Johnson dazzles, Canada tops Czechia 5-1 in world junior hockey championship

·4 min read

EDMONTON — Mason McTavish scored twice and Canada stayed undefeated at the world junior hockey championship with a 5-1 win over Czechia on Saturday.

Kent Johnson left jaws on the floor with a stunning lacrosse-style goal and added an assist in the third period. Ridly Greig and Tyson Foerster also found the back of the net for the Canadians (3-0-0), while Jack Thompson, Ronan Seeley and Logan Stankoven each contributed a pair of assists.

Czechia (1-1-1) opened the scoring with a short-handed goal by Martin Rysavy.

It was a busy night in net for Czech goalie Tomas Suchanek, who stopped 52 of 57 shots. Canada's Dylan Garand made 22 saves to collect his second win of the tournament.

Both sides were coming off a rest day after Canada routed Slovakia 11-1 on Thursday while the Czechs fell 4-3 in a shootout to Finland the same day.

Canada will wrap up round robin play against Finland (2-0-0) on Monday.

Foerster sealed the score 7:39 into the third period, collecting a pass from Johnson in the middle of the slot, winding up and blasting a massive shot past Suchanek to give the Canadians a 5-1 advantage.

Teen phenom Connor Bedard set up Canada's fourth goal of the night, slicing a crisp pass to McTavish, who was alone at the top of the slot. He stickhandled his way in and put a shot through the goalie's legs for his second goal of the game 11:05 into the second.

The Canadians took a 3-1 lead 4:48 into the frame thanks to a power-play goal.

Czechia's Gabriel Szturc was called for roughing and five seconds into the man advantage, Greig tipped in Seeley's shot for his second goal of the tournament.

Canada was 1 for 3 on the power play Saturday while Czechia went 0 for 2.

The host nation took the lead late in the first thanks to a highlight-reel goal that stood up as the game winner.

Johnson scooped the puck on to his stick blade behind the net, picked it up as he glided forward and swirled it in over Suchanek's shoulder to score an elusive "Michigan" goal 19 minutes into the game.

McTavish put away the equalizer 16:44 into the opening frame, deflecting in Thompson's long blast through traffic.

McTavish, the Canadian captain, leads the tournament with 10 points (six goals, four assists).

Seconds earlier, Suchanek made an eye-popping stop to preserve his team's lead. Stationed at the side of the net, Johnson got a quick shot off on the out-of-position netminder but Suchanek slid over just in time to make a diving glove save.

A short-handed goal gave Czechia an early 1-0 cushion.

Jaroslav Chmelar was sent to the box after running fellow New York Rangers prospect Brennan Othmann into the boards from behind and leaving the Canadian with a bloody nose.

The play was reviewed and Chmelar was ejected with a game misconduct while his team was left to kill a five-minute major penalty.

Rysavy gave the Czech's some breathing room, putting a shot up under the crossbar 5:10 into the game. The puck bounced out of the net and the play continued, but a video review moments later showed the puck had crossed the goal line.

The Columbus Blue Jackets prospect has two goals in the tournament.

Earlier on Saturday, the reigning champion Americans (3-0-0) remained undefeated with a lopsided 7-0 victory over Austria (0-3-0).

Austrian goalie Leon Sommer stopped 49 of the 56 shots he faced.

"I love those kind of games," he said with a smile. "Lots of shots."

Saturday's workload wasn't the largest Sommer has shouldered in world juniors action — he faced 64 shots in a 11-2 loss to Canada before COVID-19 scrubbed the original 2022 tournament in December.

“I guess I get the tough ones,” the goalie said. “But I love those.”

Saturday's final game will pit Germany (1-1-0) against winless Switzerland (0-2-0).

The preliminary round continues through Monday, with the quarterfinals set for Wednesday. The semifinals are scheduled for Friday and the medal games will be played next Saturday.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 13, 2022.

Gemma Karstens-Smith, The Canadian Press