Canada CAN
23 MAY 2023
Czechia CZE
Preliminary Round
16:20Arena Riga
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Game details
STOLC Miroslav
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Canada takes 2nd place
By Andrew Podnieks | 23 MAY 2023
Today's Canada-Czechia wasn't just another great tilt between these rivals; it was to decide second place in Group B as well.
Tyler Myers scored the go-ahead goal at 4:09 of the third period and it held up, leading Canada to a 3-1 win over Czechia on the final day of preliminary-round play. Lawson Crouse added an empty netter with 35.6 seconds remaining to seal the win.

Myers moved in off a faceoff in the Czechia end and Jack Quinn fed him a perfect pass in front. Myers looked hard and snapped a shot between the pads of Karel Vejmelka.

"Really good faceoff win and we put the guy in the middle in a tough position with Quinner coming over the top," Myers described. "He has to make a decision, and Quinner made a nice play to me, and I was able to finish it."

Canada now finishes second in Group B with a record of 4-1-1-1 and 15 points, and will play Finland in one quarter-finals. Czechia is now third with 13 points and a 4-0-1-2 record and could finish fourth, depending on the result of tonight's Latvia-Switzerland game. Latvia currently has 11 points.

Canada outshot the Czechs, 44-17. Scott Laughton had a pair of assists for the victors.

"I think our group was still looking to get to the level we had to. We just hadn’t seen it yet," Myers added. "I think we got there tonight. It’s good for us to feel it in the first and third periods. I didn’t like our second, but I thought we responded how we needed to in the third. We just need to keep that level going."

"The first and third periods, that’s the way we need to play," offered captain Tyler Toffoli. "It just shows how good we can be and the second period we got away from it, but we found a way to win the game and that’s the most important thing. That’s what we set out to do. Monty [Goalie Samuel Montembeault] made some big saves; we killed some penalties and scored on the power play, so it was a good performance."

"The first period, Canada was better," admitted Michal Kempny. "They came out playing very fast. They were winning battles, so they were more on the puck in the attacking zone. The second period was better for us. We had a couple of good chances and a goal. But overall, they were the better team, and they won."

Indeed, coming out with its most determined first period of the tournament, Canada dominated from start to finish and was full measure for its 1-0 lead. The Canadians were hard on the puck, effective in the corners, and peppered Karel Vejmelka with shots, even though many weren’t necessarily dangerous. 

Canada also got the only two power plays of the first period, and although the first one proved fruitless the second gave the team its first goal. Cody Glass came in off the point and fired a no-look pass to Peyton Krebs, and his shot to the far side fooled the goalie who overplayed a shot to the short side. 

That goal came with 47.6 seconds remaining in a period Canada outshot the slower Czechs by a 19-4 margin.

But over the intermission, Czechia coach Kari Jalonen must have said a word or two because in the second period the roles were reversed. Canada was on its heels most of the 20 minutes while the Czechs moved the puck around with confidence in the offensive end. It helped, of course, that they tied the game early in the period, thanks to a weak change by Myers.

He thought a deep puck allowed him time for the long skate to the bench, but he was wrong. Tomas Dvorak picked up on this and fired a three-line pass to Jakub Flek along those far boards, and Flek re-directed it to Martin Kaut going to the goal. Kaut made a nice deke on Montembeault, tying the game at 2:06.

The pro-Czech crowd erupted in joy, and the Czechs continued to pour it on. Kaut was stoned by Montembeault moments later with a great save, and later both Radan Lenc and Kempny wired shots off the post, but it remained a 1-1 game through 40 minutes.