U.S. EDGES CZECHS FOR FIRST WIN AT WJAC
JASON LA ROSE
BONNYVILLE, Alta. – Trevor Janicke scored twice to lead the offence as the United States held on late to beat the Czech Republic 4-2 in the lone game Tuesday at the 2018 World Junior A Challenge.
The win ended a mini losing streak for the Americans, who had dropped preliminary-round games to the Czechs in each of the last two years.
Parker Ford and Ryan O’Reilly had the other goals for the U.S., which did most of its offensive damage in the second period.
Czech goaltender Daniel Dvorak was the story in the first, turning aside all 12 shots he faced to get the game to the intermission scoreless.
But Ford needed just 87 seconds to open the scoring in the middle frame; Bobby Brink took a pass at the side of the net, spun to his backhand and found Ford for a power-play goal and a 1-0 lead.
Janicke doubled the advantage at 16:09, roofing a shot over the glove of Dvorak from in close, and circled out from behind the net to add a second goal less than three minutes later, putting the Americans up three after 40 minutes.
The U.S. looked to be in total control before running into penalty trouble in the latter half of the third period, giving the Czechs an opportunity to get back into the game.
Jan Kern struck on both halves of a five-on-three advantage, both from the top of the crease, to get the European side back within a goal with plenty of time remaining.
Dvorak went to the bench for an extra attacker with three minutes to go, but O’Reilly outmuscled a pair Czechs to pot the insurance marker into an empty net at 17:32.
The Americans will look to confirm their spot in the semifinals when they face Canada East on Wednesday afternoon (2 p.m. MT), while the Czechs will try again for their first win when they take on Canada West on Thursday night (7 p.m. MT).