Canada began shedding game rust with a 16-2 win over beleaguered Germany at the world junior men’s hockey championship Saturday.
Dylan Cozens had a hat trick and three assists for the host country against an opponent ravaged by the COVID-19 virus.
Dawson Mercer, Philip Tomasino, Alex Newhook and Peyton Krebs each scored twice for Canada.
Kaiden Guhle, Ryan Suzuki, Jakob Pelletier, Thomas Harley and Connor McMichael also scored for the defending champions.
John Peterka and Florian Elias countered for the Germans in Rogers Place devoid of spectators because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Nine German players were isolating in hotel rooms Saturday because of positive tests for the virus upon arrival in Edmonton.
Germany played 14 skaters — nine forwards and five defencemen — for a second game in as many days after falling 5-3 to Finland on Christmas Day.
The Germans couldn’t run anything resembling a real practice until the day before their first game.
Canada exploited Germany’s defensive and goaltending mistakes borne of mental and physical fatigue.
“We weren’t too focused on the score,” Cozens said. “We were just focused on playing the right way.
“It’s our first game of the tournament. We’ve got to establish our good habits
“It’s a tough spot they’re in. They’re down a lot of numbers and just coming out of quarantine. It does suck for them for sure.”
Canada’s 16 goals in a single game was two off the record of 18 set in both 1985 and 1986.
Canada faces Slovakia (1-0) in Pool A on Sunday.