WHITE BREAKS OUT, CRUISES PAST CZECHS FOR FIRST U17 WIN
JASON LA ROSE
DAWSON CREEK, B.C. – Jakob Pelletier (Quebec City, Que./Moncton, QMJHL) scored two goals, Graeme Clarke (Ottawa, Ont./Ottawa, OHL) set up four and Canada White finally found its way into win column at the 2017 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge, beating the Czech Republic 7-2 in the preliminary-round finale for both Tuesday.
The win leaves the Canadians set in third place in Group A, while the Czechs will finish fourth. Both teams will travel to Fort St. John for their quarter-finals Thursday, against opposition yet to be determined.
The line of Pelletier, Clarke and Ethan Keppen (Whitby, Ont./Flint, OHL) dominated the first period; Pelletier cleaned up a loose puck to open the scoring for White less than four minutes in, and Keppen knocked in a rebound on the door step to make it 2-0 late in the opening frame.
White doubled up the Czechs in shots on goal in the second period, 12-6, but it took more than 14 minutes to add a third goal to its total, with Jake Lee (Sherwood Park, Alta./Seattle, WHL) wiring a wrist shot short-side on goaltender Nick Malik on the power play.
Pelletier got his second of the game at 18:07 and Connor McMichael (Ajax, Ont./Hamilton, OHL) knocked in his own rebound after a bounce off the end glass to push the advantage to 5-0 after 40 minutes.
Lukas Parik replaced Malik to start the third period for the Czechs.
The Europeans finally got a puck past Taylor Gauthier when Martin Lang rocketed a shot over the shoulder of the White netminder for a power-play goal, but Thomas Pelletier (Quebec City, Que./Drummondville, QMJHL) sprung Joe Carroll (Almonte, Ont./Sault Ste. Marie, OHL) for a breakaway goal just 16 seconds after that to restore the five-goal lead.
Lang and White captain Braden Schneider (Prince Albert, Sask./Brandon, WHL) traded goals in the final five minutes to finish the scoring.
The Canadians had a 35-27 edge in shots on goal.