Bedard ignites Canada
by Andrew Podnieks|03 MAY 2021
Canada's Dylan Guenther #22 celebrates with Shane Wright #15 after scoring against Czech goaltender Oliver Satny.
photo: Chris Tanouye / HHOF-IIHF Images
Connor Bedard had two goals and three assists, including a goal and two assists in the first eleven minutes of the opening period, to lead Canada to a 10-3 win over the Czechs in quarter-finals action. The win takes Canada to the semi-finals against a yet-to-be determined opponent on Wednesday in Frisco.

"The Czechs did an excellent job of making it hard on us," said winning coach Dave Barr. "They worked hard. They're a fast team. They made it hard for us to get out of our own zone. They held us to no shots for about ten minutes. The one thing I was very pleased with was that we got some ugly goals, traffic at the net, rebounds. That was good. I think we got four or five like that tonight."

Canada remains the one team capable of recording the first "perfect gold" in U18 play. It has won every game in regulation, has never trailed, and has never been tied after 0-0.

"Coach Barr always wants us to come out hard, start strong, and set the tone at the start," said captain Shane Wright. "Getting that first goal really sets the tone and helps the rest of the game."

"I couldn't get out of bed this morning," Bedard chuckled afterwards. "I was exhausted, but sometimes the puck is going your way, I guess."

"We knew that Team Canada has so many great players and played so well during the group stage," said Czech coach Jakub Petr. "And then they score four goals on the first six shots, so it was tough for us for us to get back on track. In the end, they had great skills and are well coached. They play a fast game." 
Tonight, Wyatt Johnston started and finished the play to get Canada on the board at 2:01 after a bit of a slow start. He forced a turnover in the Czech end and skated to the net while Bedard chased the puck behind the net. In one motion, Bedard swiped the puck out front, and Johnston wasted no time in firing a shot over the glove of Tomas Suchanek to make it 1-0.

Two minutes later, Canada doubled its lead on another Czech miscue deep in its own end. This time Conner Roulette stick-checked Jakub Altrichter off the puck, and in one motion fired a high shot over that same glove of Suchanek at 4:20.

The quick start continued two-and-a-half minutes later when a shot from the side boards by Danny Zhilkin was tipped in front by Bedard for a 3-0 lead. That spelled the end for Suchanek, who gave up three goals on five shots in seven minutes of playing time.

Canada incurred a penalty soon after, and the Czechs got one back on the power play when Jakub Brabenec’s one-timer found the net before Ben Gaudreau could slide over to cover the post.

Unfazed, Canada padded its lead thanks to a soft pass in the centre-ice area by Bedard to a streaking Logan Stankoven. His shot squeezed through the pads of Oliver Satny and trickled over the goal line, a shot he should have saved.

Bedard helped Canada go up 5-1 early in the second period on a power play. His shot from in close rang loud off the post, but the puck came right to Dylan Guenther who converted. But as before, the Czechs found a goal just when it seemed a rout was on. This time a shot that went off the skate of defenceman Nolan Allen landed on the stick of Jaroslav Chmelar, and he backhanded the puck into the open side.

The Czechs played their best hockey at this point, hemming Canada in and dominating possession. But they didn’t get many quality chances, and a late Canada goal made it 6-2 and blunted any hopes of a Czech comeback. This time it was a fine pass by Brennan Othmann, who spotted Guenther alone in the slot for a quick one-timer. 

Bedard got his second at 6:54 of the third, swiping a loose puck in, and just 15 seconds later Ryan Winterton added a seventh Canadian goal on a similar play. The Czechs got one back off a nice shot from Gabriel Szturc, but it was way too little, way too late.

Brett Harrison added a goal a little later for Canada on a clean break and Wright made it an even 10 on the power play with a wicked shot.
Canada vs Czech Republic (QF) - 2021 IIHF Ice Hockey U18 World Championship