Canada Black proved on Monday that you never want to give up at an international event, coming back from an early 2-0 deficit to beat the Czech Republic 4-3 in a shootout.
After Canada’s goaltending did much of the work yesterday thanks to a tremendous effort by Jacob McGrath, the story looked a little different on Monday for Canada Black. A highly touted young goalie, Saint John Sea Dogs prospect Alex D’Orio had a rough few minutes to start the game against the Czech’s, surrendering two almost identical goals early.
At 8:45 in the first, defenseman Daniel Bukac’s wild slap shot went directly under D’Orio’s glove on the right side, giving the Czech’s the early 1-0 lead. Then, just over 15 seconds later, Jakub Galvas’ point shot went in on a very similar shot, quickly extending the Czech lead to two goals before Canada Black even had a chance to get started.
The Czech’s were forced with a very tough situation early in the period. Canada’s defenseman Nolan Kneen looked ready to tackle whoever dared to skate in with their head down in the offensive zone, and unfortunately for the Czech’s, it would see star player Filip Zadina have to leave the game after a very dangerous collision.
The penalty on the play wouldn’t affect the Canadians, who played strong defensively. It would translate into a goal heading back the other way, with exceptional QMJHL star Joseph Veleno sending the pass off to Michael Rasmussen for an even strength goal. D’orio would also turn his game around, staying focused and keeping his team involved in a period that saw the Czech’s dominate the shot clock by a count of 14-2.
Canada Black needed to work hard to make up for a weak start to the game, so why not go out and score a highlight real goal? Speedy Regina Pats forward Jake Leschyshyn did just that after stealing the puck in the neutral zone, using his swift skating to absolutely blow by three Czech defenders and deke out goaltender Tomas Vomacka, scoring their second goal on just seven shots in the game.
The Czech’s weren’t too pleased, so they went back and answered with a goal of their own. Just over a minute after Canada scored the game-tying marker, Zadina, who returned to the game following a first period head shot, came back and fired one past D’orio, giving the Czech’s the one goal advantage again heading into the intermission.
Canada Black hadn’t been very good for most of the game, but their shooting percentage was definetly solid. On just their sixth shot of the third period, Jocktan Chainey would stun the Czech bench with a wrist shot that Vomacka couldn’t stop, tying the game up at three apiece to force overtime.
Overtime didn’t solve anything, so for the first time in the World Under-17 Challenge, the game would require a shootout. Both teams ended up scoring a goal in the skills competition, but it would be the extra one from Canadian star Leschyshyn that would close the book on the comeback as Canada Black managed to win it 4-3.
Canada Black will play the United States on Tuesday in what should be one of the best games of the tournament, hitting the ice at 9:00 pm EST in Dawson Creek. The Czech’s aren’t done with Canada just yet, as Canada White will look to avenge a painful loss to USA earlier on Monday with a 4:30 pm start in Fort St. John.
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