By Jason Larose – Hockey Canada
TRURO, N.S. – David Kofron scored a pair of goals and Jachym Kondelik added a goal and an assist, pacing the Czech Republic to a 5-2 win over Canada West in the curtain-raiser Sunday at the 2017 World Junior A Challenge.
The Czechs won their tournament opener for the first time in six appearances, and sent West to its first Day 1 loss since 2014.
Lukas Rousek converted on the first Czech Republic power play just past the eight-minute mark, driving to the net and going five-hole on Canadian goaltender Mitch Adamyk to make it 1-0.
Kofron doubled the advantage just 1:26 later, knocking a one-time feed from Pavel Kousal through Adamyk to send the Europeans to the dressing room up by a pair.
Ethan de Jong needed just 86 seconds of the second period to get West on the board, squeezing a one-timer through netminder Milan Kloucek off a set-up from Ross Armour, but Tomas Havranek answered midway through the middle frame to restore the two-goal lead.
Kondelik pushed it to three on another Czech power play at 14:50, jamming a shot past Adamyk down low.
That would be all for the West goaltender, who gave way to Zach Rose after allowing four goals in 17 shots.
Jonny Tychonick gave the Canadians hope just shy of the seven-minute mark of the third period, going end to end to beat Kloucek, but that would be the last shot to beat the Czech puck-stopper, who made 24 saves.
“It was late in the game, they had a lead; I [usually] like to utilize my teammates, but I saw an opening so I just wanted to skate it, and lucky enough I was able to drive by,” said Tychonick. “Earlier on in the game, I didn’t make the play to [Angus] Crookshank back-door for the tap-in, so I was just focusing on doing the right thing on that one.”
Kofron added his second goal into an empty net with 1:51 left to finish the scoring.
The Czechs are right back to action Monday afternoon, taking on the defending gold medalists from the United States (3:30 p.m. AT), while Canada West won’t see the ice again until it faces the Americans in the preliminary-round finale on Tuesday night (7:30 p.m. AT).