December 13, 2018
GAME 4, 5-4 SO CZECH REPUBLIC
Canada West now 2-2-0 at World Junior A Challenge
by Justin Rose
After being blanked by the Russians 3-0 on Wednesday, Canada West fell 5-4 in a shootout to the Czech Republic Thursday night at the RJ Lalonde Arena, in Bonnyville, Alberta.
The loss was especially tough as Canada West had lead 4-2 late into the third period, in a game that featured 85 shots on goal (46-39 Canada).
Vojtech Strondala and Jan Kern scored 59 seconds apart in the third period to tie the game and Strondala netted the game-winner in the shootout
Not surprisingly it was the goaltenders who stood out – Tomas Vomacka and Matthew Radomsky (Winnipeg, Man./Steinbach, MJHL) combined to stop 78 shots, plus seven of 10 attempts in the shootout.
With the game on his stick in the fifth round, Strondala slowly worked his way in slowly before going five-hole on Radomsky to get the Czechs into the win column and put them in the driver’s seat for a semifinal spot.
The Canadians looked to be in charge with a two-goal lead and less than 13 minutes to go, but Strondala knocked in a pass from Jan Bambula to get the Czechs within one at 7:13 and Kern found a loose puck in a scramble in front of Radomsky to bring the Europeans even at 8:15, sending the game to overtime.
The Czechs struck for an early lead; Zdenek Sedlak beat Radomsky with a quick shot off a set-up from Bambula just 76 seconds after the puck dropped.
Harrison Blaisdell (Abbotsford, B.C./Chilliwack, BCHL) answered for West three minutes later, poking in a loose puck that had squeezed through Vomacka, and Mathieu Gosselin (Quebec City, Que./Merritt, BCHL) forced a turnover behind the net before setting up Riley Hughes (Westwood, Mass./Victoria, BCHL) to put the Canadians up 2-1 after 20 minutes.
Austin Wong (Cochrane, Alta./Okotoks, AJHL) pushed the lead to two just 31 seconds into the second period, snapping in a shot from the slot.
That looked to be the score heading to the second intermission, but Bambula banged in a Strondala rebound for a power-play goals in the final minute of the middle frame, making it a 3-2 game through two.
Blaisdell added a second goal on a Canadian power play at 6:27 of the third period, going skate-to-stick before swatting a backhand past Vomacka, but the Czechs were even less than two minutes after that.
Blaisell now leads the tournament with 4G-1A in four games played.
West captain T.J. Lloyd (Lloydminster, Alta./Spruce Grove, AJHL) had the best Canadian chance in overtime, ringing a shot off the cross-bar, and Radomsky turned away a Lukas Rousek breakaway as time expired to get the game to a shootout.
Bambula and Alex Newhook (St. John’s, N.L./Victoria, BCHL) traded goals in the first two rounds before Strondala ended it.
The Czechs are right back at it Friday night in the prelim finale, looking to secure their semifinal spot against Canada East (7 p.m. MT), while West won’t see the ice again until its Saturday semifinal.
GAME 3, 3-0 RUSSIA (December 12, 2018)
Yaroslav Askarov was perfect in a 31-save performance, backstopping Russia to a 3-0 win over Canada West in a battle of unbeaten teams Wednesday night at the 2018 World Junior A Challenge.
Askarov became just the second goaltender to post a WJAC shutout against Canada West, joining Swedish puck-stopper Mathias Israelsson, who stopped all 37 shots he faced in a preliminary-round game in 2011.
“We started the tournament off strong, which is good because we put ourselves in a good position. We didn’t necessarily have the game that we wanted today, but we just have to have a short memory for that. Our only focus now is the Czechs and how we’re going to get past them,” said Canada West captain T.J. Lloyd (Spruce Grove, AJHL).
The Russians, who handed West its first loss and solidified their hold on first place, did all their offensive damage in the first 25 minutes, chasing Canadian starter Matthew Davis (Calgary, Alta./Spruce Grove, AJHL) in the process.
Nikolai Burenov started the scoring on a first-period power play, swatting in the rebound of a Vasily Podkolzin shot to put Russia up by a goal after an evenly-matched opening 20 minutes.
Aleksandr Gordin jumped on another rebound to make it 2-0 just 83 seconds into the second period, and Maksim Groshev took advantage of miscommunication to score shorthanded at 5:01, ending the night for Davis after three goals on 12 shots.
Matthew Radomsky (Winnipeg, Man./Steinbach, MJHL) was lights out in relief, turning aside 16 shots.
The Canadians carried the play in the middle frame, outshooting Russia 16-9 on the back of three power plays, but Askarov was up to the task.
A four-minute man advantage with less than seven minutes to go gave West one final chance to find a way past the netminder, but the Russian penalty kill kept the shutout intact.
Already assured of a semifinal spot, the Canadians close out their preliminary-round schedule Thursday night against the Czech Republic (7 p.m. MT), while Russia will try and finish off a perfect prelims Friday against the United States (2 p.m. MT).
|10||Reilly Funk||L||6’3||190||12/23/00||Portage la Prairie, MB||Portage (MJHL)|
|11||Alexander Campbell||L||5’11||155||2/27/01||Châteauguay, QC||Victoria (BCHL)|
|12||Mathieu Gosselin||R||5’9||160||5/18/99||Quebec City, QC||Merritt (BCHL)|
|15||Dylan Holloway||L||6’1||192||9/23/01||Bragg Creek, AB||Okotoks (AJHL)|
|16||Harrison Blaisdell||L||5’11||173||3/18/01||Abbotsford, BC||Chilliwack (BCHL)|
|17||Riley Hughes||R||6’1||180||6/27/00||Westwood, MA||Victoria (BCHL)|
|18||Massimo Rizzo||L||5’10||180||6/13/01||Burnaby, BC||Penticton (BCHL)|
|19||Austin Wong||R||5’11||196||10/26/00||Cochrane, AB||Okotoks (AJHL)|
|20||David Silye||R||5’11||184||3/2/99||Arnprior, ON||Penticton (BCHL)|
|21||Ethan Leyh||L||6’0||187||1/28/01||Port Moody, BC||Langley (BCHL)|
|22||Alex Newhook||L||5’11||190||1/28/01||St. John’s, N.L.||Victoria (BCHL)|
|23||Matt Osadick||L||5’11||180||2/8/00||Grande Pointe, MB||Swan Valley (MJHL)|
|24||Alex Swetlikoff||L||6’3||190||7/6/01||Kelowna, BC||Vernon (BCHL)|
|2||Jérémie Bucheler||R||6’4||205||3/31/00||Saint-Laurent, QC||Victoria (BCHL)|
|3||Mason Snell||L||6’0||195||6/18/00||Clarington, ON||Penticton (BCHL)|
|4||Jack Judson||R||6’0||175||2/26/00||White Rock, BC||Vernon (BCHL)|
|5||Luke Bast||L||5’9||170||11/20/00||Red Deer, AB||Brooks (AJHL)|
|6||Carter Berger||L||6’1||200||9/17/99||North Vancouver, BC||Victoria (BCHL)|
|7||T.J. Lloyd||R||5’8||179||11/15/99||Lloydminster, AB||Spruce Grove (AJHL)|
|8||Layton Ahac||L||6’3||195||2/22/01||North Vancouver, BC||Prince George (BCHL)|
|1||Matthew Davis||R||5’11||173||6/16/01||Calgary, AB||Spruce Grove (AJHL)|
|31||Matthew Radomsky||L||6’2||185||6/21/99||Winnipeg, MB||Steinbach (MJHL)|