Canada’s scoring depth prevails in win over Czechs

Canada’s scoring depth prevails in win over Czechs

Steven Ellis30 Dec 2018Steven Ellis»
 

A strong first-period effort by Canada was enough to take the air out of the sails for the Czech Republic, with the tournament hosts finishing the tournament with a 5-1 victory on Saturday.

 
 
 
 

A strong first-period effort by Canada was enough to take the air out of the sails for the Czech Republic, with the tournament hosts finishing the tournament with a 5-1 victory on Saturday.

Canada will have a chance to win Group A when they challenge Russia in a big New Year’s Eve game on Monday evening, a 5:00 PM PT start. The Czechs will get a day off like Canada before meeting up with Denmark on Monday, a game that could result in the Czechs getting sent to the relegation round.

Canada couldn’t have asked for a much better opening period. At 6:03, Owen Tippett used his speed to blow past Filip Kral on the right side of the ice, taking the disk with him behind the net. The Florida Panthers prospect would then make a blind pass to the front of the net, finding a trailing Maxime Comtois near the slot. Comtois scored his fifth goal of the tournament, tying him with Philipp Kurashev for first in tournament goal-scoring.

The Czechs would quickly answer back. 37 seconds after giving up the opening goal, Jan Jenik, who was officially added to the team before the game, caught Ondrej Machala on an odd-man rush, with Machala sending a shot past Michael DiPietro's blocker to make it 1-1.

At 11:32, the power play showed it's muscle. Ty Smith's shot from the point would whistle past a few players in front, but Brett Leason was there to direct the tip past Jiri Patera, giving Canada their lead back.

Canadian head coach Tim Hunter directed considerable criticism towards Alexis Lafreniere, the youngest player on the team who came into the game as Canada's 13th forward. He was the only skater to not register a point in the first two games, but at 16:39, the dangerous goal scorer for the 2020 NHL draft unleashed a blister of a wrister, beating Patera top corner to make it 3-1 heading into the first break.

After great days for Kurashev and Henri Jokiharju, it was only fitting that a Chicago Blackhawks prospect on Canada, Mackenzie Entwhistle, found the back of the net. At 34:41, Jack Studnicka made a great play to dance around a Czech defender before passing the puck out to Joe Veleno to the left of the net. Veleno would setup Entwhistle on a streaking play, with the Hamilton Bulldogs star finishing off the deed to make it 4-1.

Nicknamed Frosty the Goal Man, Morgan Frost would put himself in the goal column once again. Frost would get his fourth goal after Nick Suzuki found him on the power play, sending it past Jakub Skarek, who took over in net for the third period. The goal was the final one for the Canadians, who showed no signs of slowing down in a big 5-1 win over the struggling Czechs.

Follow me on Twitter, @StevenEllisNHL.

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