OTTAWA, Ont. – Anthony Cirelli (Woodbridge, Ont./Oshawa, OHL) scored two goals in support of goaltender Connor Ingram (Imperial, Sask./Kamloops, WHL) as Canada’s National Junior Team posted a 5-0 pre-tournament win over the Czech Republic on Wednesday night.
Ingram made 21 saves to continue Canada’s impressive shutout streak; counting games at selection camp – including an 8-0 win over the Czechs last week – and its first two pre-World Juniors games, the Canadians have gone almost 264 minutes without giving up a goal.
Tyson Jost (Kelowna, B.C./University of North Dakota, NCHC) added a goal and an assist in the win, and Dylan Strome (Mississauga, Ont./Erie, OHL) and Julien Gauthier (Pointe-aux-Trembles, Que./Val-d’Or, QMJHL) also found the back of the net.
After a four-goal outburst in the first period of its pre-tournament opener against Finland on Monday night, the Canadians again jumped out to a big lead in the opening 20 minutes against the Czechs.
Canada started the scoring just 2:13 after the puck dropped when Cirelli crashed the net to redirect a pass from Blake Speers (Sault Ste. Marie, Ont./Sault Ste. Marie, OHL) past Czech netminder Daniel Vladar from in close, and Jost made it a two-goal lead on the power play at 10:59, one-timing in a beautiful cross-ice no-look pass from Nicolas Roy (Amos, Que./Chicoutimi, QMJHL).
Strome capped the first-period scoring with just over three minutes to go, beating Vladar with a wrist shot from the slot. The Canadian Tire Centre has been good to the Canadian captain, who recorded his first NHL point there in his NHL debut with the Arizona Coyotes on Oct. 18.
Canada struck for a second time with the man advantage midway through the second period when Jost set up Gauthier for a one-timer that eluded a screened Vladar, putting the Canadians up 4-0 after two.
Outshooting the Czech Republic 25-14 through 40 minutes, Canada managed just a single shot on goal in the third, but Cirelli made it count, going to the backhand for his second of the game at 14:09.
Canada’s National Junior Team will conclude its pre-tournament schedule on Friday night (7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT), facing off against Switzerland at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto.
It opens the 2017 IIHF World Junior Championship on Boxing Day against Russia (8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT).
Dominique Ducharme, head coach, Canada’s National Junior Team:
“Overall, we were better than Monday [against Finland]. We took fewer penalties, [and] were more consistent through all 60 minutes. We aren’t yet perfect, but we’re happy with how we’re progressing.”