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OHL stars help Canada past Czech Republic to advance to U18 Worlds semi-finals

Ryan Winterton (Hamilton Bulldogs) and Shane Wright (Kingston Frontenacs) each had a goal and an assist while Mason McTavish (Peterborough Petes) racked up three helpers as Canada’s National Under-18 Team routed the Czech Republic 10-3 in Monday’s quarter-final action.

Wyatt Johnston (Windsor Spitfires) got things rolling just two minutes in before Connor Roulette (Seattle Thunderbirds) took advantage of a turnover for an early 2-0 lead. Exceptional 15-year-old talent Connor Bedard (Regina Pats) deflected a shot from Danny Zhilkin (Guelph Storm) to make it 3-0 as McTavish chipped in with the secondary assist. Lukas Pajer responded for the Czechs but a snapshot from Logan Stankoven (Kamloops Blazers) quickly restored Canada’s three-goal lead.

Second period action saw Dylan Guenther (Edmonton Oil Kings) slap home a rebound on the power play to extend Canada’s lead 1:09 into the second period before Jaroslav Chmelar gave the Czechs more life just minutes later. Guenther followed up with his second of the game off a feed from Brennan Othmann (Flint Firebirds) and help from Ethan Del Mastro (Mississauga Steelheads).

Bedard found the back of the net again 6:54 into the final frame for his fifth point of the game with an assist from McTavish and Winterson tacked on an eighth goal for Canada before Francesco Pinelli (Kitchener Rangers) connected with Brett Harrison (Oshawa Generals) for their ninth marker of the contest. Winterton contributed the secondary helper. The Canadians reached double digits with a quick shot from Wright on the power play to round out the scoring.

“A big part of why we have made it to the semifinals is because we have been playing with the lead,” said Canadian head coach Dave Barr. “We always want to get a lead early in the game, just like most teams, and we are doing everything we can to score that first goal. I am not worried about the fact we have not trailed in this tournament, because we know every team we play is going to play their best against us. Even tonight, despite what the score says, I thought the Czechs played a very solid game.”

The Canadians edged the Czechs 34-32 in shots as Ben Gaudreau (Sarnia Sting) recorded 29 saves in the win. With two and three assists in the game respectively, Pinelli and McTavish climbed into a tie for third in tournament scoring with 10 points apiece.

Canada remains undefeated in the tournament and will compete in the semi-finals on Wednesday where they’ll meet Sweden at 5:00pm ET. TSN carries the action.

GAME SUMMARY

QUARTER-FINAL SCORES:

Sweden 5, United States 2
Finland 2, Switzerland 0
Russia 5, Belarus 2

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