Saturday, August 13, 2022. 8:33 PM
(Update : Saturday, August 13, 2022. 8:36 PM)
EDMONTON – This was to be Team Canada’s toughest test since the start of the World Juniors. In the end, it was nothing more than another routine step, a boring passage to the beginning of serious things.
Like the Latvians and Slovaks before them, the Czechs were no match for the Canadian machine on Saturday night. Without much opposition, the host team slid to a 5-1 victory in their penultimate game of the preliminary round.
Don’t let the score fool you: this game was never really close. It’s true, the Czech Republic were the first to score and held on to their lead for a good ten minutes. It was just a mirage. When logic was finally invited to the party, only the excellence of goalkeeper Tomas Suchanek made it possible to lessen the ugliness of the skid.
In his first start of the tournament, the one who spent last season with the Tri-City Americans in the Western Junior League, admirably held the fort against a barrage of 57 shots on target. His most spectacular saves came in the first half, when he performed small miracles at the expense of Olen Zellweger, Kent Johnson and Logan Stankoven.
“Tired, tired and tired,” Suchanek replied deadpan when asked how he felt at the end of his performance.
“He was amazing,” forward Brennan Othmann said after the game. He robbed us a few times in the first ten minutes and I remember looking at Mason [McTavish] on the bench and to have said to him: ‘Ok, we have a match my boy’. We started to create more traffic in front of him and that unblocked. »
“’Nervous’ would be the best word to describe how [Suchanek] made me feel early in the game, joked head coach Dave Cameron. But because he plays in the WHL, we had a good rapport with him. In this tournament, as the competition gets tougher, you have to hang on and persevere. That’s what we did and it finally worked. »
Kent Johnson scores a “Michigan” goal! WOW!
Johnson had his own moment of glory, scoring the game-winning goal with the now-famous “Michigan” maneuver late in the first period. After a fall from Stankoven to the left of Suchanek, Johnson came to retrieve the puck behind the net and stuck it on the blade of his stick before rolling it under the horizontal bar.
“It happened very quickly. I found a loose puck behind the net, there is no defender to the right of the goal, so I decided to try it, ”summed up the author of the feat.
It was the first goal of the tournament for the Columbus Blue Jackets prospect, who had had a difficult start to the competition. He became the fourth player in history to score, in the same year, a goal at the World Championship, the Olympic Games and the World Juniors.
Author of a match of four goals two days earlier, McTavish continued his demolition work by adding a double. The ECJ captain deflected a Ronan Seeley point shot into the back of the net in the first period, then scored on a breakaway staged by Connor Bedard in the second.
McTavish thus increased his hold on the tournament’s leading scorer title. His counter is now at ten points after only three games.
Ridly Greig and Tyson Foerster were the other scorers for Canada.
Dylan Garand was started for a second consecutive game in front of the Canadian net. He was surprised by a shot from Martin Rysavy as Canada took advantage of a five-minute power play early in the game. Canada also needed about ten minutes to find its cruising speed, but in the end, the 22 saves of its goalkeeper were more than enough to keep the team out of danger.
“Our coaches tell us all the time that ups and downs are inevitable in this kind of competition,” McTavish said. It’s clear that we didn’t show the best side of our power game in the first, it’s as if we were sleeping a little. »
“It was just a bit of adversity, minimized Othmann. It’s okay, it happens in this kind of game. It shows that they are a resilient team and it just prepares us for the elimination games to come. »
Canada will conclude the group stage on Monday with a duel against Finland.
ECJ continues its demolition work
ECJ ties on 20th shot
Greig adds to the power play
Superb maneuver by McTavish for his 2nd
Powerful shot from Foerster at close range