In Canada’s locker room, Brandt Clarke could sense the escalating enthusiasm.
Three NHL players and the presumed first pick in the 2023 draught were on a talented, extremely skilled group that was ecstatic at the prospect of wowing the passionate home crowd. It was an altogether different, jaw-dropping story when the puck was dropped.
In the opening game for both nations at the global junior hockey championship on Monday, Jaroslav Chmelar and Matous Mensik of the Czech Republic stunned Canada 5-2 with goals scored 33 seconds apart during a five-minute penalty play.
One of three NHL players on loan to the national team, Clarke stated, “We wanted to put on a show.” “Perhaps that distracted us from what we really wanted to do, which was to play tough and be a team that no one wants to play against. We weren’t that, according to [the Czechs]. They handled the puck well both in their own zone and in our zone, having the little issue either time.
Underdog Czechia also referred to as the Czech Republic, scored goals through Stanislav Svozil, David Spacek, and David Moravec, who each had a goal and an assist. With 36 saves in front of a disciplined, focused team, Tomas Suchanek was outstanding.
Never felt better, according to Svozil. “I’m not sure how to describe it,”
For a disorganized, occasionally free-wheeling Canada, Shane Wright responded with a goal and an assist, and Connor Bedard answered. The fourth-overall pick in 2022 and captain of Canada, Wright, stated, “We’re all just upset – disappointed with our effort, disappointed with the result. We are aware that we are far more capable than that.
Bedard, a prodigy anticipated to be selected first overall in June, added, “They played with a little more intensity to start. For a significant portion of the game, “they outworked us.”
The other game in Group A saw Sweden thrash Austria 11-0.
We knew there were some extremely talented teams if we didn’t bring it, so I won’t use the word “shock,” said Clarke. “Where everything happened so quickly, it’s kinda like ‘disbelief. Wow, the game has gotten away from us, that is how it feels.
“We didn’t struggle to rejoin it.”
Canada lost to the Czech Republic just twice in 24 matches with them at the men’s under-20 showcase since 1994, with the other defeat occurring in a shootout in the preliminary stage of 2013. Canada was going for its 20th gold medal after winning in Edmonton this past summer.
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