The Canadian Under-18 select team received goals from six different players on Tuesday en route to a 6-1 victory over the Czech Republic in its second preliminary-round contest of the 2011 Ivan Hlinka
Memorial tournament at Alcaplast Arena in Breclav, Czech Republic.
Following a scoreless opening period, the teams combined for five goals in the second when three-time defending champ Canada opened a 4-1 advantage.
Charles Hudon, the offensive rookie of the year in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League with the Chicoutimi Sangueneens last season, and Sean Monahan of the Ontario Hockey League's Ottawa 67's scored goals 55 seconds apart midway through the second to stake the Canadians to a 3-1 lead.
The victory gives Canada, which dropped a 5-1 decision to Sweden in its tournament opener on Monday, a big boost of confidence heading into Wednesday's final Group A preliminary match against Switzerland before the start of Friday's playoff round. Team Canada was whistled for 11 minor penalties, leading to three power-play goals by Sweden, on Monday. Against the Czechs, the Canadians committed just four minors.
"They touched a hot stove and they got burned (on Monday)," Canada's U18 coach Steve Spott
said. "To their credit they recognized we can't play like that over here. It took them that game last night to find the standard of the refereeing over here."
The coach also feels his club is beginning to find its identity.
"I said to them before the game, and it's no disrespect, that there's no (Steven) Stamkos, (Taylor) Hall or (John) Tavares on this team," he said. "We're going to have to play a meat and potatoes type of game. We're going to have to play a gritty, puck race, puck protection type game.
"It's nice to see the boys rewarded."
Also connecting for Canada were defensemen Morgan Rielly of the Moose Jaw Warriors in the Western Hockey League and Matt Dumba of the WHL's Red Deer Rebels, and forwards Jarrod Maidens of the OHL's Owen Sound Attack and Andreas Athanasiou of OHL's London Knights. Rielly and Dumba, who is Team Canada's captain, are both considered strong candidates to be selected in the first round of the 2012 Entry Draft.
Rielly, Dumba and Maidens also notched assists and Slater Koekkoek the OHL's Peterborough Petes chipped in with three assists for Canada.
Pavel Sedlacek, currently starring for HC Zlin in the U20 Czech league, scored 2:49 into the second to pull the host team into a 1-1 tie. The Czech Republic resumes play on Wednesday against Sweden in Breclav.
Follow Mike Morreale on Twitter at: @mike_morreale