Canada’s goaltender Joel Hofer makes the save on Czech Republic’s Otakar Sik during first period action at the World Junior Hockey Championships on Tuesday, December 31, 2019 in Ostrava, Czech Republic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz

Team Canada powers way to 7-2 win over Czech Republic

Canadians to face Slovakia in quarter-finals of world junior hockey championships

OSTRAVA, Czech Republic — Canada scored four power-play goals in a dominant first period Tuesday to beat the Czech Republic 7-2 and finish first in Group B at the world junior hockey championship.

Joe Veleno, in his return from suspension, Nolan Foote, Barrett Hayton and Connor McMichael scored on the man advantage in a span of nine minutes 49 seconds, making the tournament hosts pay for a complete lack of discipline at the tightly called under-20 international event.

After the Czechs pushed back with two quick goals in the second from Vojtech Strondala and Libor Zabransky inside a raucous Ostravar Arena, Liam Foudy and Dylan Cozens, on another power play, put the game out of reach.

Jared McIsaac rounded out the scoring in the third.

Joel Hofer got his second consecutive start in goal for the Canadians, who will face Slovakia in the quarter-finals Thursday.

Hayton and Cozens each added three assists for the 17-time gold medallists on New Year’s Eve. Veleno added two helpers of his own.

Czech goalie Lukas Parik found himself in a shooting gallery early, stopping just 5 of the 9 shots he faced before leaving with a lower-body injury after McMichael scored Canada’s fourth. Nick Malik, the No. 3 netminder with starter Lukas Dostal already hurt, came on in relief.

Canada finished the preliminary round with a 3-1 record — the only blemish coming in an embarrassing 6-0 loss to Russia in its second game.

The other quarterfinal matchups will see Sweden meet the Czechs, the United States take on Finland and Switzerland tangle with Russia.

Russia beat Germany 6-1 in Group B’s early game, while the Swedes beat Slovakia and the Swiss upset the Finns to grab second in Group A. As the last-place teams in their respective pools, Germany and Kazakhstan will play a best-of-three relegation series for a spot at next year’s event in Edmonton and Red Deer, Alta.

Veleno, who was back in the lineup after serving his one-game ban for a head-butting incident, got things started at 4:41 when he caught Parik out of position after Hayton’s initial shot was blocked on Canada’s first man advantage.

With the energetic home fans whistling in hopes of causing a distraction, Foote then blasted a one-timer upstairs for his third on another power play at 9:57 before Czech forward Otakar Sik was assessed a five-minute major and a game misconduct for spearing Canadian defenceman Bowen Byran in the groin.

Another penalty made in a two-man advantage, and Hayton scored his third just 20 seconds later at 13:29 — a goal that just crossed the line despite Parik’s best efforts and needed a video review of more than seven minutes.

McMichael then got in on the action just 61 seconds later when he popped home his second at the side of the net to tie a tournament record with four power-play goals in one period as the large pockets of Canadian support among the sellout crowd of 8,693 celebrated.

READ MORE: Hofer makes 18 saves as Canadian juniors dump Germany 4-1

Canada was once again without star winger Alexis Lafreniere, the projected No. 1 pick at the 2020 NHL draft, but assistant coach Andre Tourigny said Tuesday morning that the reigning Canadian Hockey League player of the year went through some warmup stretching with teammates and looked “really good.”

Coached by former NHLer Vaclav Varada and minus injured star forwards Jan Jenik and Jan Sir, the Czechs made it 4-1 when Strondala, who was only added to the roster Tuesday, jumped on a Hofer rebound at 11:10.

Zabransky then scored his fourth of the world juniors 14 seconds later when Canada couldn’t get the puck deep at the offensive blue line, but Foudy took advantage of a strange bounce off a dump-in to score his second just 10 seconds after that.

Cozens then got in on the action, deflecting a point shot on yet another man advantage 56 seconds later.

McIsaac scored Canada’s seventh midway through the third.

After surrendering a combined 10 goals in two games to open the world juniors — including an eye-popping six against Russia in the country’s worst defeat in tournament history — Canada put in a much better effort in Monday’s 4-1 win over Germany.

Hofer got the call in that one ahead of Nico Daws, who allowed eight goals on 50 shots in just over four periods of action, with Canada wobbling after that defeat to Russia.

The 19-year-old from Winnipeg steadied things for a fragile group with an 18-save performance — including three big stops in the second period with his team up 1-0 — and was handed a second-straight start 24 hours later.

Hofer came in having played both ends of a back-to-back six times this season for the WHL’s Portland Winterhawks, with a 5-1-0 record in the first game and a perfect 6-0-0 mark in the second.

THE CANADIAN PRESS

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter 

IIHF world junior hockey

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

BREAKING: B.C. Day weekend wildfire near Harrison ‘out of control’

Blaze grew from 1.5 hectares to 10 hectares overnight

Local B.C. Transit busses ramp up COVID-19 protection

Busses being retrofitted with driver doors

BREAKING: Wildfire burns near Harrison Hot Springs

1.5 hectare fire is reportedly human caused

Fraser Valley Bandits release top forward Cameron Forte

A team leader through four games of the CEBL Summer Series, Forte has been cut loose

Provincial government responds to Ryder Lake bad internet complaints

Anne Kang, Minister of Citizens’ Services, responded to a pair of letters sent to Victoria

VIDEO: Otter pups learn to swim at B.C. wildlife rescue facility

Watch Critter Care’s Nathan Wagstaffe help seven young otters go for their first dip

Canadians can travel to Hawaii in September; no quarantine with negative COVID test

Travellers will be required to pay for their own tests prior to arriving

Alberta to require masks at schools this fall, but still no mandate in B.C.

B.C. students are also set to return to classrooms in September

Anonymous letters tell Vancouver Island family their kids are too loud

Letter said the noise of kids playing in Parksville backyard is ‘unbearable’

Police lay out details of mental health response in Abbotsford over long weekend

APD officers assist mental health team for three hours yesterday, man sent to hospital with injury

Michael Buble among 13 British Columbians to receive Order of B.C.

Ceremony will be delayed to 2021 due to COVID-19

U.S. border communities feel loss of Canadian tourists, shoppers and friends

Restrictions on non-essential travel across the Canada-U.S. border have been in place since March 2`

Rollout of COVID-19 Alert app faces criticism over accessibility

App requires users to have Apple or Android phones made in the last five years, and a relatively new operating system

Most Read