CANADA FLEXES OFFENSIVE MUSCLE IN PRE-WJC OPENER
JASON LA ROSE
LONDON, Ont. – Taylor Raddysh (Caledon, Ont./Erie, OHL) led a balanced offence with two goals and two assists, helping Canada’s National Junior Team to a 9-0 win over the Czech Republic in its pre-tournament opener Wednesday ahead of the 2018 IIHF World Junior Championship.
The Canadians got goals from eight different players and at least one point from 15, scoring twice in the first period and twice in the second pulling away with a dominating final 20 minutes.
Carter Hart (Sherwood Park, Alta./Everett, WHL) earned the shutout, making 18 saves.
Maxime Comtois (Longueuil, Que./Victoriaville, QMJHL) was first onto the scoresheet, finishing a tic-tac-toe passing play with a tap-in to make it 1-0 just past the midway mark of the first period.
Robert Thomas (Aurora, Ont./London, OHL) doubled the advantage before the end of the opening frame, playing give-and-go with Raddysh for a 2-0 lead after one.
The power play went to work early in the second period, with Jake Bean (Calgary, Alta./Calgary, WHL) wiring a wrist shot upstairs on the short side past Czech goaltender Jakub Skarek at 5:14.
Boris Katchouk (Waterloo, Ont./Sault Ste. Marie, OHL) added another with less than three minutes to go in the second, hammering a slap shot through traffic and through Skarek to put Canada up 4-0 after 40 minutes.
The floodgates opened for the Canadians in the third period, with five goals in just under six minutes.
Raddysh was first at 8:25, knocking in a centering pass from Thomas, and he added a second goal just 27 seconds later, this one on the power play, to make it 6-0.
Jonah Gadjovich (Whitby, Ont,/Owen Sound, OHL) converted the Canadian touchdown at 10:11, swatting a rebound past Skarek on the backhand, and Drake Batherson (New Minas, N.S./Cape Breton, QMJHL) snapped home a quick snap shot at 13:17.
Cal Foote (Kelowna, B.C./Kelowna, WHL) finished the offensive onslaught at 14:22, slipping a shot five-hole on Skarek and chasing the Czech netminder in favour of Josef Korenar.
Canada held a 32-18 advantage in shots on goal.
The Canadians return to the ice for their second and final pre-tournament game Friday (7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT) when they take on Switzerland in Hamilton, Ont. Canada opens the 2018 IIHF World Junior Championship against Finland on Boxing Day.