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HALIFAX, N.S. – Canada's National Junior Team kicked off the 2023 IIHF World Junior Championship with a loss, falling to Czechia 5-2 on Monday night.
- Shane Wright (Burlington, Ont./Seattle, NHL) redirected a point shot to open the scoring just past the midway mark of the first period, and added an assist.
- Connor Bedard (North Vancouver, B.C./Regina, WHL) rounded out the Canadian scoring.
- Olen Zellweger (Fort Saskatchewan, Alta./Everett, WHL) and Dylan Guenther (Edmonton, Alta./Arizona, NHL) chipped in with one assist apiece.
- Benjamin Gaudreau (Corbeil, Ont./Sarnia, OHL) made 12 saves before Thomas Milic (Coquitlam, B.C./Seattle, WHL) stopped 10 shots in relief.
- Canada outshot Czechia 38-27.
Canada vs. Germany – Wednesday, Dec. 28 (7:30 p.m. AT/6:30 p.m. ET)
TSN and RDS, the official broadcast partners of Hockey Canada, is providing extensive coverage of the 2023 IIHF World Junior Championship, broadcasting all 31 tournament games. TSN Radio is also providing comprehensive tournament coverage.
“It obviously was not the result we wanted, but [the Czechs] are a good hockey club. We got ourselves into some tough spots and did not play as disciplined as we would have liked, and it is tough to kill off that many penalties. I do not think [we took the Czechs lightly], but I think we played as individuals at times. We did not play as connected or as fast as we have been playing, but we have to give the Czechs credit. They played a tight game, and we need to learn from this and hit the reset button.”
- Head coach Dennis Williams (Stratford, Ont./Everett, WHL) on the opening-night loss
“[Czechia] was the better team tonight. We gave them way too many opportunities and made it way too easy for them. We did not make it hard on them in the defensive zone, and they were able to skate through the neutral zone easily. We took too many penalties, and that is something we need to clean up for our next game. Hats off to them, but we will take a lot of things away from tonight and look to improve for our next game.”
- Wright on improving for next game
“We knew that if we did not bring our best game that the Czechs would be a difficult team to play against. There is a little bit of disbelief right now, but we did not fight hard enough to get ourselves back into the game. We believe we are still a threat in this tournament, and although this is a tough way to start we need to look at this as a learning opportunity.”
- Brandt Clarke (Nepean, Ont./Los Angeles, NHL) on takeaways from the loss
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