World Juniors: Canada beat Czechia 5-1
Kent Johnson worked for years to make a move that stunned goalkeepers and hockey fans alike.
On Saturday, he performed it brilliantly, scoring a remarkable goal that gave Canada a 5-1 win over Czechia at the world junior hockey championship.
Johnson delivered the brilliant match-winner into the first 19 minutes of the first inning, picked up the ball on his blade behind the net, picked it up as he glided forward and swirled it over the defender’s shoulder. Czech subject to score the elusive “Michigan” goal.
This move – also known as a target on the racket – is something the Columbus Blue Jackets’ prospects have been honing for about six years.
“I’ve been doing that move since I was 14, and doing it,” he says. “Now it’s just something like in a toolbox.”
Still, pulling it out to give the Canadians a 2-1 lead – a game they never gave up – was exciting.
“It was a big goal, a really good one,” said Johnson, who added an assist in the third half. “I think that is also the period that I am going through. I think I will also pump a lot so that it slips off my skates. “
The play drew raucous cheers from a crowd of 5,135 at Rogers Place. On the ice, Logan Stankoven, Johnson’s teammate, raised his gloved hands above his head and exclaimed “Oh my God!”
“Honestly, it’s probably one of the nicest Michigans I’ve ever seen,” said Canada’s captain, Mason McTavish. “He picks up so quickly and by the end of the first period, the tape isn’t that good. So it’s something special to see. I will definitely watch that over and over again. “
McTavish scored twice for Canada (3-0-0) on Saturday, while Ridly Greig and Tyson Foerster each scored in the net. Jack Thompson, Ronan Seeley and Stankoven each contributed a pair of assists.
Czechia (1-1-1) opened the scoring with a brief first-half goal.
Jaroslav Chmelar was brought into the box after driving fellow New York Rangers prospect Brennan Othmann into the table from behind and leaving the Canadian with a bloody nose.
The play was reviewed and Chmelar was kicked out of the game for misconduct. His team was left to kill a five-minute main penalty.
Rysavy helped the Czechs breathe a sigh of relief when he hit the ball over the crossbar 5:10 in the match. The ball bounced off the net and play continued, but a video review shortly thereafter showed the ball crossing the line.
The way Canada recovers, Othmann said, bodes well for the rest of the league.
“It was just a little bit of adversity. And that’s okay in these games,” he said. “I think that builds more character for the important games, the knockouts. And it just shows that we are resilient. It doesn’t matter who we’re playing with, we’ll carry on. “
It was a busy night in the net for Czech goalkeeper Tomas Suchanek, who saved 52 of 57 shots.
McTavish was the first to beat the opposing keeper, scoring the equalizer at 16:44 to open the scoring by deflecting a long Thompson shot through the traffic.
Seconds earlier, Suchanek had made a brilliant save to preserve his team’s lead. Stationed on the side of goal, Johnson had a quick shot on goal from the wrong position but Suchanek came down in time to save with a diving glove.
“I had a bit of luck,” admitted the Czech goalkeeper. “The ball went into the slot and I saw him going to pass it through and I just put out my glove and he shot it into my glove. I was like “ Oh my god, what just happened? ” I watched the replay and it was pretty fun. I just say to myself “ Good job” and I move on. “
Canada head coach Dave Cameron said he was “worried” early in the game about how well Suchanek was playing.
“This league, now that the games are getting better and the competition is getting stiffer, you have to stick with it,” he said. “(Suchanek) was really good and we tried with it and found a way.”
At the other end of the ice, Dylan Garand made 22 saves to give the Canadians a second win of the tournament.
Canada took a 3-1 lead in goal 4:48 thanks to a power play goal.
Czechia’s Gabriel Szturc was called up for roughness and five seconds into the senior advantage, Greig leaned towards Seeley to score his second goal of the tournament.
Canada drew 1 to 3 in Saturday’s power game while Czechia drew 0 with a score of 2.
Teen phenom Connor Bedard scored Canada’s fourth goal of the night, cutting a sharp pass to McTavish, who was alone at the top of the slot. He managed to get his way and hit a shot past the keeper’s foot to score the second goal of the game at 11:05.
Foerster sealed the score at 7:39 in the third inning, took a pass from Johnson in the middle of the slot, swerved and hit a superb shot past Suchanek to give the Canadians a 5-1 advantage.
Earlier on Saturday, the defending champion USA (3-0-0) remained unbeaten with a 7-0 victory over Austria (0-3-0).
Austrian goalkeeper Leon Sommer has saved 49 of the 56 shots he has faced.
“I like games like that,” he said with a smile. “Lots of photos.”
Saturday’s workload wasn’t the heaviest Sommer had to shoulder in world junior action – he faced 64 shots in an 11-2 loss to Canada before COVID-19 eliminated dropped out of the original 2022 tournament in December.
“I guess I’m getting tough,” said the goalkeeper. “But I love them.”
Saturday’s final game will be against Germany (1-1-0) with a winless Switzerland (0-2-0).
Canada will wrap up its one-leg round-robin match against Finland (2-0-0) on Monday.
The preliminary round continues through Monday, with the quarterfinals set for Wednesday. The semi-finals are scheduled for Friday and the medal matches will be played next Saturday.
NOTE: McTavish leads the league with 10 points (six goals, four assists). â€ ¦ Canada overcame their opponents with a score of 21-4 in the first three games of the tournament. â€ ¦ Both sides are taking a day off after Canada beat Slovakia 11-1 on Thursday while the Czechs lost 4-3 in a penalty shootout to Finland on the same day.
This report by the Canadian Press was first published on August 13, 2022.