Hajek, Libor

Juniors Game Night: 1-19-18

Quebec Major Junior Hockey League

Cape Breton Screaming Eagles 4 @ Halifax Mooseheads 5 (OT)

C/W Otto Somppi, HAL: 2-2-4, +1, 2 PIM, 6 SOG, 9/27 FO, *First Star*
Season Totals: 38 GP, 15-40-55, +32, 20 PIM
’16-’17 Totals: 60 GP, 17-24-41, -7, 28 PIM

The Otto Somppi Experience dialed up a two goal, four point explosion leading the Mooseheads to an overtime victory over the Screaming Eagles, earning First Star honors in front of 8200+ at Scotiabank Centre in Halifax. Somppi opened the scoring in the 1st with a helper from Rafael Lavoie (2019 draft eligible), as the Mooseheads took a 2-1 lead to the first intermission. Early in the 2nd, Somppi then setup Lavoie’s 20th of the season to extend Halifax’s lead to 3-1. But Cape Breton screamed back with three straight, before Somppi’s power play marker knotted the game at 4-4, sending the match into overtime where Somppi and Lavoie both assisted on Jocktan Chainey’s (NJD, 2017 7th round pick) overtime game-winner.

Ontario Hockey League

Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds 3 @ Sarnia Sting 5

W Boris Katchouk, SSM: 0-0-0, -3, 0 PIM, 2 SOG, 2/2 FO
Season Totals: 35 GP, 30-24-54, +33, 16 PIM
’16-’17 Season: 66 GP, 35-29-64, +18, 46 PIM

W Taylor Raddysh, SSM: 0-0-0, -3, 0 PIM, 3 SOG, 1/1 FO
Season Totals (SSM): 4 GP, 4-5-9, +2, 0 PIM
Season Totals (ER): 30 GP, 15-29-44, +10, 16 PIM
Season Totals: 34 GP, 21-32-53, +12, 16 PIM
‘16-‘17 Totals: 58 GP, 42-67-109, +67, 37 PIM

The mojo in the newly retired jersey of Steven Stamkos hanging in the rafters of the Progressive Auto Sales Arena could not be contained as Jordan Kyrou (STL, 2016 2nd round pick) and Adam Ruzicka (CGY, 2017 4th round pick) led the Sarnia Sting in doing what no team in nearly thirty games has been able to do – defeat the Soo in regulation. The first game for Taylor Raddysh since being named OHL and CHL Player-of-the-Week was a disaster along with linemates Boris Katchouk and Morgan Frost (PHI, 2017 1st round pick), all three held pointless by the Sting and each slapped with a -3 rating. One of the few bright spots for the Greyhounds was Hayden Verbeek (undrafted), nephew of Pat Verbeek, who scored in the 3rd to tie the game at 3-3 before Kyrou and Ruzicka combined to sink the Soo’s regulation win streak.

Saginaw Spirit 4 @ Sudbury Wolves 2

W Alexey Lipanov, SBY: 0-0-0, -1, 0 PIM, 2 SOG, 5/15 FO
Season Totals (SBY): 5 GP, 2-0-2, -3, 2 PIM
Season Totals (BAR): 35 GP, 11-19-30, +9, 10 PIM
Season Totals: 40 GP, 13-19-32, +6, 12 PIM
‘16-‘17 Totals (VHL-Russia): 21 GP, 3-5-8, +5, 8 PIM

Cole Coskey (undrafted) and Broward County native Mason Kohn (undrafted) paced the Spirit, scoring three of the team’s four goals, as Saginaw doubled Sudbury for the win.

Western Hockey League

Kelowna Rockets 2 @ Seattle Thunderbirds 7

D Cal Foote, KEL: 0-1-1, -4, 0 PIM, 2 SOG
Season Totals: 35 GP, 8-28-36, +8, 22 PIM
‘15-‘16 Totals: 71 GP, 6-51-57, +39, 41 PIM

Foote was an ugly -4 as the Thunderbirds put up a touchdown at home against the visiting Rockets. Foote did tally an assist on Dillon Dube’s (CGY, 2016 2nd round pick) power play marker in the 2nd. Nolan Volcan (undrafted) paced Seattle with a hat trick.

Moose Jaw Warriors 5 @ Regina Pats 3

C Brett Howden, MJ: 0-1-1, +1, 0 PIM, 3 SOG, 16/28 FO
Season Totals: 24 GP, 17-25-42, +24, 28 PIM
’16-‘17 Totals: 58 GP, 38-43-81, +14, 73 PIM

D Oleg Sosunov, MJ: 0-0-0, -1, 0 PIM, 2 SOG
Season Totals: 46 GP, 7-11-18, +31, 48 PIM
’16-‘17 Totals (MHL-Russia): 32 GP, 0-0-0, +1, 79 PIM

D Libor Hajek, REG: 0-0-0, -1, 0 PIM, 4 SOG
Season Totals (REG): 3 GP, 0-1-1, -2, 2 PIM
Season Totals (SAS): 33 GP, 8-17-25, -10, 26 PIM
Season Totals: 34 GP, 8-18-26, -12, 28 PIM
’16-‘17 Totals: 65 GP: 4-22-26, -17, 81 PIM

WHL goal scoring leader Jayden Halbgewachs (undrafted) tallied his 49th and 50th goals of the season, and WHL assist and point leader Brayden Burke (undrafted) notched his 69th and 70th assist of the season, as the Warriors defeated the Pats for their league-leading 37th win of the season. Howden assisted on Halbgewachs second goal of the game during garbage time with Moose Jaw already up 4-1.

United States Hockey League

** Note: Cole Guttman (Dubuque) was placed on injured reserved on December 22nd following the completion of the World Junior A Challenge tournament.

Des Moines Buccaneers 3 @ Omaha Lancers 0

D Nick Perbix , OMA: 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM, 2 SOG
Season Totals: 26 GP, 1-11-12, +11, 10 PIM
’16-‘17 Totals (HS): 25 GP, 10-30-40, 6 PIM
Committed to: St. Cloud State University

Slovakian WJC netminder Roman Durny and WJAC U19 Silver Medalist USA goalie Jake Kucharski (Providence commit, 2018 draft eligible) combined to pitch a 24 save shutout of the Lancers at home. Czech pivot Nicolas Werbik (undrafted) and former Oceanic paced Des Moines with a goal and an assist.

Minnesota State High School League

Lakeville South Cougars 1 @ Edina Hornets 4

F Sammy Walker, EDN: 0-0-0, 0 PIM, 0 SOG
Season Totals (HS): 15 GP, 18-20-38, 10 PIM
’16-‘17 Totals (HS): 25 GP, 22-24-46, 6 PIM
Committed to: University of Minnesota

The Hornets got goals from four different players, but the Cougars held Walker pointless in the 4-1 loss to Edina. The Hornets improve to 15-1 and hit the road for a Saturday night match against the Hill-Murray Pioneers.

Juniors Game Night: 1-17-18

Quebec Major Junior Hockey League

Moncton Wildcats 4 @ Halifax Mooseheads 3 (OT)

C/W Otto Somppi, HAL: 1-1-2, +1, 0 PIM, 3 SOG, 9/17 FO, *Second Star*
Season Totals: 36 GP, 13-38-51, +32, 18 PIM
’16-’17 Totals: 60 GP, 17-24-41, -7, 28 PIM

Somppi opened the scoring with an assist and a goal to give the Mooseheads a 2-0 1st period lead on his way to earning Second Star honors. But the Wildcats scored three goals to take a 3-2 lead in the 3rd before Benoit-Olivier Groulx (2018 draft eligible) scored the equalizer, sending the game into overtime. Mika Cyr (undrafted) netted the OT game-winner for Moncton just 36 second into the extra frame.

Western Hockey League

Lethbridge Hurricanes 3 @ Kelowna Rockets 4 (OT)

D Cal Foote, KEL: 1-0-1, -1, 2 PIM, 4 SOG, *Third Star*
Season Totals: 34 GP, 8-27-35, +12, 22 PIM
‘15-‘16 Totals: 71 GP, 6-51-57, +39, 41 PIM

Cal Foote (pictured) scored the OT game-winner for the Rockets, holding off a second half rally by the Hurricanes. Jordy Bellerive (PIT, FA ELC) scored for Lethbridge just 42 seconds into the game, but the Rockets responded with three straight by Dillon Dube (CGY, 2016 2nd round pick), Kole Lind (VAN, 2017 2nd round pick), and a shortie by Conner Bruggen-Cate (undrafted). Dube paced Kelowna with a goal and an assist, and rookie Dylan Cozens (2019 draft eligible) notched two assists for the Hurricanes.

Regina Pats 4 @ Prince Albert Raiders 3

D Libor Hajek, REG: 0-1-1, +1, 0 PIM, 1 SOG
Season Totals (REG): 2 GP, 0-1-1, -1, 2 PIM
Season Totals (SAS): 33 GP, 8-17-25, -10, 26 PIM
Season Totals: 35 GP, 8-18-26, -11, 28 PIM
’16-‘17 Totals: 65 GP: 4-22-26, -17, 81 PIM

Hajek notched his first point as a Pat, a power play assist on a 3rd period goal by former Montreal prospect Matt Bradley. It was Hajek’s 26th point of the season, equaling his point total from all last season in 30 fewer games. Regina rebounded from a 2-1 deficit, scoring three straight, including two by Bradley, stretching out a 4-2 lead and hanging on for the win.

Juniors Game Night: 1-6-18

Quebec Major Junior Hockey League

Halifax Mooseheads 5 @ St. John’s Sea Dogs (OT1)

C/W Otto Somppi, HAL: 0-0-0, -2, 0 PIM, 2 SOG, 17/28 FO
Season Totals: 32 GP, 12-30-42, +24, 14 PIM
’16-’17 Totals: 60 GP, 17-24-41, -7, 28 PIM

The Mooseheads fell behind 3-1 on the road in St. John’s in the 1st, but managed to take a 4-3 lead early in the 3rd on Brett Crossley’s (undrafted) 2nd goal of the game. St. John’s rookie Radim Salda, fresh back from the Czech Republic WJC team, knotted the score 4-4 just 48 seconds later, and the two teams would end regulation tied. Raphael Lavoie (2019 draft eligible) would score the OT game winner for Halifax almost two minutes into the extras session. Connor Moynihan (undrafted) notched 3 assists on the night for the Mooseheads.

Ontario Hockey League

** Note: Boris Katchouk (Sault Ste. Marie) and Taylor Raddysh (Sault Ste. Marie) are away from their respective OHL teams for the 2018 WJC tournament. Raddysh (pictured) was traded today by Erie to Sault Ste. Marie along with Jordan Sambrook (DET, 2016 5th round pick) in exchange for 16 year old Hayden Fowler and nine OHL draft picks.

Kingston Frontenacs 6 @ Barrie Colts 4

W Alexey Lipanov, BAR: 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM, 1 SOG, 4/15 FO
Season Totals: 35 GP, 11-18-29, +9, 10 PIM
‘16-‘17 Totals (VHL-Russia): 21 GP, 3-5-8, +5, 8 PIM

Aaron Luchuk (OTT, FA) scored twice in the 1st period to give the Colts a 3-2 lead at the first intermission, but it was mostly the Frontenacs the last 40 minutes of the match. Kingston got a hat trick and four points from Cliff Pu (BUF, 2016 3rd round pick), and two more goals from Linus Nyman (2018 draft eligible). Jason Robertson (DAL, 2017 2nd round pick) would notch an impressive 5 assists on the night for the Frontenacs. A night after going 50% on draw, Lipanov won just a quarter of his draws against Kingston. The Colts have now dropped three straight.

Peterborough Petes 2 @ Ottawa 67’s 3

W/C Christopher Paquette, PBO: 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM, 1 SOG, 9/15 FO
Season Totals: 35 GP, 10-4-14, -22, 8 PIM
’16-‘17 Totals (NIA/PBO): 66 GP, 19-29-48, +1, 28 PIM

Pavel Gogolev (2018 draft eligible) and Nick Isaacson (undrafted) both scored 2nd period goals to give the Petes a 2-1 lead, but the 67’s would score two of their own to squeak the 3-2 win, and relegate the Petes to the cellar in the East Division and 1-8-1 record in their last 10 games.

