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Canada beats Slovakia in tune-up for Ivan Hlinka under-18 tournament

A sea of Canadian flags are seen during in Edmonton on Thursday, Dec. 29, 2011.

Nathan Denette/THE CANADIAN PRESS

Spencer Watson scored twice as Canada's men's under-18 team defeated Slovakia 3-1 on Saturday in an exhibition game ahead of the Ivan Hlinka Memorial tournament.

Michael Dal Colle also scored a power-play goal and added an assist for Canada, which outshot Slovakia 50-17.

Ladislav Romancik's power-play goal was the lone offence for Slovakia on their home ice.

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Head coach Dale Hunter said he didn't expect the shot total to be so high for his team.

"We had good pressure on them and we cycled the puck well and we skated well," said Hunter.

"But their goalie (Vladimir Slivka) was very good. He wasn't a big goalie but he was very acrobatic. So we had lots of scoring chances, made some big saves and we scored enough to win."

Canada used two goaltenders during the game. Julio Billia started before being replaced by Mason MacDonald. Hunter said he'll likely swap goaltenders during the tournament and that Billia will get the nod when the team plays its first game Monday against the Czech Republic.

Canada, which is playing for its sixth straight gold medal at the tournament, is joined in Group A by the Czechs, Sweden and Switzerland.

Group B is comprised of Finland, Russia, the United States and the Slovaks.

The tournament runs through next Saturday.

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