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Dach, Veleno and Lafreniere​ dazzle in top line tour de force for Canada

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31.07.2019

SPORTSCENTRE Reporter

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TSN reporter Mark Masters checks in with news and notes from the World Junior Summer Showcase. Team Canada beat Team USA 4-1 on Tuesday at the World Junior Summer Showcase in Plymouth, Mich.

It's early, but Team Canada head coach Dale Hunter may have already found his top line for this year’s World Juniors. Saskatoon’s Kirby Dach, Drummondville’s Joe Veleno and Rimouski’s Alexis Lafreniere dominated on Tuesday combining to score three of Canada’s four goals.

Hunter elevated Dach, the third overall pick in June’s draft, to the top unit after the Chicago Blackhawks prospect made a beautiful, backhand, no-look pass to set up Veleno for the ice breaker on the power play.

"It was a sick pass," said Veleno, a Detroit Red Wings first round pick in 2018. "He's a hell of a player. I haven't seen him play too much out West, but going third overall, you know, you got to have something … he's a real special player."

"They were clicking on the power play so I thought I'd get Dach in the middle between them," Hunter explained.

Kirby Dach makes a beautiful pass to Joe Veleno, who opens the scoring at 1-0. #WJSS pic.twitter.com/mfLwgPt7Nl

The trio combined on a pretty tic-tac-toe play off the rush on the second Canadian goal with Lafreniere’s subtle drop pass to Veleno raising eyebrows in the press box and among those in the crowd, which included Ottawa Senators general manager Pierre Dorion.

"It was a pretty underrated play," Veleno noted. "I don't think too many people saw that little pass, but on the ice you see it and it’s pretty nice."

"I saw Joe before and I knew he was behind me,” said Lafreniere, projected to go first overall in the next NHL draft, nonchalantly. "That was a real nice goal and it's a line effort."

"He sees the ice and he knows where the players are," said Hunter, "and when players have that, that’s hard to defend … he just has the feel that he knows where the guy is and it makes a big difference and all the good players in the National Hockey League have it."

Lafreniere didn't get an assist based on the announcement, but should. Excellent touch pass in space to Veleno to allow Dach the time to sneak back door. https://t.co/9EQMcF89Z2

Veleno and Lafreniere made Canada's World Junior team as under-agers last year and Dach, who finished the night with two goals and an assist, is looking to follow in their footsteps.

"He’s really smart, always at a good spot on the ice and he’s easy to play with. He wins every battle and does everything the right way," said Lafreniere. "He's so big and he's so fast at the same time, it’s unreal."

"It's huge for me," said Dach, who stands six-foot-four, when asked about his skating ability. "The game has gotten so much faster now and you see so many smaller guys step into the league and they're elite players and for a bigger guy, it's tougher for us to move around the ice, but I've worked on skating for a while to kind of take my game to the next level and that's helped me out a lot."

The hockey IQ of all three players was evident in their first game together, which came in........

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