FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – Team Canada Red scored late to beat the Czech Republic 3-2 on Friday night.
The Czech’s found the back of the net first in this one at 7:57 as Adam Najman beat a screened Luke Cavallin to make it 1-0. Patrick Rasin and David Homola were the setup tandem. The Canadian’s evened the score at 15:43 after Alexis Lafreniere fired a shot from just outside the goalie crease past a helpless Czech netminder. Brandon Coe and Bowen Byram had the helpers. The teams skated into the first intermission after a fairly even first 20 minutes.
The Canadian’s came out flying in the second stanza. At 8:34 Alexis Lafreniere and Nick Wong worked a give and go from their own zone to the high slot where Wong wired a shot to the top corner giving Canada a 2-1 lead. The Czech’s didn’t go away and with under three minutes to go in the second, Jaromir Pytlik fired a wrister from the near circle that found space over Cavallin’s glove and evened the score at 2-2. Jonas Peterek and Simon Kubicek were awarded the assists on the goal. Just like after period one, the two teams were tied after period two.
Canada ramped up their style of the game in the third as they nearly scored a couple of times early on but the Czech’s got great goaltending. After a late too many men penalty to the visitors at 17:03 of the final frame the Canadian’s capitalized after Xavier Parent did a spin-o-rama beside the opposing net, slide the puck through the crease where it bounced off defenders skate and slide over the line to give the Canadian’s a 3-2 lead. Dylan Cozens and Justin Barron had the helpers. As that stood as the game-winner.
Luke Cavallin made 25 0f 27 saves in the win.
Alexis Lafreniere led all players with two points.
Team Canada Red assistant coach Luke Pierce said, “I felt that we came out pretty flat in the first and were lucky come out of it tied. As the game went on we started to play more the way we know we can. The third period was our period by far as we were able to establish our game and score the third goal.”
Canada Red forward Alexis Lafreniere felt the Czech’s presented a tough test for his team. He said, “They were very good defensively in their own zone and it was a very hard game but we found a way.
Assistant captain Bowen Byram provided his take on what the team needs to do to bring home the gold medal. He added, “We know we are a good team. We have a lot of good players too. If we move the puck, use out speed we should be fine. We really excited and looking forward to playing the game tomorrow.”
The Czech Republic head coach Petr Haken said, “The loss is tough, but I am pleased with how far we have come, becoming a team. I felt as though we got better and have learned so much after each game.”
In the late game at the Encana Event Centre, the American’s hammered Team Canada White by the score of 9-1 as they used a four-goal first period to cruise to the victory and a spot versus Canada Red in the gold medal game. Jack Hughes led all skaters with three assists as his team outshot the Canadian’s 39 to 19. The States took advantage of an undisciplined White squad scoring on 4 of 10 powerplay chances.
Team Canada White battles the Czech Republic at 2:30 p.m. For the bronze medal. Then at 7:00 p.m. Team Canada Red clashes with the unbeaten United States. Both games will be played at the Encana Event Centre and will be broadcated live on TSN. The gold medal game with also be broadcasted live on Moosefm with the pregame show beginning at 6:45 p.m.