Western Hockey League

** Note: Brett Howden (Moose Jaw) and Cal Foote (Kelowna) are away from their respective WHL teams for the 2018 WJC tournament.

Kootenay Ice 2 @ Saskatoon Blades 4

D Libor Hajek, SAS: 0-0-0, +1, 0 PIM, 0 SOG
Season Totals: 33 GP, 8-16-24, -10, 26 PIM
’16-‘17 Totals: 65 GP: 4-22-26, -17, 81 PIM

Hajek returned to action with the Blades after a breakout WJCs tournament for the Czech blueliner. Gage Ramsey (undrafted) scored twice and added an assist for the Saskatoon, as the Blades doubled up the Ice.

Moose Jaw Warriors 7 @ Edmonton Oil Kings 2

D Oleg Sosunov, MJ: 0-0-0, E, 2 PIM, 1 SOG
Season Totals: 41 GP, 7-10-17, +29, 44 PIM
’16-‘17 Totals (MHL-Russia): 32 GP, 0-0-0, +1, 79 PIM

The Oil Kings knotted the game 2-2 less than a minute left in the 1st period, but the Warriors poured on 5 goals in the 2nd and 3rd to run away with the game. Justin Almeida (undrafted) scored twice for Moose Jaw and Jayden Halbgewachs (undrafted) scored shorthanded and on the power play extending his WHL goal scoring lead. WHL points and assist leader Brayden Burke (undrafted) had 3 assists for the Warriors.

United States Hockey League

** Note: Cole Guttman (Dubuque) was placed on injured reserved on December 22nd following the completion of the World Junior A Challenge tournament.

Omaha Lancers 4 @ Tri-City Storm 1

D Nick Perbix , OMA: 0-0-0, +1, 0 PIM, 2 SOG
Season Totals: 22 GP, 0-11-11, +12, 10 PIM
’16-‘17 Totals (HS): 25 GP, 10-30-40, 6 PIM
Committed to: St. Cloud State University

Christian O’Neill (Princeton commit) scored twice for the Lancers as Omaha scored twice in the 1st and twice in the 2nd for the road win over the Storm.

2018 IIHF World Junior Championship: 1-5-18

2018 IIHF World Junior Championship

Bronze Medal Game
Czech Republic 3 vs USA 9

D Libor Hajek, CZE: 0-1-1, -5, 0 PIM, 3 SOG, *CZE Player of the Game*
Tournament Totals: 7 GP, 1-7-8, E, 6 PIM, 14 SOG

Hajek notched an assist on the Czech Republic’s first goal of the game, a power play marker by Martin Kaut just 43 seconds into the 3rd period. Unfortunately, by the time the Czech’s scored, the USA already had a 7-0 lead. Despite a -5 rating for the game, Hajek was named the Player of the Game for the Czech team, his second such honor of the tournament along with being named one of the Czech team’s Three Players of the Tournament. Hajek, along with Canada’s Cale Makar (COL, 2017 1st round pick) led all defensemen in the tourney in points, and he led the Czech team in ice time, after being left off last year’s WJC squad for CZE.

Wisconsin Badger Trent Fredric (BOS, 2016 1st round pick) paced the USA team on their way to Bronze with four goals, including the trifecta of shorthanded, power play, and even strength goals. Once again, the Czechs played a tight 1st period, but allowed critical let downs to balloon. The Czechs allowed the shortie from Fredric with 4 seconds remaining in the 1st to go into intermission down 1-0, and then allowed a Ryan Poehling (MTL, 2017 1st round pick) tally just 9 seconds into the 2nd period followed by a Joey Anderson goal 4 minutes later. After a goalie change, the Czech team allowed Fredric’s 2nd goal of the game 90 seconds later, and then Hajek got called for a penalty shot on a hooking call, with Kieffer Bellows (NYI, 2016 1st round pick) converting for his first of two goals in the game. Two more goals by Fredric and Bellows before the end of the period and the USA caps off a 6-goal middle frame. The Czechs got 3 goals in the 3rd by Kaut, Radovan Pavlik (undrafted), and Daniel Kurovsky (undrafted), but by then the game was well out of reach.

