JASON LA ROSE
WINNIPEG, Man. – Beck Malenstyn (Delta, B.C./Calgary, WHL) and Maxime Comtois (Ste-Martine, Que./Victoriaville, QMJHL) scored two goals apiece, leading Canada’s National Men’s Under-18 Team to a 7-1 pre-tournament win over the Czech Republic on Sunday night.
The game was the first of two for Canada ahead of the 2016 IIHF U18 World Championship; it faces Sweden on Tuesday night at the MTS Centre before heading south to Grand Forks, N.D., for the U18 worlds.
David Quenneville (Edmonton, Alta./Medicine Hat, WHL), Mason Shaw (Wainwright, Alta./Medicine Hat, WHL) and Michael McLeod (Mississauga, Ont./Mississauga, OHL) had the other goals for Canada, while Pascal Laberge (Ste-Martine, Que./Victoriaville, QMJHL) added four assists, all in the opening frame.
The Canadians took control early, netting five goals in a span of 13:04 in the first period.
Malenstyn got the scoring started quickly, beating Czech goaltender Josef Korenar only 3:20 in, before Comtois added his first goal on the power play at 9:49, and Quenneville made it 3-0 just 74 seconds later.
The power play struck again at 12:27, this time off the stick of Mason Shaw, and McLeod capped the offensive outburst at 16:24, sending the Canadians to the intermission with a commanding lead.
Matyas Kantner cut into the Canadian lead four minutes into the second period, getting a shot past netminder Evan Fitzpatrick (Lower Sackville, N.S./Sherbrooke, QMJHL), but Malenstyn and Comtois added their second goals in the final 3:25 of the middle frame.
Canada held an 8-5 advantage in shots on goal in a scoreless third period, and 32-24 overall.
Malenstyn finished with three points, McLeod and Shaw added a goal and a helper apiece, and Jakob Chychrun (Toronto, Ont./Sarnia, OHL) and William Bitten (Ottawa, Ont./Flint, OHL) chipped in with two assists each.
After closing out their pre-tournament schedule Tuesday night (8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT), the Canadians open the U18 worlds against Denmark on Friday in Grand Forks (8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT).