ANOTHER DAY, ANOTHER SHUTOUT FOR BLACK AT U17 CHALLENGE
JASON LA ROSE
DAWSON CREEK, B.C. – Roman Basran (Abbotsford, B.C./Okanagan, BCMML) picked up where Nolan Maier (Yorkton, Sask./Yorkton, SJHL) left off, stopping all 24 shots he faced as Canada Black shut out the Czech Republic 5-0 on Monday at the 2017 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge.
Following Maier and his 28-save clean sheet on Sunday, Basran helped Black become the first team to record back-to-back shutouts since Sweden at the November 2014 tournament, and the first Canadian team to turn the trick since Ontario in 2010.
Basran needed to come up big early, with the Czechs holding a 10-3 advantage in shots on goal in a scoreless first period.
Jamieson Rees (Hamilton, Ont./Sarnia, OHL) broke through for the first goal just two minutes into the second, pulling off a 360 in the slot before sneaking a shot past Czech netminder Lukas Parik, and Alex Newhook (St. John’s, N.L./Victoria, BCHL) went top-corner off a set-up from Alex Beaucage (Trois-Rivières, Que./Rouyn-Noranda, QMJHL) just 1:39 later to double the lead.
Beaucage added a goal of his own before the end of the middle frame when his shot hit a Czech defender in front and popped up and over Parik before bouncing in off the goaltender’s back to make it 3-0.
The Canadians continued to apply the pressure in the third, and were rewarded with a fourth goal when Newhook raced in alone shorthanded before laying the puck off to captain Sasha Mutala (Vancouver, B.C./Tri-City, WHL) for an easy tap-in and a four-goal lead.
Matthew Robertson (Sherwood Park, Alta./Edmonton, WHL) put one more on the board with less than eight minutes to go, hammering in a one-timer on a Black power play.
Special teams came up huge for the Canadians; they kept the Czech Republic goalless on 10 power-play chances, scored shorthanded and added a goal with the man advantage.
Canada Black will look to finish a perfect preliminary round when it faces the United States in the Group A finale on Tuesday night (7 p.m. MT), right after the Czechs face Canada White in its final round-robin game (2:30 p.m. MT).