BEDNARD BLANKS CZECHS AS U.S. OPENS WJAC WITH WIN
JASON LA ROSE
COBOURG, Ont. – Ryan Bednard stopped all 17 shots he faced to record the shutout, backstopping the United States to a 6-0 win over the Czech Republic in its opening game Monday night at the 2015 World Junior A Challenge.
The Americans, the three-time defending gold medallists, have won 14 in a row at the tournament; their last loss was a 4-2 setback at the hands of Canada East in the semifinals of the 2011 WJAC in Langley, B.C.
Six different goal-scorers paced the U.S. offence, and 14 players recorded at least one point.
Carson Meyer wasted no time getting the scoring started, going bar-down over the glove of Czech netminder Dominik Groh for a quick 1-0 lead just 1:55 in, the lone goal of the first period.
The U.S. dominated the second, outshooting the Czechs 17-2 and pushing its lead to four.
Max Zimmer made it 2-0 midway through the middle frame, finishing off a pretty passing play on the power play, and Ross Colton beat Groh with a rocket off the post and in at 17:08 for a three-goal advantage.
Andrew Peeke added another goal 22 seconds after Colton’s marker, taking a drop pass in the slot from Keegan Ford and snapping a quick shot past Groh to put the Americans in control through 40 minutes.
Callahan Burke was the fifth American to put his name on the scoresheet, beating Groh from the slot early in the third, and Rem Pitlick rounded out the scoring with 8:33 left, walking out from the corner and slipping a shot past the Czech goaltender.
Bednard was at his best in the final period as the Czechs pushed to find the scoreboard, but he became the second American in as many years to post a tournament-opening shutout; Eric Schierhorn made 24 saves to blank Switzerland 7-0 last year in Kindersley, Sask.
The Americans will face Canada West on Tuesday night in a first-place showdown in Group B (7 p.m. ET), while the Czechs know they’ll finish third in the group and will wait for Tuesday’s play to conclude to find out who, where and when they’ll play in Wednesday’s quarter-finals.