JASON LA ROSE
GRAND FORKS, N.D. – Tyson Jost (Kelowna, B.C./Penticton, BCHL) set up two of the three goals in the decisive second period, leading Canada’s National Men’s Under-18 Team to a 3-1 win over Slovakia on Monday at the 2016 IIHF U18 World Championship.
The Canadians improved to 3-0 in Group B, setting up a winner-take-all scenario in the preliminary-round finale Tuesday against fellow unbeaten Finland (4:30 p.m. ET/1:30 p.m. PT).
David Quenneville (Edmonton, Alta./Medicine Hat, WHL), Brett Howden (Oakbank, Man./Moose Jaw, WHL), and Boris Katchouk (Waterloo, Ont./Sault Ste. Marie, OHL) scored the Canadian goals.
Stuart Skinner (Edmonton, Alta./Lethbridge, WHL) made it two wins in as many starts, making 26 saves.
Canada had the edge in the first period, outshooting Slovakia 11-6, but couldn’t find a way past goaltender Roman Durny, who kept the game goalless heading to the first intermission.
But Quenneville finally started the scoring at 3:50 of the second, taking a pass from Jost and showing tremendous patience, carrying the puck all the way to the net before tucking it around Durny.
Howden doubled the Canadian advantage at 8:16, one-timing a pass from Moose Jaw Warriors teammate Noah Gregor (Beaumont, Alta./Moose Jaw, WHL) past Durny for his third goal in two games.
Katchouk benefitted from tic-tac-toe passing in the last minute of the middle frame; Jost carried the puck into the Slovak zone before going cross-ice to Will Bitten (Ottawa, Ont./Flint, OHL), who quickly laid a pass onto the stick of Katchouk in the slot for the 3-0 goal.
Durny once again stood tall in the third period, stopping all 18 Canadian shots, but Slovakia could manage only a single goal, a shorthanded marker by Samuel Bucek after a defensive-zone turnover by Canada.
Overall, the Canadians held a 48-27 advantage in shots on goal.
Canada closes out the preliminary round on Tuesday, April 19 (4:30 p.m. ET/1:30 p.m. PT) against Finland at the Ralph Engelstad Arena, Grand Forks, N.D. All Team Canada games are being broadcast on TSN and RDS.
“I thought we had a really strong second period. We stuck to our game-plan of getting pucks deep and using our speed and size. The Czechs and Slovakia are teams that both sit back and they try and clog up the neutral zone, and that’s something we talked about before the game; just trying to bypass that and get pucks deep. I thought we did that very well in the second and it carried on to the third. Another thing we did really well was our PK; we got into some penalty trouble and our penalty kill really stepped up – we had big blocked shots and that helps out a lot. When you get that sacrifice, it just shows how badly we want it.”
-Tyson Jost (Kelowna, B.C./Penticton, BCHL)
“Teams are doing a really good job with their structure through the neutral zone and entering their d-zone. I thought we definitely had too many turnovers in the first period and we did a much better job minimizing those things, chipping pucks in behind and getting pucks deeper in the second period and that’s the type of thing we can build on. Finland has some great players – they’re skilled, they’re fast, they’ve got depth. There are some real talented players on Finland and it’s going to be a huge test for us.”
–Shaun Clouston, head coach, Canada’s National Men’s Under-18 Team