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Czech Republic records shootout upset over Canada

by Adam Kimelman

Dominik Simon scored the winning goal in the shootout, giving the Czech Republic a 5-4 win against Canada in a preliminary-round game Saturday in Group A of the 2014 World Junior Championship played at Malmo Issatadion.

Simon skated in on Paterson and deked forehand to backhand. As he skated to the left, Paterson followed him but Simon left the puck on his backhand and tucked it behind Paterson for the winner.

"As soon as the coach told me I was taking the shootout, I knew I was going to do it," Simon told the IIHF website. "It was the last shot, so I knew the goalie would react to my first move so I moved to the forehand and then went back. Fortunately, it was successful.

"I haven't tried it a lot but it's harder in practice because the goalie isn't scared of your moves. You look like a jerk when it doesn't work, but in a game it's a good play.”

The Czechs led the game four different times en route to the nation's first WJC win against Canada since 1993, when the country was known as Czechoslovakia.

Canada's loss was its first with coach Brent Sutter behind the bench. Sutter had guided Canada to a 12-0 record in winning gold medals at the 2005 and 2006 WJC and a tournament-opening 7-2 defeat of Germany on Thursday.

It's also Canada’s first preliminary-round loss since the final game of group play in the 2011 WJC.

"[The coaches] said just keep your head up," Canada defenseman Matt Dumba said on TSN. He played despite being sick enough that he missed practice Friday. "It's one game in a tournament that's a long tournament. We got a long way to get to where we want to be. Use this game as a wake-up call. Take positives from it and not really be negative about it. We did some good things. We just have to keep improving each day. If we do that we'll be where we want to be at the end of the tournament."

The result leaves the United States as the only team in Group A to win its first two games. The Americans beat the Czech Republic 5-1 on Thursday and defeated Slovakia 6-3 on Saturday.

"You take it and you move on," Sutter said on TSN. "You got a point out of it. Would we have liked to win? Sure. It's a tournament. You can't always assume you're going to go into a tournament and think you'll win every game. It's adversity you go through in a tournament. You're going to have some adversity in it and this is a little bump on the road that we have to deal with the right way. We don't want to get down about it. We just have to keep plugging away."

David Pastrnak also scored for the Czechs in the shootout, while goalie Marek Langhammer stopped Nicolas Petan and Connor McDavid after allowing a goal to Jonathan Drouin.

David Kampf, Michal Plutnar, Voltech Tomecek and Jakub Vrana scored in regulation for the Czech Republic. Langhammer, a Phoenix Coyotes prospect who plays for the Medicine Hat Tigers of the Western Hockey League, stopped 25 of 29 shots in regulation and overtime.

Drouin and Sam Reinhart each had a goal and an assist for Canada, and Aaron Ekblad and Charles Hudon also scored for Canada. Goalie Jake Paterson made 24 saves.

A wild third period saw the teams combine for five goals and end tied 4-4 after regulation.

The Czechs led 3-2 when Canada was assessed a penalty for too many men on the ice, but Canada managed to tie the game on a shorthanded goal by Ekblad, considered the top defenseman available for the 2014 NHL Draft.

Curtis Lazar raced the puck into the Czech end and went behind the goal. As he raced out the other side he shoveled it to Scott Laughton, who was supporting the play. Canada's captain lugged the puck to the net where his stuff attempt was stopped, but Ekblad jumped into the play and wired a shot from the left side past Langhammer at 11:09.

The Czechs did take advantage of the power play when Vrana, another top 2014 draft prospect, scored at 12:45. A scrum off a faceoff to the right of the Canadian net saw the puck drift back to Vrana, and his blast zipped past Paterson to give the Czechs a 4-3 lead.

The advantage lasted 16 seconds as Hudon again got Canada even. Hudon took a drop pass from Anthony Mantha, dragged the puck back between the circles and fired a wrist shot past Langhammer at 13:01.

