breakaway. Roy put a crisp pass on McTavish’s tape and the 19-year-old Anaheim Ducks prospect fired a shot past Bolo to give the Canadians an 8-1 lead. 

About a dozen hats floated to the ice. 

It was McTavish’s backhanded flick from the top of the crease 15:16 into the second that gave Canada a 7-1 cushion. 

Just 36 seconds earlier, Slovakia finally beat Garand after a battle down low. 

Kaslik got the puck and unleashed a shot that hit the goalie’s pad and the crossbar on its way into the net. 

A three-man breakaway set up McTavish’s first goal of the night 6:25 into the second. Donovan Sebrango sent him a lead pass and, handling the puck, Team Canada’s captain skated in, sending a rocket soaring past Bolo stick side to boost the lead to 6-0. 

The second period was just over a minute old when Stankoven put away Canada’s fifth goal of the night on a five-on-three. 

Kent Johnson sent a shot into Bolo’s pad and Stankoven, stationed at the side of the net, popped a shot in before the goalie could get back into position. 

Canada was 1 for 4 on the power play and Slovakia went 0 for 3.

After a slow start in Wednesday’s 5-2 win over Latvia, Canada was a force in the first period Thursday. 

The host nation took a 4-0 advantage into the first intermission after Zellweger scored with 43 seconds left in the opening frame. 

The defenceman got a shot off from the hash marks and the puck appeared to tick off another player in front of the net before pinging in off the post. 

Slovakia challenged the play for being offside but a video review determined Zellweger’s goal was good. 

A scuttled Slovakian clearing attempt set up Canada’s third strike of the night. 

Bolo tried to send the puck out from deep in his own end but Cuylle picked it up at the blue line and sent it to Othmann in the faceoff circle The New York Rangers prospect sailed a shot in past the goalie 15:57 into the game. 

Cuylle gave Canada a 2-0 lead less than three minutes earlier. 

Ridly Greig stepped out of the penalty box and chipped a pass up the boards to Cuylle, who skated in alone on a breakaway and put a quick blast through Bolo’s pads. 

Slovakia had a breakaway of its own earlier in the first, but Garand read the play perfectly and the shot thudded off of his pads to keep Canada up 1-0. 

For the second game in a row, Bedard opened the scoring for the Canadians. 

The 17-year-old Regina Pats centre dished the puck to McTavish, who sliced it back across the slot. Bedard capped the give-and-go by ripping a blistering shot past Bolo from the bottom of the faceoff circle 6:16 into the first period. 

The early game Thursday saw Finland (2-0-0) battle Czechia (1-0-1) to a 4-3 shootout win. 

“During the game, we got better and better. And that’s the most important thing,” said Finland’s head coach Antti Pennanen.

Czechia and Canada will both be off Friday before going head-to-head on Saturday. 

The Czechs know they’ll need to elevate their game for the matchup, said forward Jiri Kulich.

“We just want to keep our game,” he said. “It’s a big challenge, of course, and a big game. So we’re just going to do our best.” 

Switzerland (0-1-0) was set to battle the reigning champion Americans (1-0-0) in the final game of the day on Thursday. 

Friday will see Austria (0-1-0) face Sweden (1-0-0) and Slovakia take on Latvia (0-2-0).

NOTES: McTavish leads the tournament in scoring with eight points (four goals, four assists). … The preliminary round continues through Monday, with the quarterfinals set for Wednesday. The semifinals are scheduled for Aug. 19 and the medal games will be played on Aug. 20. … The 2022 tournament is being held in August after the original iteration was called off on Dec. 29 after just four days as rising COVID-19 cases among players and officials forced games to be forfeited.

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