Brendan Gaunce scored a pair of goals and added an assist to lead Canada to a 6-2 win against the host Czech Republic in a preliminary-round game at the 2012 IIHF World Under-18 Championship.
Team captain Matt Dumba had a goal and an assist, and Kerby Rychel and Sam Reinhart each had a goal and two assists in a game played at Kajot Arena in Brno.
Gaunce, No. 13 on NHL Central Scouting's final ranking of North American skaters for the 2012 NHL Draft, opened the scoring 9:26 into the game. After Houfek scored later in the first, Gaunce put Canada ahead to stay just 29 seconds later.
Scott Laughton and Reinhart added goals as Canada took a 4-1 lead after 20 minutes and never looked back.
The win comes two days after Canada was upset by Finland 4-2 on Saturday.
"It was a much better effort and much better game," Canada coach Jesse Wallin told Hockey Canada's website. "The guys were challenged. Our last game, against Finland, was nowhere near the way we need to play and we really went after the boys hard to buy in. It was a make-or-break game, it was a must-win, it was a Game 7. They had to step up and rise to the occasion."
Canada next faces the U.S. on Tuesday, the final day of preliminary-round play, for the top spot in Group A. The U.S. is unbeaten and hasn't given up a goal in its first three games. Canada can win the group and earn a bye into the semifinals if they beat the U.S. by at least three goals.
"They're a very good hockey team," Wallin said. "They're very organized and very structured, they've been together as a group so they know one another. They're going to be everything we can handle without a doubt.
"Our team got better today. [Tuesday is] going to be a new challenge. It's going to be another big game. But we feel a lot more prepared for it now after the effort we had tonight."
In the second game played in Brno, Artturi Lehkonen had a pair of goals as Finland beat Denmark 5-1. Goalie Jean Auren -- ranked No. 4 by Central Scouting in its final ranking of European goalies -- stopped 18 of 19 shots in his first action of the tournament.
Teuvo Teravainen, Central Scouting's second-ranked European skater, had a pair of assists and won 12 of 15 faceoffs.
Finland goes into Tuesday's preliminary-round finale against the Czech Republic third in Group A, and with a chance to win the group if Canada beats the U.S. on Tuesday.
In the early game Monday, played at Ziminy Stadion in Znojmo, Roberts Lipsbergs completed his hat trick by scoring with 8:04 left in the third to break a 4-4 tie and give Latvia a 5-4 win against Germany in Group B.
Lipsbergs, a left wing who plays for Riga in the Russian junior league, is No. 96 on Central Scouting's final ranking of the top European skaters available for the 2012 draft.
Latvia is 2-2 and is finished with preliminary-round play. Germany, which slipped to 1-2, finishes early-round play Tuesday against Switzerland.
In the second game, Russia rebounded from its upset loss to Germany on Saturday with a 6-0 defeat of Switzerland.
Andrei Vasilevski, Central Scouting's top-rated European goaltender, stopped all 24 shots he faced. Anton Slepyshev, a left wing who plays for Novokuznetsk in the KHL, had a goal and two assists to spark Russia's offense. He's No. 10 on Central Scouting's final ranking of European skaters.
Russia now goes into Tuesday's preliminary-round finale against unbeaten Sweden with a chance to still win Group B and earn a bye into the semifinals.
The top three teams in each group following the end of Tuesday's games advance to quarterfinal-round play, which starts Thursday.
Contact Adam Kimelman at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK