QUICK-STRIKE OFFENCE LEADS U.S. TO OPENING WIN AT U17S
DAWSON CREEK, B.C. – Jacob Tortora and Joey Cassetti scored 18 seconds apart early in the first period, pacing the United States to a 6-1 win over the Czech Republic on Sunday night at the Encana Events Centre as part of the 2015 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge.
The Americans have won 14 consecutive preliminary round games at the tournament, dating back to 2012.
Sasha Chmelevski and Scott Reedy added goals 42 seconds apart late in the second period for the U.S. Reedy finished with two goals, and Tommy Miller had the final American marker in the final minutes of the third.
U.S. goaltender Dylan St. Cyr was outstanding between the pipes, stopping 26 of the 27 shots he faced.
Tortora opened the scoring at 3:58, sneaking a sharp-angle shot past Czech goaltender Jakub Skarek, and Chmelevski set up Joey Cassetti just moments after that for a very quick 2-0 lead.
Ten minutes after the Cassetti goal, Brady Tkachuk danced around a Czech defender and got off a shot that Skarek spilled into the path of Reedy, who buried the rebound into an open net.
The Czechs kept it a three-goal game for most of the second, but were again done in by two goals in rapid succession; Chmelevski made it 4-0 at 18:20, knocking in a rebound after Grant Mismash stole the puck in the Czech zone, and Reedy showed off some fancy stick work before flipping his second goal past Skarek at 19:02.
St. Cyr frustrated the Czechs in the first two periods, making 19 stops in the opening 40 minutes.
The European side finally got on the board at 4:27 of the third when Filip Zadina found the puck in the corner and dished it out front to Matyas Svoboda who deked out St. Cyr and went top shelf.
Miller roofed a backhand over Skarek with 4:38 left to finish the scoring for the Americans.
The Czechs were done in by a power play that went goalless in six chances. The U.S. was 0-for-2 with the man advantage; both chances came in the final 12 minutes, with the game well in hand.
Both teams are back in action tomorrow in Dawson Creek. The U.S. will play Canada White in the early game (2:30 p.m. MT), before the Czech Republic faces Canada Black (7 p.m. MT).