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Schenn's huge game leads Canada over Czechs

Tuesday, 12.28.2010 / 7:03 PM / 2011 World Junior Championship

By Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

BUFFALO -- Brayden Schenn displayed why he was such a monumental addition to the Canadian National Junior Team for the 2011 IIHF World Junior Championship.
 
Schenn, who was added to Team Canada's roster Dec. 4 after being returned to his junior team by the Los Angeles Kings, scored a goal and added 4 assists to lead Canada to a 7-2 victory against the Czech Republic on Tuesday to remain unbeaten in Group B preliminary-round completion at HSBC Arena.
 
"I don't know if it's my best performance, but it's obviously nice to get a game like that," Schenn said. "If it were a bigger game, bigger hype, I'd be more proud of it. Without the support of my teammates, I would not have had 4 assists … they need to put the pucks in. So it's good to get the help from my teammates."
 
Schenn, who had a pair of assists in eight games for the Kings, won a silver medal with Canada at the 2010 WJC in Saskatchewan.

Canada also received a fine effort from captain Ryan Ellis, who had a goal and 3 assists. Jaden Schwartz, Louis Leblanc, Cody Eakin, Tyson Barrie and Jared Cowen also scored to the delight of the thousands of Canadian fans in attendance.
 
Specialty teams played a big role in the outcome as Canada connected for four power-play goals and scored another shorthanded.
 
"It's really important in short tourney or a tourney like this drawing the best teams in the world to have good special teams," coach Dave Cameron said. "The way games are called, it's all about special teams and goaltending."
 
Canada's Olivier Roy made 17 saves to notch his second straight victory. Antonin Honejsek and Jakub Jerabek scored for the Czech Republic, which was outshot 39-19.
 
"We're certainly going into the game with the ambition of a better result," Czech Republic assistant coach Jiri Fischer said. "But we got into penalty trouble, and it went south pretty quickly after that."
 
Despite the victory, Canada did suffer a loss when Zack Kassian was ejected at 5:53 of the second for an illegal hit to the chin. As a result, Kassian will have to sit out Wednesday's game against Norway, per IIHF rules. He was assessed a match penalty after putting his shoulder into the chest of unsuspecting Czech forward Petr Senkerik at the Canada blue line. Senkerik remained motionless on the ice for several minutes before being taken off via a stretcher.

The call gave the Czechs, trailing by a goal, a five-minute power play. Senkerik looked to be conscious as he left the ice and reportedly was reaching for his nose in the tunnel leading off the ice. Tournament disciplinarian Dan Marouelli will have 24 hours to determine whether supplementary discipline  is warranted.
 
"It really doesn't matter what I think; I have no input into it," Cameron said. "Whatever protocol is in place for this will take place and whatever happens, happens."
 
While playing for the Ontario Hockey League's Windsor Spitfires last season, Kassian was suspended 20 games following an open-ice hit on Barrie Colts forward Matt Kennedy.
 
Canada not only survived the five-minute disadvantage, but scored shorthanded when Leblanc converted a feed from Schenn off a nifty 2-on-1 at 9:20 to extend the lead to 3-1. Roy made a sprawling save on a breaking Antonin Honejsek only seconds before Leblanc's first goal of the tournament.
 
"We talked about coming into this tournament and playing the best teams in the world, that it would probably come down to two or three plays that determined the outcome of a game," Cameron said. "That save that led to a goal was probably our turning point (Tuesday). Brayden Schenn was dominant."
 
Schenn admitted he and his teammates are confident no matter who their goaltender is.
 
"Roy is getting better, and that's what you want going into big games," he said. "We're pretty high on him right now and we have good confidence in him. He's played well, but we also have confidence in Mark (Visentin), too."
 
That's good, because more than likely Visentin will get the nod Wednesday against Norway.
 
Instead of the five-minute match penalty rattling the Canadians, the Czech players looked preoccupied at answering the bell for their fallen teammate and completely lost their focus at that point.
 
"Our chemistry is getting better," Schenn said. "To be down a man for five minutes and get that goal is a sign of good team. We're on the right foot on the power play."
 
Ellis converted a pass from Schenn at 13:09 on a delayed-penalty call and Roy pulled for an extra attacker before Eakin connected on a wrist shot from low in the left circle that beat Czech goalie Filip Novotny high on the short side with just 16.3 seconds remaining in the second.
 
After spotting the Czechs an early lead, Canada settled down to connect for two power-play goals in the later stages of the opening period to grab a 2-1 lead into the first intermission.
 
Schenn scored off a shot from the left circle that beat Novotny between the legs at 14:43 before Schwartz fired home a shot from the lower left circle that that caught the long side at 16:40. Team Canada outshot the Czech Republic 14-2 in the first. Schenn, who also assisted on Schwartz's first goal of the tournament, now has a team-leading 7 points in two games.
 
"We don't want to create bad habits and want to keep this going," Schenn said. "If it's 5-1, 6-1, or 3-2, you want to keep the same good habits. I think our team has done that so far. Guys are working hard."
 
Honejsek had given the Czech Republic a 1-0 lead just 49 seconds into the period when he picked up a loose puck and snapped a shot from the left circle that clipped the catching glove of Roy and went into the net. It marked the second time in two games the Canadians yielded the opening goal of the game. Team Canada defeated Russia 6-3 on Sunday after allowing the game's first goal.

Follow Mike Morreale at the WJC at: @mike_morreale

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