Canada beat Czechia Saturday afternoon in an authoritative 5-1 win.
The Canadians won their first game 4-0 over Slovakia on Wednesday night, making Canada and Japan the only undefeated teams. The Czechs rolled over Great Britain 13-0 to open the tournament but lost 8-2 last night to the USA. Czechia had just 18 hours between the end of their game against the Americans and their game with Canada.
Canada won the opening draw, but the Czechs plunged through the Canadian forwards attacking the puck – this set the tone. The Canadians’ skating and precise passing kept them ahead in puck possession, but there was always a Czech with their stick tight to Canadian hands.
Canada drove offence early, shooting on Czechia goaltender Katerina Zechovska, who was pulled just past the midway point of the USA game. Zechovska steered away shots, and smart Czech defence kept the Canadians scoreless. Nine minutes into the opening frame, Czechia saw their first recorded shots courtesy of Denisa Habartová.
The Canadians returned the pressure and a persistent effort from Bishop’s University’s Marie-Camille Théorêt scored the first goal. She followed Rosalie Bégin-Cyr’s point shot and banged in the puck over a sprawling goaltender Canada kept the pressure up and ended the period with a 1-0 lead but a 12-6 lead in shots.
Maria Dominico put Canada shorthanded early in the second with a hooking penalty. The Czechs took the opportunity to fire up their offence, and though they didn’t record a shot during the penalty, they were able to pressure Canada consistently for about four minutes. Canadian netminder Camryn Rae Drever stood tall and kept Czechia scoreless.
The Czechs spoiled their offensive spree by taking three penalties in five minutes. The Canadians also didn’t score on the advantage but potted two quickly after the third penalty expired. Captain Emmy Fecteau scored with a wrister from the top of the circle. 20 seconds later, Dominico was poorly defended as she stickhandled her way to the net. She beat Zechovska with a hard snapshot.
The 3-0 didn’t demoralize the Czechs, and their close checking gave them a chance to fight into the Canadian end. Barbora Patockova scored Czechia’s first off a pass from Habaratova, and the period ended 3-1. Even though Canada had pulled themselves into an even wider lead in the shots, the Czechs had put one behind Drever.
Team Canada gave uOtttawa Gee-Gee Aurélie Dubuc control of the net for the third period. Despite Canada’s five penalties in the third period, they still outshot the Czechs 21-7. Canada managed eight shots during a two-minute four-on-four partway through the frame.
SMU Huskies star Shae Demale scored the fourth goal of the game and a passing play ended in a Céline Frappier goal with 70 seconds left in the game.
The skill and determination of the Czechs were evident, but the pace and precision of the Canadians prevailed.
Canadian defender Elizabeth Mura said that every player on the team was bringing extra effort to help lift Canada to their first two wins. “It’s great to look around and see 20-something girls giving it their all,” she said following the game.
With the win, Team Canada moves to 2-0-0, and look ahead to a clash with Team Japan on Sunday afternoon, looking to seperate themselves from the pack atop the round-robin standings