UMEÅ, Sweden – Philip Tomasino (Mississauga, Ont./Niagara, OHL) had a goal and an assist in the decisive second period, and Canada’s National Men’s Under-18 Team erased an early deficit to beat the Czech Republic 6-2 in the preliminary-round finale Tuesday at the 2019 IIHF U18 World Championship.
The Canadians finished atop Group A with a perfect 4-0 record, and will face Latvia in the quarter-finals on Thursday (1:30 p.m. ET/10:30 a.m. PT).
Canada dominated the final 40 minutes, outshooting the Czechs 45-11 and scoring five unanswered goals.
Early on, though, it was the Europeans who had the advantage. Ondrej Volrab gave the Czechs the lead just 4:25 in, getting a point shot through traffic and past Canadian goaltender Nolan Maier (Yorkton, Sask./Saskatoon, WHL) on the power play, and Jan Mysak jumped on a turnover at the offensive blue-line and set up Marcel Barinka for the 2-0 goal only 92 seconds after that.
It was all Canada from there. Alex Newhook (St. John’s, N.L./Victoria, BCHL) got the Canadians on the board before the end of the opening frame, coming out of the penalty box and taking a feed from Jamieson Rees (Hamilton, Ont./Sarnia, OHL) before beating netminder Lukas Parik.
The puck never seemed to leave Canadian sticks in the second period; they outshot the Czechs 30-7 in the stanza and turned a deficit into a lead before the end of 40 minutes.
Dylan Holloway (Bragg Creek, Alta./Okotoks, AJHL) tied it less than two minutes in off a set-up from Tomasino, and Tomasino spun in the slot and beat Parik through the legs at 15:12 to put Canada ahead 3-2.
The offensive onslaught continued in the third, with three goals in three minutes.
Nathan Légaré (Montreal, Que./Baie-Comeau, QMJHL) made good on a two-man advantage at 11:51, hammering a one-timer past Parik, Rees tipped in a shot from Jordan Spence (Cornwall, P.E.I./Moncton, QMJHL) at 13:37 and captain Peyton Krebs (Okotoks, Alta./Winnipeg, WHL) finished off a tie-tac-toe passing play at 14:57 to cap the scoring.
Tomasino, Newhook, Rees and Holloway finished with a goal and an assist each, while Maier finished with 23 saves.
Canada outshot the Czechs 58-25 overall.
“We had a tough start, but we got better as the game went on. I think [Dylan Holloway’s] line (with Tomasino and Pelletier) stepped up and brought us back together. We still had a few lapses, but it was a strong finish and a good step into the quarter-finals.”
– Krebs on continuing to improve
“We didn’t have our best start going down early, but we stayed confident, played hard and the game started to turn in our favour. It was a game filled with lots of penalties, so we have to bear down on the power play and score some more goals. Overall, we played well in the second and third and came out with the win. We’re confident going into the quarter-finals and we know what we need to do to be successful.”
– Dylan Cozens (Whitehorse, Y.T./Lethbridge, WHL) on overcoming an early deficit