TRINEC, CZECH REPUBLIC -- Josef Vosicek scored twice to lift the Czech Republic to a 3-1 pre-tournament game over Canada's National Under-18 Team on Sunday.
The game was a tune-up for a three-nation tournament involving the two clubs and the Under-18 team from Slovakia, which begins on Thursday.
Vincent Lecavalier of Rimouski of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, staked Canada to a 1-0 lead with a nifty goal on a breakaway at 4:50 of the first period and that lead held up until 6:00 of the second period.
Petr Chec tied the game at that point, beating Canadian goalie Mathieu Chouinard of the Shawinigan Cataractes of the QMJHL, also on a breakaway. Vosicek slipped a wraparound shot past Chouinard at 12:40 of the second period to make it 2-1, then tapped in Michal Herzig's shot at 4:56 of the final period to complete the scoring.
"We started strong, especially in the first period, when we missed numerous opportunities," said head coach Claude Julien, who coached the Hull Olympiques to the Memorial Cup championship last season. "As the game progressed we seemed to run out of gas as jet-lag set in.
"Without a doubt, we were extremely pleased with the will and the effort the players showed."
After the game, the teams put on an exhibition shoot-out for the 1,500 spectators who attended the match. Canada won that exhibition 3-2 when Blair Betts beat the Czech goalie on a wrist shot during the second rotation of five individual shooters from each team.
Canada plays two more pre-tournament games against the Czech Republic today in Trinec and Wednesday in Jihlava. The club opens the three-game tournament on Thursday in Znojmo against the Czechs. On Friday Canada plays Slovakia in Zdar, where the tournament final will be held on Sunday, August 17.
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