Pacific 5 - Czech Republic 2
PACIFIC OVERPOWERS CZECHS TO STAY UNDEFEATED
By Keith Borkowsky
REGINA — Saturday’s 5-2 win over the Czech Republic has put Team Pacific in total control of its destiny at the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge.
The win gives Pacific a 3-0 record, and a commanding lead in Pool B play. Dustin Sylvester, who scored his fourth goal of the tournament early in the second period, said the effort was crucial.
“We kept pounding the body, knowing sooner or later they would wear down,” Sylvester said. “That was kind of our game plan.”
The Czechs (1-1-1) lost the game as they did many of the one-on-one battles, assistant coach Vladmir Cermak said through an interpreter.
“Of course, we came to win, but we didn’t start well,” Cermak said. “We didn’t win those one-on-one battles, and Pacific played better with the puck. We were behind form the beginning.”
Outshooting the Czechs 15-6 in the first period, Pacific four power plays to gain a 2-0 lead into the first intermission.
Pacific defenceman Nick Ross pinched in on a goalmouth scramble, cashing in the game’s first goal 9:58 into the opening frame. Defenceman Eric Doyle’s point shot made it through heavy traffic for a power-play goal 12:48 into the period.
Czech forwards Miroslav Kopic and Martin Janacek teamed up on a nifty goalmouth passing play, with Kopic finishing off a power-play chance for his second goal of the tournament at the 4:04 mark or the second stanza.
Instead of becoming the start of a Czech comeback bid, the goal motivated Pacific to meet the challenge. Brandon Sutter capped off a give-and go play in the Czech zone with a goal at the 10:42 mark.
Then, Justin Palazzo’s point shot found its way through traffic for Pacific’s fifth goal. Vosvrda pulled himself immediately after the goal, and was replaced by Marek Benda.
Late in the third period, Radek Vlasanek came out of the corner, found some open space in front of the net and fired a shot past Pacific goalie Tyson Sexsmith, but the goal came too late for the Czechs to launch a comeback. Cermak said getting that goal was key rallying point for the next contest.
“We won the third period and can start again the next game. We still hope to make it the semifinal, but the next game against Atlantic is important,” he said.
Pacific plays Germany on Sunday at 7 p.m. in Indian Head, Sask. The Czechs have Sunday off, returning to play Atlantic in Moose Jaw on Monday at 7 p.m.
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