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Canada West Beats Czechs, Clinches Spot in Semifinals

YARMOUTH, N.S. – Jeff Wight (Coquitlam, B.C./Merritt, BCHL) and Cameron Hughes (Edmonton, Alta./Spruce Grove, AJHL) had a goal and an assist each as Canada West beat the Czech Republic 4-1 Tuesday afternoon at the 2013 World Junior A Challenge.The win wraps up first place in Group B for the Canadians, and moves them directly into Friday’s semifinals. It’s the fourth time in eight tries Canada West has won its group at the tournament, but just the second time it’s done it with two regulation-time wins.

Dylan Hollman (Red Deer, Alta./Spruce Grove, AJHL) and Demico Hannoun (North Delta, B.C./Vernon, BCHL) had the other goals for Canada West, which has won four straight preliminary round games.

Dane Birks (Williams Lake, B.C./Merritt, BCHL) and Nicholas Jones (Edmonton, Alta./Sherwood Park, AJHL) added two assists each in the win.

The goaltenders were the story early, with Jesse Jenks (Crofton, B.C./Prince George, BCHL) and Vitek Vanacek keeping the game scoreless until Wight’s low shot from the top of the circles found its way through traffic and through Vanacek late in the first period.

That would be the only goal until midway through the third period when Hollman scored his third power play goal in two games, finding a loose puck and slipping it past Vanacek.

Hannoun made it 3-0 at the 11:55 mark of the final frame, banking a shot off Vanacek from behind the net, before Adam Zboril ruined Jenks’ shutout bid on a Czech power play at 14:58.

Hughes rounded out the scoring just 23 seconds after Zboril’s goal.

Jenks made 29 saves for his second win in as many days in the Canadian goal, while Vanacek was saddled with the loss after 29 saves of his own. Canada West outshot the Czechs 33-30.

While Canada West will have a couple of days off before its semifinal on Friday (time TBD), the Czechs will face Switzerland on Wednesday (4 p.m. AT) with second place in Group B on the line.

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