NECAS SCORES TWICE, LEADS CZECHS TO FIRST VICTORY AT U17S
DAWSON CREEK, B.C. – Martin Necas scored twice to lead the Czech Republic to their first victory at the 2015 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge, 3-2 over Canada White on Tuesday afternoon at the Encana Events Centre.
The three points temporarily put the Czechs in second place in Group A, depending on the outcome of Tuesday night’s preliminary round finale between Canada Black and the United States.
Both teams had several scoring opportunities in the opening period, combining for 22 shots on goal, but neither could find the back of the net in a wide-open first 20 minutes.
Early in the second period, Ryan McLeod (Mississauga, Ont./Mississauga, OHL) made a nice play to get the puck over to Nick Suzuki (London, Ont./Owen Sound, OHL), who beat Czech netminder Jakub Skarek high to the glove side to open the scoring.
The Czechs’ top line came through midway through the middle frame; after continuous pressure in front of the Canadian net, Matyas Svoboda hammered in his own rebound to tie the game, and Necas finished a feed from Martin Kaut to put the Czechs ahead for the first time just over five minutes later,
White goaltender Ian Scott (Calgary, Alta./Prince Albert, WHL) was in the crosshairs early in the third period, making a couple of huge stops, but Necas spun in the slot and doubled the Czech advantage midway through the final stanza.
James Hamblin (Edmonton, Alta./Medicine Hat, WHL) set up an exciting finish with his goal at 12:21, roofing a short-side shot over Skarek’s shoulder, but that would be as close as the Canadians would get,
White carried the play in the dying minutes, but Skarek stood tall, helping hand the Canadians their second loss in as many days after a tournament-opening win over Canada Black.
The Canadians end the preliminary round with three points, and won’t finish any higher than third in Group A, meaning they’ll travel to Fort St. John for a quarter-final on Thursday.