CANADA TOPS CZECHS, TAKES OVER TOP SPOT AT WORLDS

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DAVID BRIEN

May 12 2014 ISN – MINSK, Belarus – Joel Ward (North York, Ont./Washington, NHL) had a goal and an assist and James Reimer (Morweena, Man./Toronto, NHL) made 31 saves to lead Canada’s National Men’s Team to a 4-3 win over the Czech Republic at the 2014 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship on Monday.

The win temporarily moves Canada into first place in Group A; the Canadians have two wins and an overtime loss, but half the group has yet to reach the three-game mark.

Kyle Turris (New Westminster, B.C./Ottawa, NHL), Nathan MacKinnon (Cole Harbour, N.S./Colorado, NHL) and Morgan Rielly (West Vancouver, B.C./Toronto, NHL) had the other Canadian goals, all in the second period.

Roman Cervenka, Jiri Novotny and Roman Polak scored for the Czechs, who outshot Canada 34-19.

The European side opened the scoring just five minutes in; Vladimir Sobotka lifted a pass over the stick of a sliding Jason Garrison and Cervenka beat Reimer for a 1-0 lead.

But Canada tied the game 4:01 later thanks to hard work from Sean Monahan (Brampton, Ont./Calgary, NHL), who stripped a Czech defenceman and fed Ward for a one-timer than beat Jakob Kovar over the right shoulder.

The Canadians dominated the second period, outshooting the Czechs 11-3, and were rewarded with a trio of goals.

Turris gave Canada its first lead at 3:22, burying a rebound past Kovar.

MacKinnon and Rielly extended the advantage with goals 17 seconds apart late in the middle frame, taking advantage of a high-sticking major given to Czech forward Jan Kovar.

First it was MacKinnon at 16:07, hammering in the rebound of a shot from Ward, followed at 16:24 by Rielly, whose wrist shot from the point found its way through traffic and past a screened Kovar to make it 4-1.

“It was really good for our power play to start clicking there,” said Braydon Coburn (Shaunavon, Sask./Philadelphia, NHL). “It gave us a little cushion to play with in the second period.”

Despite the Canadians carrying the momentum, it was the Czechs who came out firing in the third period; they directed more shots at Reimer in the third period (18) than they had in the first two combined (16).

Novotny and Hertl scored 49 seconds apart to cut Canada’s lead to a single goal with seven minutes to go, but that would be as close as it would get.

Canada will enjoy two days off before it sees the ice again at Chizhovka Arena; it faces Denmark on Thursday (9:30 a.m. ET/6:30 a.m. PT), live on TSN.

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Scott Harrigan
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