Edmonton, AB --
The "C" of red moved north for the match-up between Canada and The Czech Republic which saw the Canadians blank the Czechs 5-0 and dominate their second straight game in preliminary World Junior action on Wednesday.
Fans came out in full force waving their flags and wearing their Maple Leaf's proudly in support of the Canadians. Rexall Place was beaming with National pride as the Canadian players came out on the ice. The fans were not disappointed with the effort.
Ottawa Senator's prospect, Mark Stone, was the first to get his name in the scoring column at the five minute mark in the first period. He had a chance to double up his stats with a rare penalty shot with mere seconds left in the first frame but Petr Mrazek, the Czech goalie, made a stellar pad save to keep the game within one and didn't hide his emotions with an obvious fist pump to celebrate the save.
"It doesn't bother me, I have all the support from my buddies on my team," Stone commented, "We were really dedicated to get the three points in the end"
Stone's opening marker was his fourth in goal of the tournament.
The second period was a tight checking affair. Both teams had their chances aided by five power play chances which included a Czech five on three opportunity. However, it was the Canadians that took advantage with a late powerplay goal by forward Ryan Strome, a New York Islander draft pick, at the 3 minute mark. A minute-and-a-half later, Brett Connolly showed why he cracked the line up of the Tampa Bay Lightning with a hard fought goal to put the Canadians up by three.
Both teams came out flying to start the third period. The Czechs had an early two man advantage and, once again, failed to capitalize due to an aggressive penalty kill by Team Canada. At the 11 minute mark in the third, Tanner Pearson made a spectacular pass from behind the net to teammate Mark Scheifele who buried his second of the tournament to put the Canucks up 4-0.
"I was putting alot of pressure on myself to go out and be able to get a few (goals)," Scheifle stated, "I look forward to continuing to work hard and doing whatever it takes to get the win."
The Canadians continued their assault with a power play marker at the five minute mark scored, again, by Winnipeg Jets prospect, Mark Scheifele.
Team Canada looked confidant in their victory. They will carry that momentum with them as they prepare for their next game tomorrow night against Denmark at 6:00 pm at Rexall Place in Edmonton, Alberta.
Goaltender Scott Wedgewood received the call from Coach Don Hay and didn't dissapoint. He stopped all 26 shots he faced to earn the shutout and even registered an assist in the contest.
"For my first win in the competition round it's obviously a good one to get out of the way" said Wedgewood, "For the team it was great for us to keep moving up the standings and to get a shutout was definately even sweeter for me."