Weegar has three points, Canada routs co-host Latvia 6-0 in world championship opener

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RIGA, Latvia — MacKenzie Weegar had a goal and two assists as Canada downed co-host Latvia Friday in its opening game at the world men's hockey championship.

Lawson Crouse, Scott Laughton, Sammy Blais, Joe Veleno and Jack McBain also had goals as the Canadians spread the scoring around.

“I do not really know how I would have drawn it up, but it is such an honour to wear this jersey and represent my country," said Weegar, who made his Team Canada debut on Friday.

"This game will help build some confidence among our group. A lot of guys were able to help contribute offensively, but that is not what it is all about for us. It is about winning as a team and improving in all areas," the Calgary Flames defenceman added.

Sam Montembeault made 23 saves for the shutout.

Ivars Punnenovs allowed two goals on five shots in the Latvia goal before giving way to Arturs Silovs, who surrendered four goals on 24 shots.

“It was important for us to establish our identity and how we want to play," Canada coach André Tourigny said. "We want to be a hard-checking team, and we know we have skill and contribute offensively, but we also want our guys to check and buy in to play the same way."

Canada returns to action Sunday against Slovenia.

Canada and Finland have met in the last three finals, with the Finns winning in 2019 and 2022 and Canada victorious in 2021 in Riga.

The 2020 world championship was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 12, 2023.

The Canadian Press