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Czechs’ late goal upends Canada West

BONNYVILLE, Alta. (December 14, 2016) – A Kristian Reichel top corner tally proved to be the only goal of the shootout as the Czech Republic stunned Canada West 4-3 Wednesday evening in quarter-final action at the World Junior A Challenge in Bonnyville, Alta.

With the result, the Czech Republic (2-1) advances to a semifinal match-up with Canada East (1-1) Thursday at 7:30 p.m. MT back in Bonnyville.

The other semifinal features unbeaten Russia (2-0) taking on the U.S. (2-1) earlier in the day at 3:30 p.m.

Canada West will meet Switzerland in the fifth place game Friday at 3:30 p.m. MT

In Wednesday’s contest, the Czechs skated out to a two-goal lead after the opening stanza  thanks to Radovan Pavlik at even strength and Daniel Kurovsky on the power play.

After a scoreless middle session, Canada West was quick to strike in the third as they took advantage of a four-minute penalty that carried over to the stanza.

Cale Makar (Brooks Bandits, AJHL) started the offensive outburst just 14 seconds into the frame while Jordan Kawaguchi (Chilliwack Chief, BCHL) leveled the proceedings less than half a minute later.

Up a man again later in the session Canada West went in front at 14:44 as Carter Turnbull (Powell River Kings, BCHL) put his side in front.

However late in regulation and with Czech goaltender Petr Kvaca on the bench in favour of an extra attacker, they forced overtime in dramatic fashion as Tomas Havranek fired the equalizer through the pads Canada West netminder Matthew Galajda (Victoria Grizzlies, BCHL) with a second and a half remaining.

Skating four aside in a 10-minute OT neither side would connect forcing extra shots to determine a winner.

In the shootout, it was Reichel who provided the difference maker on his nation’s fourth attempt as he ripped one under the bar high on Galajda.

Kvaca meanwhile was a brick wall for the Czechs stopping all five attempts he faced in the shootout to earn the win.

Canadian Junior Hockey League player of the game honours went to both goaltenders.

Shots on goal in the contest were 47-32 in favour of the winners.