Gold Medal Game
Sweden 1 @ Canada 3

F Taylor Raddysh , CAN: 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM, 2 SOG
Tournament Totals: 7 GP, 2-3-5, +5, 4 PIM, 16 SOG

F Boris Katchouk, CAN: 0-0-0, -1, 0 PIM, 2 SOG
Tournament Totals: 7 GP, 3-3-6, +5, 4 PIM, 12 SOG

F Brett Howden , CAN: 0-0-0, +1, 0 PIM, 2 SOG
Tournament Totals: 7 GP, 3-4-7, +9, 4 PIM, 15 SOG

D Cal Foote, CAN: 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM, 1 SOG
Tournament Totals: 7 GP, 0-3-3, +5, 0 PIM, 2 SOG

Carter Hart (PHI, 2016 2nd round pick) made 35 saves, backstopping Canada to Gold in a 3-1 win over the Sweden. Canada got goals from Dillion Dube (CGY, 2016 2nd round pick) and Tyler Steenbergen (ARI, 2017 5th round pick), with Alex Formenton (OTT, 2017 2nd round pick) adding an empty netter at the end. The game was evenly matched with the difference being the heads-up sharp laser pass by Conor Timmins (COL, 2017 2nd round pick) to Steenbergen in the slot for his first and only goal in the tournament. Sweden’s lone goal came shorthanded in the 2nd to knot the game at 1-1 by Tim Soderlund (CHI, 2017 4th round pick).

2018 IIHF World Junior Championship: 1-4-18

2018 IIHF World Junior Championship

Canada 7 vs Czech Republic 2

F Taylor Raddysh , CAN: 0-0-0, +1, 0 PIM, 1 SOG
Tournament Totals: 6 GP, 2-3-5, +5, 4 PIM, 14 SOG

F Boris Katchouk, CAN: 1-0-1, +1, 2 PIM, 1 SOG
Tournament Totals: 6 GP, 3-3-6, +5, 4 PIM, 10 SOG

F Brett Howden , CAN: 0-1-1, +1, 0 PIM, 1 SOG
Tournament Totals: 5 GP, 3-4-7, +8, 4 PIM, 13 SOG

D Cal Foote, CAN: 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM, 0 SOG
Tournament Totals: 6 GP, 0-3-3, +5, 0 PIM, 1 SOG

D Libor Hajek, CZE: 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM, 0 SOG
Tournament Totals: 6 GP, 1-6-7, +5, 6 PIM, 11 SOG

Katchouk scored and Raddysh and Howden added assists in the Canadians 7-2 rout of the Czech Republic. The win puts Canada into the Gold Medal game against Sweden Friday night. Meanwhile, Hajek consummated his coming out party after being named as one of the Czech’s Three Players of the Tournament. The Czechs will play USA for the Bronze Medal, also on Friday night. Filip Zadina (2018 draft eligible) scored both goals for the Czechs, including the game opener just 5:55 into the game, but was snubbed by the Czech coaches as one of the team’s three best after leading the tournament in goals scored. The Canadians were let by the hat trick of Drake Batherson (OTT, 2017 4th round pick). After scoring the opening goal, discipline plagued the Czechs once again, taking a slew of penalties and allowing three straight power play goals and then the 3-1 deficit blossomed into a 7-1 deep trench.

2018 IIHF World Junior Championship: 1-2-18

2018 IIHF World Junior Championship

Czech Republic 4 vs Finland 3 (SO)

D Libor Hajek, CZE: 0-1-1, +1, 2 PIM, 3 SOG
Tournament Totals: 5 GP, 1-6-7, +5, 6 PIM, 11 SOG

Hajek played 30:46, four minutes more than any other player in the game, and notched a power play assist in the Czech Republic’s come-from-behind shootout victory over the Finnish squad 4-3. The Czechs will play in the tourney’s semifinals on Thursday against Canada, who dominated the Swiss in quarterfinal play.

