By Mackenzie Liddell
Brayden Schenn had a five point night and Ryan Ellis chipped in four of his own as Canada steamrolled the Czech Republic 7-2 Tuesday evening in Buffalo, N.Y., in a game highlighted by a controversial hit by Zack Kassian.
Schenn and Ellis each scored once with Jaden Schwartz, Louis Leblanc, Cody Eakin, Tyson Barrie and Jared Cowen tallying the others for Canada (2-0) in front of another boisterous red-and-white clad crowd at HSBC Arena.
Antonin Honejsek and Jakub Jerabek replied for the Czech Republic (1-1), which lost its first game of the tournament after beating Norway on Monday.
Olivier Roy made his second straight start and finished with 17 saves on a quiet night in the Canadian goal. Filip Novotny didn’t have the same luxury, stopping 32 shots in a losing effort.
Despite the lopsided final score, Canada once again was forced to come from behind as Honejsek opened the scoring by wheeling around two Canadian defensemen and wristing a low shot that beat Roy, who was out of position on the play.
But everything went downhill for the Czechs after that as Canada ramped up the pressure en route to seven straight goals.
After a few near misses in the early going, Canada got on the board at 14:43. With Martin Frk in the box for holding, Ryan Johansen broke in over the Czech blueline and slid a pass over to Schenn, who beat Novotny short side to tie the game 1-1.
The Czechs found themselves in penalty trouble again late in the first and the Canadians made them pay, as they worked the puck around the offensive zone before Schenn found Schwartz at the side of the net and he made no mistake, roofing it over the Czech netminder.
It could have been worse for the Czechs, but Novotny bailed out his team with some stellar goaltending in the dying minutes of the period.
Things took a scary turn for the Czech Republic in the second when defenseman Petr Senkerik got caught with his head down by Kassian, who sent the blueliner flying to the ice with a clean shoulder-to-chest hit.
Senkerik remained on the ice until he was taken off on a stretcher. Kassian was slapped with a five-minute major and game misconduct (The misconduct means Kassian is suspended for Canada's next game).
On the ensuing power play, Roy stretched out and made a spectacular pad save before Canada hustled up ice on a two-on-one and Schenn backhanded a pass to Leblanc who deked Novotny to give Canada a 3-1 advantage.
Team Canada piled on the offense late in the period as Ellis converted a nice feed from Schenn and Eakin followed up by burying a wrist shot over Novotny’s shoulder at 19:44 to give Canada a 5-1 lead heading into the final frame.
After more undisciplined play by the Czechs to start the third, including a five-minute penalty assessed to Frk for spearing, Barrie and Cowen scored power play goals 33 seconds apart to put Canada up 7-1.
The Czechs replied at 15:26, as Jerabek slapped a fluttering puck through a group of players and over the head of the surprised Canadian netminder.
Canada finished 4-for-6 on the power play while the Czechs converted once on five attempts.
Team Canada will be back in action Wednesday with a match against Norway at 4 p.m. ET at HSBC Arena. The Czechs will have a day of rest before taking on Sweden Thursday at Dwyer Arena in Niagara Falls, Ont.
NOTES: Calvin De Haan left the game in the second after injuring his knee in a collision with Czech defenseman Michal Hlinka...Finland bested the Swiss 4-0 in earlier preliminary play.
By Mackenzie Liddell