By DAVID BRIEN
IMATRA, Finland – Rourke Chartier (Saskatoon, Sask./Kelowna, WHL) scored the only goal, and Mackenzie Blackwood (Thunder Bay, Ont./Barrie, OHL) earned the shutout as Canada’s National Junior Team blanked the Czech Republic 1-0 on Sunday in the second of three tune-ups prior to the 2016 IIHF World Junior Championship.
One day after being on full display in a 7-1 win over Belarus, Canada’s offence was held in check by the Czechs and goaltender Vitek Vanecek.
After a scoreless opening period where Canada dominated 11-5 in the shots-on-goal department, the red-and-white representatives finally got on the board at the 13:32 mark of the second.
Julien Gauthier (Pointe-aux-Trembles, Que./Val-d’Or, QMJHL) won a battle on the forecheck and fed Anthony Beauvillier (Sorel, Que./Shawinigan, QMJHL), who found Chartier driving to the net for a one-timer to open the scoring.
While that would turn out to be the game’s only goal, it wasn’t a 60 minutes without excitement.
Playing in his first game for Canada, Blackwood made numerous acrobatic saves and held off the Czech power-play on its four opportunities. Canada would also fail to score with the man advantage, going 0-for-5 in the game.
Hockey Canada will announce Canada’s National Junior Team roster on Sunday night ahead of its final pre-tournament game against Sweden in Helsinki on Wednesday (12 p.m. ET/9 a.m. PT).
Canada opens the world juniors on Boxing Day against the United States.