Josef Korenar (undrafted), the Czech netminder and former Lincoln Stars goalie, stopped 51 of 54 Finnish shots, backstopping the Czechs in their upset of Finland and their first appearance in the WJC semifinals since 2005. Hajek, playing on the top Czech power play unit, worked with Martin Necas (CAR, 2017 1st round pick) to feed Filip Zadina (2018 draft eligible) for the first of his two goals in the game. The Finns went ahead 2-1 in the 2nd with goals from Aapeli Rasanen (EDM, 2016 6th round pick) and Vancouver 2016 5th overall pick Olli Juolevi, the first on the power play with Hajek in the box for interference. Red Deer Rebel Kristian Reichel (undrafted), son of ex-NHL’er Robert Reichel, knotted the game 2-2 before the end of the 2nd period, but Kristian Vesalainen (WPG, 2017 1st round pick) put the Finns up 3-2 early in the 3rd period. With Korenar pulled for the extra skater, Halifax linemate of Otto Somppi and consensus Top 10 2018 pick Filip Zadina tied the game 3-3 with two-and-a-half minutes left in the game to send the game to OT and to the eventual shootout. Kolenar would stand strong for the Czechs in the skill competition, stopping 4 of 5 shots from Finland, while Reichel and Necar scored for the Czech Republic to seal the upset and a berth in the tournament semifinals.

Canada 8 vs Switzerland 2

F Taylor Raddysh , CAN: 0-1-1, E, 2 PIM, 3 SOG
Tournament Totals: 5 GP, 2-3-5, +4, 4 PIM, 13 SOG

F Boris Katchouk, CAN: 0-1-1, +1, 0 PIM, 0 SOG
Tournament Totals: 5 GP, 2-3-5, +4, 2 PIM, 9 SOG

F Brett Howden , CAN: 1-3-4, +4, 0 PIM, 3 SOG
Tournament Totals: 5 GP, 3-3-6, +7, 4 PIM, 12 SOG

D Cal Foote, CAN: 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM, 0 SOG
Tournament Totals: 5 GP, 0-3-3, +5, 0 PIM, 1 SOG

Brett Howden (pictured) scored the opening goal and added three more assists as Canada put up its second snowman on the scoreboard in consecutive games in an 8-2 victory over Switzerland to advance to the semifinals against the Czech Republic on Thursday. The Canadians pelted the Swiss with 60 shots, while the defense allowed just 15 shots against. Canada was paced by two goals from Drake Batherson (OTT, 2017 4th round pick), four points from Howden, and a goal and three points from Maxime Comtois (ANA, 2017 2nd round pick). Both Katchouk and Raddysh netted power play assists, with Katchouk collecting an assist on Batherson’s power play marker in the 1st period, and Raddysh earning his helper on Dillon Dube’s (CGY, 2016 2nd round pick) power play goal midway through the 3rd period.

2018 IIHF World Junior Championship: 12-31-17

2018 IIHF World Junior Championship

Switzerland 3 @ Czech Republic 6

D Libor Hajek, CZE: 0-2-2, +1, 0 PIM, 2 SOG
Tournament Totals: 4 GP, 1-4-5, +4, 4 PIM, 8 SOG

Hajek had a pair of assists, one on the power play, in the Czech Republic’s domination of the Swiss, scoring 6 and putting up 60 shots. Red Deer Rebel Kristian Reichel (undrafted), son of ex-NHL’er Robert Reichel, scored twice for the Czechs. Hajek fed Jakub Lauko (2018 draft eligible) for the opening goal just 2:38 into the match, and then followed it up by working with Martin Kaut (2018 draft eligible) on a power play marker by Martin Necas (CAR, 2017 1st round pick) to put the Czechs up 2-1. After the Swiss knotted the score at 3-3 with a power play goal of their own, the Czechs locked the nets and reeled off three straight goals from Kaut, Daniel Kurovsky (undrafted), and Reichel.

The Czech Republic awaits the results of the final preliminary game of Russia vs. Sweden to see who they draw in the quarterfinals on January 2nd. The Russians can finish 2nd in Group B with a regulation win over the Swedes. Otherwise, the Czechs will finish 2nd in Group B.

2018 IIHF World Junior Championship: 12-30-17

2018 IIHF World Junior Championship

Czech Republic 6 vs Belarus 5

D Libor Hajek, CZE: 1-1-2, E, 0 PIM, 1 SOG
Tournament Totals: 2 GP, 0-2-2, +1, 4 PIM, 3 SOG

Hajek had a goal and an assist in the Czech Republic’s comeback victory against a spirited Belarus squad, and then called out his team in the post-game media for selfish and individual play.

