Connor Ingram made 16 saves to backstop Team Canada to a 5-3 victory over the Czech Republic on Monday to advance to the semifinals of the 2017 IIHF World Junior Championship in Montreal.
David Kase opened the scoring late in the first period, giving the Czechs a 1-0 lead after taking advantage of a strange bounce. A long shot failed to make its way to Ingram in the Canadian crease, but instead ricocheted through the air before hitting an on-ice official and landing right on the stick of Kase, who deposited it into an empty cage, past a bewildered Ingram.
A back-and-forth second period results in a 3-2 lead for Canada following 40 minutes of play.
First, it was Blake Speers tying the game 3:45 into the middle period with Mitchell Stephens giving Canada its first lead of the game moments later. Only 1:26 elapsed before Kelowna Rockets’ forward Tomas Soustal made a nifty move off a 2-on-1 before beating Ingram low to knot the game 2-2.
Canadian defenceman Thomas Chabot reclaimed the lead late in the period, executing an excellent individual effort, pinching in from the point to keep the play alive before stepping around a Czech defender and wiring a well-placed shot short side past goaltender Jakub Skarek.
— Hockey Canada (@HockeyCanada) January 3, 2017
The see-saw session continued in the third period.
After Julien Gauthier gave Canada a 4-2 lead 3:18 into the final period, Prince Albert Raiders forward Simon Stransky put a rebound past Ingram 2:36 later to get the Czechs back within striking distance once again. Quick than Stransky’s response was a second marker from Gauthier, as he popped a loose puck past Skarek 43 seconds later to restore the two-goal lead and make it 5-3 for Canada.
Ingram, the Kamloops Blazers netminder, steered aside 16 shots to earn the win between the pipes. Skarek made 36 saves in defeat for the Czechs.
Soustal was named the Player of the Game for the Czech Republic.
Brandon Wheat Kings defenceman Kale Clague finished with an assist for Canada.
Canada now advances to take on Sweden in semifinal action this Wednesday (5 p.m. Mountain). The Swedes moved into the semis after romping past Slovakia 8-3 earlier on Monday.
In other Monday action at the 2017 IIHF World Junior Championship, Finland edged Latvia 2-1 in relegation play, while Russia blanked Denmark by a 4-0 margin to advance to the semifinals. Outside of Sweden’s big win over the Slovaks, it was the United States sneaking past Switzerland 3-2 to advance.
With Canada and Sweden facing off, that leaves Russia to play the United States in the other semifinal, also set for Wednesday.
WHL Roundup at the 2017 IIHF World Junior Championship
F Mathew Barzal, Seattle Thunderbirds: 5GP – 3-4-7 – 23 SOG
D Jake Bean, Calgary Hitmen: 5GP – 0-0-0 – 6 SOG
D Kale Clague, Brandon Wheat Kings: 5GP – 0-5-5 – 7 SOG
F Dillon Dube, Kelowna Rockets: 5GP – 0-3-3 – 5 SOG
D Noah Juulsen, Everett Silvertips: 5GP – 0-1-1 – 9 SOG
G Carter Hart, Everett Silvertips: 2GP – 2-0-0, 2.50 GAA, .881 SV%
G Connor Ingram, Kamloops Blazers: 3GP – 2-1-0, 2.01 GAA, .867 SV%, 1 SO
D Vojtech Budik, Prince Albert Raiders: 2GP – 0-0-0 – 0 SOG
F Adam Musil, Red Deer Rebels: 5GP – 0-3-3 – 9 SOG
F Tomas Soustal, Kelowna Rockets: 5GP – 1-0-1 – 12 SOG
F Michael Spacek, Red Deer Rebels: 5GP – 1-2-3 – 4 SOG
F Simon Stransky, Prince Albert Raiders: 5GP – 1-0-1 – 6 SOG
D Ondrej Vala, Kamloops Blazers: 5GP – 0-0-0 – 2 SOG
F Joachim Blichfeld, Portland Winterhawks: 5GP – 3-1-4 – 10 SOG
F Alexander True, Seattle Thunderbirds: 5GP – 1-2-3 – 8 SOG
G Lasse Petersen, Red Deer Rebels: 5GP – 1-2-0, 4.26 GAA, .864 SV%
D Juuso Valimaki, Tri-City Americans: 5GP – 0-0-0 – 9 SOG
F Rudolfs Balcers, Kamloops Blazers: 5GP – 1-1-2 – 8 SOG
D Kristians Rubins, Medicine Hat Tigers: 5GP – 0-0-0 – 7 SOG
D Sergey Zborosvkiy, Regina Pats: 5GP – 0-1-1 – 6 SOG
F Radovan Bondra, Vancouver Giants: 5GP – 0-0-0 – 5 SOG
F Calvin Thurkauf, Kelowna Rockets: 4GP – 2-2-4 – 12 SOG
F Filip Ahl, Regina Pats: 5GP – 0-2-2 – 8 SOG
D Caleb Jones, Portland Winterhawks: 5GP – 0-1-1 – 5 SOG