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World U-18: Czech Republic, Switzerland cruise

by Adam Kimelman /

The Czech Republic and Switzerland won in comfortable fashion Friday on Day 2 of the 2013 IIHF World Under-18 Championship in Sochi, Russia.

A pair of 2013 NHL Draft prospects playing in North America keyed the Czech Republic's 7-0 rout of Latvia in their opener in a Group A game played at Bolshoy Ice Arena.

Patrik Zdrahal, who plays for the Acadie-Bathurst Titan of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, had a hat trick, and teammate Dominik Kubalik, who plays for the Sudbury Wolves of the Ontario Hockey League, had five assists and a team-high nine shots on goal.

Kubalik, who had 34 points in 67 OHL games, is No. 146 on NHL Central Scouting's midterm ranking of North American skaters for the 2013 draft.

"It was not easy," Kubalik said. "This is the first game for me in the national team after a long season in Canada."

In goal, Rene Svoboda stopped all 18 shots he faced. Svoboda, who plays for Vitkovice in the Czech junior league, is No. 8 on Central Scouting's midterm ranking of European goaltenders.

Latvia goalie Maksims Resetnikovs, who plays for HK Riga in Latvia, made 44 saves on 51 shots.

The Czech Republic led 3-0 after one period powered by a pair of power-play goals, then scored twice in 37 seconds late in the second to make it 5-0 after two periods.

"It was a good start for us," said Zdrahal, who had 20 goals and 47 points in 64 QMJHL games this season. "The power play was working and my teammates were able to find me with some great passes."

Latvia has been outscored 14-0 in its two tournament games, including its 7-0 loss to Finland on Thursday. They are off until Sunday when they play the United States.

The Czechs return to action Saturday against the United States.

"It is a big game and it won't be like this," Kubalik said. "It will be a lot harder."

In Group B action at Shayba Arena, Pius Suter scored twice and Jason Fuchs had a goal and an assist to lead Switzerland to a 4-1 win against Slovakia. It was Switzerland's first game; Slovakia dropped to 0-2 including its 4-1 loss to Canada on Thursday.

Switzerland took a 2-0 lead six minutes into the game on goals by Fuchs, a 2013 draft prospect listed at No. 69 in Central Scouting's midterm ranking of European skaters, and Suter, a 2014 NHL Draft prospect who played this season with Zurich in the Swiss junior league.

"Scoring so early was a great feeling," Suter said. "I feel relieved, but it doesn't matter who scores a goal. Every goal is a goal for the team, no matter who scores it."

Suter scored again midway through the second to make it 3-0.

Switzerland next faces Sweden on Saturday. Slovakia is off until Sunday, when it plays Sweden.


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