CANADA BEATS CZECHS, WINS GROUP AT WORLD JUNIORS
JASON LA ROSE
OSTRAVA, Czech Republic – Barrett Hayton (Peterborough, Ont./Arizona, NHL) and Dylan Cozens (Whitehorse, Y.T./Lethbridge, WHL) each scored a goal and set up three others, and Canada’s National Junior Team scored five times on the power play in a 7-2 win over the Czech Republic to wrap up preliminary-round play Tuesday at the 2020 IIHF World Junior Championship.
The victory clinches first place in Group B for the Canadians and sets up a quarter-final match-up with Slovakia on Thursday (9 a.m. ET/6 a.m. PT).
Seven different players scored for Canada, and 10 recorded points. Joe Veleno (Kirkland, Que./Grand Rapids, AHL) finished with a goal and two assists, while Joel Hofer (Winnipeg, Man./Portland, WHL) made 17 saves.
The Canadian power play was the story of the first period, equaling a tournament record with four goals.
Veleno returned to the line-up with a bang, taking a rebound off a Czech leg and beating goaltender Lukas Parik before five minutes had elapsed, and Nolan Foote (Kelowna, B.C./Kelowna, WHL) showed off his shot once again midway through the opening frame, rocketing a one-timer past Parik.
Canada took full control on a five-minute man advantage; Hayton made it 3-0 after a long video review at 13:29, sneaking a shot just across the goal-line, and Connor McMichael (Ajax, Ont./London, OHL) dug the puck out of a scramble in front for the 4-0 goal 61 seconds after that.
Parik exited due to injury after the McMichael goal, giving way to Nick Malik after four goals on nine shots.
After a scoreless opening 11 minutes in the second period, the teams exploded for a record-setting spurt.
Vojtech Strondala got the hosts on the board at 11:10 when he went skate-to-stick and beat Hofer on the power play, and Libor Zabransky snapped a quick shot past the Canadian netminder 14 seconds later to make it a two-goal game.
But Canada responded just 10 seconds after that when a Ty Smith (Lloydminster, Alta./Spokane, WHL) dump-in took a fortuitous bounce in front of the net and onto the stick of Liam Foudy (Scarborough, Ont./London, OHL) to make it 5-2.
The three goals in 24 seconds were the fastest combined three goals in World Juniors history.
Cozens added another man-advantage marker at 12:30, tipping in a shot from Calen Addison (Brandon, Man./Lethbridge, WHL) to send the Canadians to the dressing room with their four-goal lead restored.
Canada guided home the win in the third period, outshooting the Czechs 12-4.
Jared McIsaac (Truro, N.S./Halifax, QMJHL) rounded out the scoring midway through the final stanza, getting a seeing-eye shot from the point through traffic and past Malik.
The IIHF World Junior Championship returns to Canadian ice next year when Edmonton and Red Deer, Alta., host the 2021 World Juniors. Fans have until Jan. 5 to sign up for the Priority Draw for their chance to purchase tickets in both cities. Visit HockeyCanada.ca/Tickets for more information.