Harrison Blaisdell (Chilliwack Chiefs, BCHL) nettted two goals in a Team Canada West 5-4 shootout loss to the Czech Republic in their final preliminary game at the World Junior A Challenge. Hockey Canada images

Shootout loss for Canada West against Czech Republic

Team Canada West now looking forward to semifinal game

Team Canada West has already booked their ticket to the World Junior A Challenge semifinal, but a loss to the Czech Republic in Thursday night’s final preliminary round game has coaches taking a second look at their game plan.

“For us to get prepared for the semis, we have to make sure that we dial in to the coaching plan that we have here. We have to get 22 guys going,” said Rick Swan, head coach for Team Canada West.

Harrison Blaisdell (Chilliwack Chiefs, BCHL) posted a two-goal night in an offensively-charged contest, but it was the Czech Republic that earned a 5-4 shootout win.

Related: BCHL’ers blanked by Russia at World Junior A Challenge

Czech Republic players Vojtech Strondala and Jan Kern scored 59 seconds apart in the third period to tie the game and Strondala netted the game-winner in the shootout.

“We wanted to build momentum going into the semifinal because we know that test is going to be tremendous for us. Again, it’s playing our way, the right way, playing the Western way and that’s 200-foot hockey. I think we deviated from that game a little bit and we certainly made it a more difficult than it should have been here tonight for us against a very good Czech team,” said Swan.

Related: Penticton Vees player earns assist in Canada West win

The teams combined for 85 shots on goal through regulation and overtime, with the Canadians holding a 46-39 advantage.

Not surprisingly it was the goaltenders who stood out – the Czech duo of Tomas Vomacka and Daniel Dvorak, and Canadian netminder Matthew Radomsky (Winnipeg, Man./Steinbach, MJHL) combined to stop 78 shots, plus seven of 10 attempts in the shootout.

With the game on his stick in the fifth round, Strondala slowly worked his way in slowly before going five-hole on Radomsky to get the Czechs into the win column and put them in the driver’s seat for a semifinal spot.

Related: BCHL forward helps Team Canada West to win over U.S.

The Czechs struck for an early lead; Zdenek Sedlak beat Radomsky with a quick shot off a set-up from Bambula just 76 seconds after the puck dropped in the first period.

Blaisdell answered for West three minutes later, poking in a loose puck that had squeezed through Vomacka, with an asset to David Silye (Penticton Vees, BCHL). Mathieu Gosselin (Merritt Centennials, BCHL) forced a turnover behind the net before setting up Riley Hughes (Victoria Grizzlies, BCHL) to put the Canadians up 2-1 after 20 minutes.

Austin Wong (Okotoks, AJHL) pushed the lead to two just 31 seconds into the second period, snapping in a shot from the slot and chasing Vomacka, who gave way to Dvorak after allowing three goals on 14 shots.

That looked to be the score heading to the second intermission, but Bambula banged in a Strondala rebound for a power-play goal in the final minute of the middle frame, making it a 3-2 game through two.

Blaisdell added a second goal on a Canadian power play at 6:27 of the third period, going skate-to-stick before swatting a backhand past Dvorak, but the Czechs tied it up less than two minutes after that.

West captain T.J. Lloyd (Spruce Grove, AJHL) had the best Canadian chance in overtime, ringing a shot off the cross-bar, and Radomsky turned away a Lukas Rousek breakaway as time expired to get the game to a shootout.

Bambula and Alex Newhook (Victoria Grizzlies, BCHL) traded goals in the first two rounds before Strondala ended it. Massimo Rizzo (Penticton Vees, BCHL), Silye, Blaisdell and Wong missed on their attempts for Canada West.

The Czechs are right back at it Friday night in the prelim finale, looking to secure their semifinal spot against Canada East (7 p.m. MT), while West won’t see the ice again until its Saturday semifinal.

To report a typo, email: editor@pentictonwesternnews.com.

Jordyn Thomson | Reporter
JordynThomson 
Send Jordyn Thomson an email.
Like the Western News on Facebook.
Follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Public warned to stay away from algae bloom near Herald Park in Shuswap Lake

Interior Health states that people, pets should not drink the water in the area or touch the algae

South Shuswap residents say Balmoral Road intersection improvements could be better

Reliance on frontage roads along Trans-Canada Highway and narrow underpasses criticized

Sign of spring: Salmon Arm’s steep Shoemaker Hill opens to traffic

Opening delayed by snow and freezing temperatures

20th anniversary of Shuswap’s Salty Dog Enduro postponed to 2021

Organizers follow direction from provincial/national bodies to cancel May event

West Kelowna man charged in relation to cannabis grow robbery in Sicamous

Two suspects remain at large; police believe they left the robbery scene in a white hatchback

COVID-19 death toll reaches 50 in B.C., while daily case count steadies

B.C. records 34 new cases in the province, bringing total active confirmed cases to 462

B.C. unveils $5M for mental health supports during the COVID-19 pandemic

Will include virtual clinics and resources for British Columbians, including front-line workers

B.C.’s COVID-19 rent supplement starts taking applications

$300 to $500 to landlords for April, May and June if eligible

COVID-19: No more international flights at Kelowna International Airport

All international flights at YLW have been suspended, airport to operate just nine flights a day

B.C.’s top doctor details prescription for safe long weekend

Yes, it includes hosting an online cooking show

BC SPCA seeks help for abandoned German shepherd puppies

Donations have ‘petered out’ as doors are closed due to COVID-19

Reality TV show about bodybuilders still filming in Okanagan amid COVID-19

Five bodybuilders from across the country flew to Kelowna to move into a house for a reality TV show

Serious assault leaves Osoyoos woman in critical condition: RCMP

A 60-year-old Osoyoos woman suffers life threatening injuries following assault inside home

COVID-19: Vernon pet grooming store closed temporarily after symptoms shown

Wet Spot Grooming and Pet Care to announce return Easter Monday

Most Read