CANADA BLANKS CZECH REPUBLIC IN PARA CUP OPENER
PARADISE, N.L. – Powered by two goals from hometown favourite Liam Hickey (St. John’s, N.L.) and a one-goal, two-assist performance from team captain Tyler McGregor (Forest, Ont.), Canada’s National Para Hockey Team rolled to a 6-0 win over the Czech Republic on Sunday at the 2019 Canadian Tire Para Hockey Cup.
Greg Westlake (Oakville, Ont.), Alexis Auclair (Saint-Hyacinthe, Que.) and James Dunn (Wallacetown, Ont.) also scored for Canada, which got a three-assist outing from Zach Lavin (Okotoks, Alta.).
Dominic Larocque (Quebec City, Que.) and Corbin Watson (Kingsville, Ont.) split the game between the pipes for Canada. Larocque made two saves in 23 minutes of work and Watson turned aside three Czech attempts in the remaining half of the affair.
Period one of the game was a showcase for Czech Republic masked man Michal Vapenka, who finished the game with 28 saves. The Canadian skaters unleashed a gale force of offensive pressure in the initial frame, including over five point-blank attempts, but Vapenka refused to blink.
Canada outshot the Czech Republic 12-2 in the opening period.
Veteran forward Westlake ultimately solved Vapenka at 7:07 of the second period for the eventual winner, rifling the puck into a gaping cage after receiving a back-door pass from Lavin for a power-play goal.
Canada outshot the Czech Republic 6-3 in the middle stanza.
Period three was all Canada as it outscored Czech Republic 5-0 and outshot it 16-0.
Hickey sent the Newfoundland and Labrador faithful into a frenzy just 26 seconds into the period by burying McGregor’s centring pass, and did it again just 32 seconds later with a powerful snipe that sailed over top of an outstretched Vapenka.
Auclair put the game out of reach at the 1:56 mark of the frame, beating Vapenka with a shot past his right arm.
Dunn and McGregor proceeded to round out the scoring with goals at 4:53 and 10:57, respectively.
Canada will attempt to up its win total to two when it takes on Russia on Monday night (7 p.m. NT).