The game remained tied through the end of regulation and overtime, thanks in part to a diving play by Canada defenseman Adam Pelech to short-circuit a near-breakaway by the Czechs.

The Czech Republic took its third lead of the game at 4:07 of the third. McDavid took a hooking penalty to negate a Canada power play, and on the ensuing faceoff in the Canada end, Tomecek pushed the puck between the skates of Canada’s Bo Horvat, spun around the Vancouver Canucks prospect and fired a low shot under Paterson to give the Czechs a 3-2 lead.

Canada tied the game on a 4-on-3 power-play goal 24 seconds into the third period. Plutnar was assessed a roughing minor at the buzzer to end the second period, giving Canada the man-advantage to start the third. Plutnar was angry at McDavid, who shot the puck into the Czech net after the horn sounded to end the second period. In his rush to get at McDavid, Plutnar ran over a linesman.

Seconds into the third Reinhart pulled the puck off the wall in the Czech end, walked toward the middle of the zone and slid the puck to Drouin between the circles. Drouin fired a shot through a Mantha screen to make it 2-2.

The Czech Republic took a 2-1 lead on the only goal of the second period. With the Czechs skating with the man-advantage, Ronald Knot tipped a puck past Ekblad behind the Canadian net. He tried to get it in front but Canada's Kerby Rychel picked it up. Czech forward Radek Faksa fell on him as he tried to clear it. The puck went to Plutnar at the Canada blue line and he fired a shot through traffic in front that tipped off the stick of Canada's Taylor Leier and went over Paterson's shoulder at 17:16.

Sutter said the middle 20 minutes was not how his team needs to play in order to be successful.

"The second period our team play got away from us," he said on TSN. "We got off how we want to play and how we have to play. When that happens we gave up some rushes we didn’t want to give up. They got an odd-man rush on us. Things like that we need to shore up."

Canada drew even on a power-play goal by Reinhart at 15:50 of the first. Dumba and McDavid cycled the puck inside the Czech blue line until McDavid spotted Horvat open below the goal line to the left of the Czech net. Horvat one-touched the puck to Reinhart alone in the slot, and his one-timer beat Langhammer for Reinhart's second goal in as many games.

The Czech Republic opened the scoring on Kampf's goal at 7:10. Ekblad fanned on a clearing attempt deep in his zone and Kampf jumped on the puck. He backhanded a pass to Ondrej Kase below the goal line. Kase carried the puck in front but lost it. The puck rolled in front and Derrick Pouliot couldn't dig it out from between his skates. Ekblad tried to poke it out but it went to Kase, who had come around the other side of the goal. His shot went off Kampf's stick and past Paterson.

It was the second straight game Canada had allowed the game's first goal, something it also did in its two pre-tournament games. However, the mood in the Canada locker room remained positive and focused on the future.

"It [the tournament] is not over," Paterson said. "There's a long way to go in the tournament. Lot of positives. Just try to win our next game, that's all we can focus on."

Both teams return Monday, Canada against Slovakia and the Czech Republic against Germany.

Russia 7, Switzerland 1 -- Russia scored seven straight goals after giving up the game's opening score in a win in a Group B preliminary-round game at Malmo Arena.

Alexander Barabanov and Damir Zhafyarov each had a goal and an assist, and Ivan Barbashev, Andrei Mironov, Bogdan Yakimov, Vyacheslav Osnovin and Mikhail Grigorenko also scored as Russia improved to 2-0.

Goalie Andrey Vasilevskiy, a Tampa Bay Lightning prospect, stopped 25 of 26 shots.

Jason Fuchs scored for Switzerland. Goalie Sascha Rochow made 27 saves.

Russia remains tied with Sweden atop Group B with 2-0 records. Russia, however, has outscored its opponents 18-1; the Russians beat Norway 11-0 on Thursday.

Both teams play again Monday, Russia against Finland while Switzerland plays Norway.


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