Belarus opened the scoring in the first with a power play goal, and then just after the midpoint of the period, Daniel Kurovsky (undrafted) was given a 5-minute major and a 20-minute game misconduct for slashing defenseman Vladislav Gabrus (undrafted) in the groin. And while the Belarusians couldn’t capitalize on the resulting 5-minute power play, they did strike for the 2-0 lead just 48 seconds into the 2nd period, precipitating a goalie change in the Czech nets. The goalie change had its intended effect on the Czech skaters with Radovan Pavlik (undrafted) tallying the first of his two goals just 43 seconds after the goalie switch, followed by Hajek’s equalizer on a wrister from the high slot just 24 seconds after Pavlik’s goal.

The Czechs would put up three more goals in the 2nd period to take a 5-2 lead, the first being a power play marker from Halifax winger and top 2018 draft prospect Filip Zadina, then Hajek assisting on a Filip Chytil (NYR, 2017 1st round pick) goal, and finally Pavlik’s 2nd marker that resulted in a Belarussian goalie change.

Like the Czechs, the change in goal spurred Belarus offensively with Yegor Sharangovich (undrafted) netting his 2nd goal of the game, a power play score with just 75 seconds left in the 2nd period to cut the Czech lead to 5-3 going into the final frame. But the Czechs weren’t done with the undisciplined play, as Pavlik earned a 10-minute misconduct for unsportsmanlike conduct when he fired a shot into the Belarus net after the whistle for an icing call. Belarus cut the lead to 5-4 on the ensuing power play, but the Czech Republic reestablished the two goal lead with strike from Sherbrooke winger Marek Zachar (undrafted). Belarus tallied the false hope goal about 90 seconds later when defenseman Gabrus came back from the 1st period slash to the groin to score for Belarus, but they would get no closer.

The Czech Republic plays their final preliminary round match on New Year’s Eve against the Swiss team, looking to undergird their quarterfinal seed with a single loss to Sweden.

Denmark 0 vs Canada 8

F Taylor Raddysh , CAN: 0-1-1, +1, 0 PIM, 3 SOG
Tournament Totals: 4 GP, 2-2-4, +4, 2 PIM, 10 SOG

F Boris Katchouk, CAN: 0-1-1, +1, 0 PIM, 1 SOG
Tournament Totals: 3 GP, 2-2-4, +4, 2 PIM, 9 SOG

F Brett Howden , CAN: 2-0-2, +3, 0 PIM, 3 SOG, *Player of the Game*
Tournament Totals: 4 GP, 2-0-2, +3, 4 PIM, 9 SOG

D Cal Foote, CAN: 0-3-3, +4, 0 PIM, 1 SOG
Tournament Totals: 4 GP, 0-3-3, +5, 0 PIM, 1 SOG

Brett Howden (pictured) scored twice in Canada’s rout of the Danish WJC squad en route to Player of the Game honors for the Canadian team. Canada fired 44 shots at Denmark netminder Emil Gransoe (undrafted), putting up the snowman on the scoreboard. Cal Foote notched assists on both of Howden’s goals, giving Lightning fans a preview of a possible Tampa Bay future, along with a third assist on Drake Batherson’s (OTT, 2017 4th round pick) third period power play marker. Raddysh and Katchouk both assisted on the game’s opening goal by Robert Thomas (STL, 2017 1st round pick). Katchouk won a battle on the half wall and shoveled the puck behind the goal to Raddysh, who fed Thomas cutting to the Danish net. The stats lines for Raddysh and Katchouk are nearly identical in four games thus far, and the pair have had obvious chemistry since the beginning of the tournament, and no doubt Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds GM Kyle Raftis is paying attention amid continued rumors that the rebuilding Erie Otters is looking to move Raddysh by the OHL trade deadline.

Canada has completed preliminary play, winning Group A with a record of 3-0-1-0 and will most likely draw the Swiss squad in the quarterfinals on January 2nd.

