BURZAN’S LATE WINNER PUSHES CANADA BLACK PAST CZECHS
SAULT STE. MARIE, Ont. – Luka Burzan (Surrey, B.C./Moose Jaw, WHL) knocked in the game-winner with less than nine minutes left, giving Canada Black its first win of the 2016 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge, 5-4 over the Czech Republic on Monday afternoon.
After hard work down low by the Canadian forwards, Burzan walked out from behind the net, turned and fired in on Czech goaltender Tomas Vlk, the puck just squeezing through on the short side.
Allan McShane (Barrie, Ont./Erie, OHL) gave the school-aged crowd plenty to cheer about, scoring twice, and Chase Wouters (Lloydminster, Alta./Saskatoon, WHL) added a goal and a helper.
The win didn’t come easily for the Canadians, who had to come from behind in the first after Jan Dluhos opened the scoring for the Czechs, going high and hard to the glove side of Canadian goaltender Hunter Jones (Brantford, Ont./Stouffville, OJHL) just 6:31 into the opening frame.
But the line of Wouters, Eric Florchuk (Fort Saskatchewan, Alta./Victoria, WHL) and Nolan Foote (Kelowna, B.C./Kelowna, WHL) answered back twice for Black. Wouters scored first, with 5:44 remaining in the period, standing on the edge of the crease when a bouncing puck worked its way to him from the point.
Florchuk hit the mark four minutes later, coming in late to a scramble in front, and McShane recorded his first of the night with just 23 seconds left in the period, finishing off a beautiful pass from Aidan Dudas (Parry Sound, Ont./Owen Sound, OHL) with a one-timer to the back of the net.
The scoring slowed down in the second and the Czech Republic capitalized to get back within one. Defenceman Tomas Dajcar rushed the puck into the Canadian end, found a lane and beat Jones low to the glove side, sending the Czechs to the intermission down 3-2.
The action picked up again early in the third with the teams exchanging goals just 18 seconds apart. Ondrej Pavel drew the Czechs even when he was left alone at the side of the net, but McShane’s second goal, jammed in from the side of Vlk’s crease, quickly restored the Canadian lead.
That advantage did not last long; Pavel, recording his second of the period, stood untouched in the low slot and buried a pass from Tomas Koblizek at 8:25, briefly tying the game before the Burzan game-winner.
The Czechs wouldn’t go away, though, and had the Canadians stuck in the defensive zone for most of the final three minutes, outshooting Black 9-6 in the final frame and 27-25 over the course of the game.
With the win, Canada Black improves to 1-1-0, while the Czech Republic drops to 0-1-1. The preliminary round comes to an end Tuesday, with the Czechs facing Canada White (12 p.m. ET), before Canada Black closes things out against the United States at 7:30 p.m. ET.