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by Kris Baker / Buffalo Sabres

Sam Reinhart (2014, first round) scored a pair of even-strength goals Tuesday as Canada opened play at the 2014 National Junior Team Summer Development Camp with a 6-2 victory over the Czech Republic.


Serving as Canada’s captain, Reinhart earned high marks as a steady two-way leader down the middle of the ice. He controlled the majority of his draws, employed smart positioning and an active stick on the top penalty killing unit, and was quick with his touch passes while operating on the power play. Consistent throughout, it was easy to see Reinhart’s quick thinking and vision at work when the puck came his way.

A trio that combined for 125 goals and 278 points in 2013-14, Reinhart’s line with Anthony Duclair (NYR) and Nick Ritchie (ANA) was dominant all evening long, sustaining regular pressure while helping steer Canada to a 41-18 shots on goal advantage.

Reinhart got Canada on the board just 1:05 into the opening frame when he accepted a cross-ice feed from Duclair and buried a low wrist shot past Vitek Vanacek (WAS).


The 1-0 score went unchanged until midway through the middle period when Duclair scored a gorgeous unassisted goal in transition to make it a 2-0 game.

Just over a minute later, Jakub Vrana (WAS) tossed a puck into traffic at the front of the net that made it past Tristan Jarry (PIT) for the Czechs’ first goal of the night.

Curtis Lazar (OTT) restored Canada’s two-goal lead when he flipped a wrist shot on net that made it past Vanecek with 3:01 remaining in the second period.

North Bay Battalion forward Nick Paul (OTT) extended Canada’s lead to 4-1 at 3:32 of the third period with a slick forehand-to-backhand move to beat Vanecek from in tight.

Canada kept their foot on the gas as Haydn Fleury (CAR) carried the puck down the left side and shoveled in a knuckleball at 8:04 to make it a comfortable 5-1 lead.

The Czechs got one back with 8:08 left to play when David Pastrnak (BOS) batted in a rebound at the edge of the crease while on a two-man advantage.

Reinhart closed out the scoring with his second goal of the night by cleaning up a Fleury rush behind the Czech net, and taking it to the front for the easy finish. (The official scoresheet lists Toronto draft pick Frederik Gauthier as the goal scorer, but the video clearly verifies Reinhart as the marksman.)


Aaron Ekblad (FLA), the first overall pick in the 2014 Draft, left the game in the third period and did not return after getting stood up at the by 5-foot-11 defenseman Lukas Klok. The workhorse defender will be evaluated Wednesday, but informed reporters afterwards that was okay.

The Czechs were missing forward Vaclav Karabacek (2014, second round), who is not participating in the summer sessions but is considered to be a safe bet to be on the roster when the 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship gets underway December 26.

With one camp victory under their belt, Canada will travel to Sherbrooke, Quebec on Wednesday to take on Team Russia. Sabres prospect Nicholas Baptiste (2013, third round) is expected to be in the Team Canada lineup, while 2015 draft phenom Connor McDavid is also expected to make his camp debut.

For more on all the youngsters in the Sabres pipeline, check out Kris Baker’s web site - You can also follow him on Twitter @sabresprospects for in-game updates throughout the week on any Buffalo prospects that are in action.
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