Hart perfect as Canada’s juniors routs Czechs 9-0 in pre-tournament game

Raddysh nets pair for victorious Canadians

Canada’s Boris Katchouk tries to get the puck past the Czech Republic’s goalie Jakub Skarek during the first period of a World Junior Championships pre-tournament game in London, Ont. on Wednesday, December 20, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Geoff Robins

Canada’s Boris Katchouk tries to get the puck past the Czech Republic’s goalie Jakub Skarek during the first period of a World Junior Championships pre-tournament game in London, Ont. on Wednesday, December 20, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Geoff Robins

LONDON, Ont. — Carter Hart had a 23-save shutout in Canada’s 9-0 rout of the Czech Republic on Wednesday night in a tune-up game ahead of the world junior hockey championship.

Taylor Raddysh had a pair of goals for Canada, with linemate Robert Thomas adding a goal and two assists. Maxime Comtois had the eventual winner, while Jake Bean, Boris Katchouk, Jonah Gadjovich, Drake Batherson and Cal Foote also scored in front of a sold-out crowd of 9,036 at Budweiser Garden.

Jakub Skarek stopped 25-of-34 shots in net for the Czech Republic. Josef Korenar turned aside two shots in relief.

Canada’s win came in the first of two pre-tournament exhibition games the team is hosting ahead of the world championships that begin in Buffalo, N.Y., on Dec. 26.

Before the game head coach Dominique Ducharme said that defenceman Dante Fabbro (lower body) and forward Dillon Dube (shoulder) were day to day. He also indicated that backup goaltender Colton Point might start against Switzerland on Friday in Hamilton.

Comtois finished off a tic-tac-toe play with Alex Formenton and Cale Klague by batting the puck past Skarek to give the Canadians the lead. It punctuated a lengthy three-minute span where Canada dominated possession, getting several shots off and stripping the Czech defence of the puck any time they tried to clear it out of their own end.

Thomas and Raddysh made it 2-0 with a perfectly executed 2-on-1. Thomas carried the puck over the blue line, passed to Raddysh, who deked out Skarek before passing the puck back, giving Thomas a wide-open net.

Bean wired a wrist shot from the top of the face-off circle just over five minutes into the second period to increase Canada’s lead to 3-0. A slapshot from Katchouk with 2:50 left in the second made it 4-0.

The Czech Republic came closest to solving Hart 5:32 into the third period when the puck was sliding along the goal-line behind him but the knob of his stick — and the blades from his defencemen — kept it out.

The wheels came off for the Czechs after that.

Thomas and Raddysh connected on Canada’s fifth goal near the midway point of the third period. Thomas gave Raddysh a cross-crease feed that was easily redirected into the net. Raddysh scored his second of the night just 27 seconds later, this time on the power play, to make it 6-0.

Less than two minutes later, Batherson flipped his rebound over to Gajovich, who backhanded it into the net to add to Canada’s already sizable lead. Batherson then scored his own goal, wiring a wristshot from the top of the circle past a screened Skarek.

Skarek was chased from net by Canada’s ninth goal of the night at the 14:22 mark of the third period. Another pass across the crease landed on the stick of Foote, who had an empty net as Skarek was in the split and unable to slide over for a stop.

___

Follow @jchidleyhill on Twitter

John Chidley-Hill, The Canadian Press

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