BRECLAV, CZE – Daniel Catenacci (Newmarket, Ont./Sault Ste. Marie, OHL) scored 26 seconds into overtime as Canada’s National Men’s Summer Under-18 Team twice rebounded from one-goal deficits to score a 3-2 win over the Czech Republic on Saturday.
The game was Canada’s lone pre-tournament contest before it opens defense of its Memorial of Ivan Hlinka championship on Monday against Sweden in Piestany, Slovakia.
Catenacci beat Czech goaltender David Honzik to earn the win for a Canadian team that had just three days of practice together as a team and trailed 2-1 in the dying minutes of the third period.
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (Burnaby, B.C./Red Deer, WHL) was in on Canada’s first two goals, getting Canada on the board late in the second period before setting up the tying goal off the stick of Xavier Ouellet (Terrebonne, Que./Montreal, QMJHL) with less than five minutes remaining in regulation time.
Canada’s special teams were a big reason for its win – Ouellet’s game-tying goal came with the Canadians enjoying a man advantage, while the penalty killing unit kept the Czechs scoreless on seven power play opportunities, including three in the first 10 minutes of the third period, when the European side pressed for an insurance goal.
Canada will make the 70-kilometre trip from Breclav to Piestany on Sunday to prepare for Monday’s tournament opener. In addition to the Swedes, the Canadians will face Switzerland (Tuesday) and Slovakia (Wednesday) in round-robin play as they tries to win the tournament for the sixth time in seven years.