Canada 6 Czech Republic 1
BRECLAV, Czech Republic — Canada’s men’s under-18 team bounced back from a disappointing opening game at the Ivan Hlinka memorial hockey tournament by defeating the Czech Republic 6-1 on Tuesday.
Jarrod Maidens and Morgan Rielly each had a goal and an assist for Canada, which opened the event Monday with a penalty-filled 5-1 loss to Sweden.
Andreas Athanasiou, Charles Hudon, Sean Monahan and Matthew Dumba had the other goals for Canada. Pavel Sedlacek replied for the Czechs.
Canadian head coach Steve Spott said his players are starting to adjust to the style of refereeing in Europe.
“They touched a hot stove and they got burned last night. To their credit they recognized we can’t play like that over here,” said Spott, whose team allowed three power-play goals to the Swedes. “It took them that game last night to find the standard of the refereeing over here.”
Spott added his team is also starting to find its identity.
“I said to them before the game, and it’s no disrespect, that there’s no (Steven) Stamkos, (Taylor) Hall or (John) Tavares on this team,” he said. “We’re going to have to play a meat and potatoes type of game. We’re going to have to play a gritty, puck race, puck protection type game.
“It’s nice to see the boys rewarded.”
For many players it’s their first taste of playing on the wider international ice surface. Spott said it’s something the Canadians are starting to adjust to.
“I think they’re realizing that the game is different over here. You’ve got to travel farther when you’re killing penalties and on the power play there are a lot more seams that are available,” said Spott, who coaches the Kitchener Rangers of the Ontario Hockey League.
The Canadians take on Switzerland in their round-robin finale Wednesday and Spott said his team will have to continue to work hard while keeping their composure.
“We know they’re going to trap in the neutral zone. We’re going to have to make sure we play a patient game and don’t turn over the puck,” he said. “They’re a team that’s opportunistic and they work hard, so we’re going to have to do what we did tonight.”