SAWCHENKO’S 43 SAVES HELP CANADA EDGE CZECHS AT U18 WORLDS
JASON LA ROSE
ZUG, Switzerland – Zach Sawchenko (Calgary, Alta./Moose Jaw, WHL) stopped 43 of the 45 shots he faced, backstopping Canada’s National Men’s Under-18 Team to a 3-2 win over the Czech Republic on Sunday at the 2015 IIHF Ice Hockey U18 World Championship.
The win keeps Canada perfect through three games in Group B and sets up a first-place showdown with Finland in the preliminary round finale on Tuesday (9:45 a.m. ET/6:45 a.m. PT).
Anthony Beauvillier (Sorel, Que./Shawinigan, QMJHL) scored twice, including the game-winner, and Parker Wotherspoon (Surrey, B.C./Tri-City, WHL) added one for Canada.
Mathew Barzal (Coquitlam, B.C./Seattle, WHL) set up both of Beauvillier’s goals, and sits tied for the tournament scoring lead with Vili Saarijarvi of Finland; both have eight points through three games.
The Czechs got the scoring started when Pavel Zacha slipped a shot through Sawchenko at the 6:21 mark of the first period, but Wotherspoon’s seeing-eye shot found its way through traffic and past goaltender Ales Stezka to tie the game 10 minutes later.
Beauvillier gave Canada its first lead six minutes into the second period, taking a pass from Barzal and snapping a shot under the arm of Stezka, but Radek Koblizek capitalized on a turnover in the Canadian zone to bring the teams even again late in the middle frame.
The Barzal-to-Beauvillier combination struck for a second time early in the third, with Beauvillier banging in his second of the game and third of the tournament on the power play to give Canada the lead for good.
Sawchenko did the rest, stopping all 14 shots he faced in the final 20 minutes. He had 19 saves in the first period and 10 more in the second to record his second win in as many starts.
The Czechs finished with a 45-39 advantage in shots on goal.