It was an offensive outburst as Canada’s National Junior Team defeated the Czech Republic 9-0 before 9,036 at Budweiser Gardens in their first pre-tournament game before the 2018 IIHF World Junior Championship.
When asked what line Canadian Head Coach Dominique Ducharme liked the most? “All four”.
11 Canadian forward’s registered at least 1 point in the win.
Erie Otters forward Taylor Raddysh led the way with 2 goals and 2 assists. “It’s always fun playing in this rink and we’re here a lot with Erie. It’s a special time playing here and to be in the facility with Hockey Canada it was a great game.”
“You have to play with confidence. Last year it was a tough way to end it (shootout loss to USA in finals.) The tournament overall helped my confidence a lot. I have to bring a leadership role to the team this year and stay positive and help the guys out as much as I can” said Raddysh, who is a returning player for the Canadian squad.
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London Knights captain Robert Thomas scored 1 goal and added 3 assists.” We move the puck really well, having two great players to play with. (Taylor) Raddysh and (Boris) Katchouk can really bury a puck so just try to get it to them and let them do their magic” said Thomas about the chemistry with his line mates.
London forward Alex Formenton had a strong game as he used his speed effectively to tally 2 assists.
Fans at the Bud got to watch a familiar face in Victor Mete, who was loaned by the Montreal Canadiens for the tournament. “It was special, playing my 3 years of junior here. I came in as a 16-year-old and words can’t describe it. I was really excited to come back and see the fans and it was really special” said Mete, talking about his first game back at Budweiser Gardens since London’s first pre-season game of this season.
“It’s much slower, you have a lot more time than you think. I have to get use that but overall it’s just the speed. There’s a lot more skating and less battles, you have to be on your toes at all times.” said the Habs defenceman about the difference between the NHL and junior hockey.
Maxime Comtois, Jake Bean, Boris Katchouk, Jonah Gadjovich, Drake Batherson and Cal Foote scored the other Canadian goals.
Returning goalie Carter Hart played the entire game for Canada, facing 23 shots in the shutout performance.”I thought we played really well tonight. We scored 9 goals, getting that kind of offence is pretty special.” said the Everett Silvertips netminder.
Hart didn’t have a heavy work load, however Coach Ducharme was impressed.”That’s part of the game, he was solid when needed.”
Team Canada now travel’s to Hamilton where they will take on Switzerland in their final pre-tournament game. They open up the tournament on Boxing Day against Finland.