2018 IIHF World Junior Championship: 12-28-17

2018 IIHF World Junior Championship

Sweden 3 vs Czech Republic 1

D Libor Hajek, CZE: 0-1-1, E, 0 PIM, 1 SOG
Tournament Totals: 2 GP, 0-2-2, +1, 4 PIM, 3 SOG

Hajek led all Czech blueliners in ice time with 21:28, and assisted on the team’s only goal against the Swedes, a power-play tally by Otto Somppi’s linemate at Halifax, Filip Zadina (2018 draft eligible). The goal drew the Czechs within one, but the Swedes scored two power-play goals of their own. Hajek’s ice time was eclipsed only by Zadina and the Hurricanes 2017 12th overall pick Martin Necas. The Czech Republic next plays Belarus on Saturday.

2018 IIHF World Junior Championship: 12-26-17

2018 IIHF World Junior Championship

Czech Republic 5 vs Russia 4

D Libor Hajek, CZE: 0-1-1, +1, 4 PIM, 2 SOG
Tournament Totals: 0-1-1, +1, 4 PIM, 2 SOG

A late rally by the Russian WJC squad fell short as the Czech Republic team held on for a 5-4 victory in the tournament opening match. Hajek started the game and played a whopping 9:24 in the first, leading all skaters by a wide margin. Hajek assisted on Ostap Safin’s (EDM, 2017 4th round pick) goal in the 1st to pull the Czechs ahead 2-1. Despite leading all blueliners in ice time along with Filip Kral (2018 draft eligible), Hajek’s ice time fell off as the game went along, getting just 5:32 in the 3rd. After the Czechs scored three straight, Russia scored twice in the last 2:12 of the game to pull within one, but couldn’t put the equalizer past Josef Korenar (undrafted), who stopped 34 of 38 Russian shots. The Czech Republic were paced by four skaters each with a goal and an assist, including Otto Somppi’s Halifax linemate Filip Zadina (2018 draft eligible), and by three assists from Martin Kaut (2018 draft eligible). The Czech Republic next plays Thursday against the Swedish squad, who easily won their opening match 6-1 against Belarus.

In somewhat of a surprise, Bolt prospect Alexey Lipanov was among the last to be cut from the Russian WJC team, and won’t be in the lineup for the Russians for this tournament.

Canada 4 vs Finland 2

F Taylor Raddysh , CAN: 1-1-2, +2, 2 PIM, 3 SOG
Tournament Totals: 1-1-2, +2, 2 PIM, 3 SOG

F Boris Katchouk, CAN: 1-1-2, +2, 2 PIM, 2 SOG
Tournament Totals: 1-1-2, +2, 2 PIM, 2 SOG

F Brett Howden , CAN: 0-0-0, -1, 2 PIM, 0 SOG
Tournament Totals: 0-0-0, -1, 2 PIM, 0 SOG

D Cal Foote, CAN: 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM, 0 SOG
Tournament Totals: 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM, 0 SOG

Taylor Raddysh and Boris Katchouk led the Canadian WJC team to its tournament opening 4-2 victory over Finland. Both Raddysh and Katchouk each had a goal and an assist, and Carter Hart (PHI, 2016 2nd round pick) backstopped 29 saves on 31 Finnish shots. Katchouk opened the scoring just 5:34 into the match on a controversial goal when he streaked in alone on Finnish netminder Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen, with the puck trickling over the line as the net was coming unmoored after a collision between the two players. The goal was ruled good after a review by the officials. Less than 30 seconds later, with the Canadians on the power play, Raddysh took a feed in front of the net from Jordan Kyrou (2018 draft eligible) and spun to jam the puck past Luukkonen, but a pad save popped the puck to the stick of Sam Steel (ANA, 2016 1st round pick), who rifled it into the open net. Later in the 2nd period, Katchouk attempted to feed Raddysh off the rush, but the play was broken up but Raddysh was able to collect the loose puck and spun and ripped a wrist shot from the top of the circles past Luukkonen.

One might look at Cal Foote’s blank stat line and only 12:55 in ice time and think he had minimal impact, but he had most spectacular play of the game when he dove behind Hart to swipe the puck off the goal line with his hand to save a goal and keep the Canadian lead at 4-2. The Canadians play next on Wednesday in Slovakia’s opening tournament match.

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