Twenty-one-year-old Dylan Cozens had a hat trick for Canada while Damon Severson had a goal and two assists. The game featured 14 minor penalties distributed evenly, half of that number in the middle period. Those advantages resultd in three extra-man goals for the victors and one for the Kazakhs.
"They came out really hard," said Cozens, the man of the hour. "They had a really good game, and it was close for a long time. And we know we've got a lot better than that [to give]. There's times I think we got sloppy. But you know, at the end of the day, we got the win. We're just learning every day and getting better and better."
"We’re having a blast," said Cozens's linemate Pierre-Luc Dubois. "The chemistry off the ice is coming along, and the chemistry on the ice, too. We talk a lot about the game with him and Nicky [Roy}. I passed him the puck with two guys on, he’s probably the only guy I’d pass it to and he put it in and I’m happy for his three goals at the tournament at his age especially with his first Worlds."
Kazakhstan is right back at it tomorrow against Slovakia while Canada has a day off before playing the Swiss in a first-place showdown that might have significant implications for the matchups in the cross-over quarter-finals.
"It's a step forward every game, right?" asked Kazakh forward Jesse Blacker rhetorically. "But at the end of the day, it's still a loss. So you know, we'll take it for what it is. You've just got to take steps forward every game and move on to the next one. It's a lot of games and a quick turnaround."
"We've started the tournament really well, but it’s a long tournament," Dubois continued. "You can play ten games, and we’re at Game 4. We got to keep improving, game by game, no matter who our opponent is because at some point it’s going to be, if you lose you’re out."
"We’ve been getting better every game," said Kazakh forward Curtis Valk, Canadian by birth. "Tonight it was a big task. Canada is a big hockey team. Our guys played really hard. It’s tough when you take a lot of penalties against a good power play. Our goalie was unreal in the last couple of games, blocked lot of shots. We just have to keep playing like that and sometimes it will go our way."
Although Canada started with sustained pressure, it was the Kazakhs who scored first when Yegor Petyukhov fired a knuckleball on goal from the side boards. The puck fooled Logan Thompson, and Kazakhstan had its first ever lead on Canada in a World Championship game.
Eighty seconds later, though, Canada tied the game. Ryan Graves took a harmless shot that Andrei Shutov couldn’t control, and Cozens was right there to jam home the rebound for his first of what would be a productive night for the Buffalo Sabres forward.
And once again, Canada responded quickly. After a series of chances in front, the puck went behind Shutov’s goal as the goalie scrambled to get back into position. He wasn’t quick enough, and Drake Batherson banked a shot off the back of Shutov and in to make it 2-2.
Late in the period, Canada finally got its first lead of the game on its first power play. A series of nice passes ended with Kent Johnson putting the puck on net, and Adam Lowry made a great tip of the disc in mid-air to get it by Shutov.
Both teams opened a bit in the second and exchanged early great scoring chances. At one end, Cozens was denied beautifully by Shutov, and at the other Thompson robbed Anton Sagadeyev.
Canada got the only goal of the period at 12:14 thanks to a bit of good timing and fortune. Damon Severson came out of the box after serving a penalty, and at that moment Noah Gregor fed him a perfect pass to create a breakaway. Severson made no mistake, giving Canada a 4-2 lead at 12:14.
The period was replete with minor penalties, but nothing came of the various and sundry power plays. Thompson made his best save in the final minute, using his left pad to kick out a wonderful chance off the stick of Shestakov.
The Kazakhs came back at 7:55 of the third. Canadian defender Ryan Graves blocked a shot and lay on the ice in obvious pain, but play continued and Nikita Mikhailis collected the puck. He found Kirill Savitski to the back side for an easy tap-in, making it 4-3. It took Graves a couple of minutes still to be helped off the ice, and he didn't return.
The comeback ended there, however. The Kazakhs took a penalty soon after, and Canada capitalized. Cozens got a rebound behind the play and snapped a high shot into the empty net to restore the team's two-goal lead. Cozens closed out the scoring with another power-play marker with 48.1 seconds remaining.