JUNIORS END SELECTION CAMP BY BLANKING CZECHS
BOISBRIAND, Que. – Mathew Barzal (Coquitlam, B.C./Seattle, WHL) had a goal and two assists, Mitchell Stephens (Peterborough, Ont./Saginaw, OHL) had two goals and a helper, and Canada’s National Junior Team hopefuls rolled to an 8-0 win over the Czech Republic on Wednesday night.
The third game in three days at camp was the last chance to impress for the 27 players remaining; Hockey Canada will release two forwards, two defencemen and one goaltender to get down to the final 22-player roster.
Connor Ingram (Imperial, Sask./Kamloops, WHL) got the start in goal and stopped all five shots he faced in 30 minutes of work before Michael McNiven (Georgetown, Ont./Owen Sound, OHL) was perfect on the 14 shots sent his way.
Taylor Raddysh (Caledon, Ont./Erie, OHL) had a two-goal outing for the Canadians, and Julien Gauthier (Pointe-aux-Trembles, Que./Val-d’Or, QMJHL), Dillon Dubé (Cochrane, Alta./Kelowna, WHL) and Anthony Cirelli (Woodbrige, Ont./Oshawa, OHL) also found the back of the net.
It took Gauthier only 86 seconds after the puck dropped to get Canada on the scoreboard, outskating the Czech defender before cutting towards the net and finishing off a beautiful individual effort with a forehand-to-backhand deke.
Raddysh doubled the lead at 10:06, putting the finishing touch on a tic-tac-toe play between himself, Barzal and Mathieu Joseph (Chambly, Que./Saint John, QMJHL), and Dubé tallied 1:26 later off a set-up from Stephens for a 3-0 lead after one period.
After outshooting the Czech Republic 12-5 in the opening frame, Canada held an 11-4 advantage in the second period and added two goals to its total.
Joseph made a pretty cross-ice feed to Stephens to make it 4-0 at 6:29, and it was Sam Steel (Sherwood Park, Alta./Regina, WHL) who followed up with a pass to Cirelli just 14 seconds later for the fifth goal.
With the game well in hand Canada put up three more goals in the final period. It took just 1:42 for Stephens to net his second of the game, snapping a shot over the glove of Czech netminder Jakub Skarek.
Just under five minutes later, Raddysh got his second off a give-and-go with Barzal.
Canada rounded out the scoring late; Skarek skated out of his net to play a loose puck, collided with his own defender and left a loose puck for Barzal to bank in for goal No. 8.
The Canadians were goalless on three power-play opportunities while giving the Czechs just one unsuccessful chance with the man advantage.