Canada West Opens WJAC with 7-3 Win

Photo Credit: OJHL Images

COBOURG, Ont. – Tyson Jost (Kelowna, B.C./Penticton, BCHL) and Bobby McMann (Bonnyville, Alta./Bonnyville, AJHL) paced the offence with a goal and an assist each, leading Canada West to a 7-3 win over the Czech Republic in the opening game Sunday at the 2015 World Junior A Challenge.

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It’s the first time the Canadians have reached the seven-goal mark since blanking the Czechs 7-0 in their opening game of the 2012 tournament in Yarmouth, N.S.

In all, seven different players scored goals for Canada West; Brandon Biro (Sherwood Park, Alta./Spruce Grove, AJHL), Tyler Busch (Lloydminster, Alta./Spruce Grove, AJHL), Justin Fregona (Mississauga, Ont./Langley, BCHL), Kyle Betts (Flesherton, Ont./Powell River, BCHL) and Tyler Maltby (Sherwood Park, Alta./Sherwood Park, AJHL) joined Jost and McMann on the scoresheet

Dante Fabbro (Whistler, B.C./Penticton, BCHL) was the only other Canadian to record multiple points, adding two assists.

Canada West didn’t waste any time taking an early lead; Biro poked in a loose puck on a Canadian power play at 5:42, and Busch snapped a quick shot past Czech goaltender Josef Korenar less than three minutes later.

Jiri Karafiat took a pass in the slot and beat Canadian netminder Matthew Murray (St. Albert, Alta./Spruce Grove, AJHL) under the crossbar at 9:38, and the Czechs outshot Canada West 11-8 in the first period but trailed 2-1 after 20 minutes.

Jost restored the two-goal advantage early in the second with the Canadians again enjoying the man advantage, and Fregona buried his own rebound at 7:46 for a 4-1 lead.

After Pavel Kousal snuck a shot through Murray’s five-hole to cut into the West lead, Betts jammed the puck past Korenar in the final minute of the frame to make it a 5-2 game through two periods.

McMann scored another early goal in the third, flying down the right wing before beating Korenar to the blocker side, and Maltby circled the face-off dot before roofing the final Canadian goal at 6:22.

Daniel Novak capped the scoring in the final minute on a Czech power play.

Murray finished with 30 saves as the Czechs outshot Canada West 33-29; Korenar took the loss at the other end, turning away 22 of the 29 shots he faced.

The Canadians are off Monday before taking on the United States in the marquee match-up of the preliminary round on Tuesday night (7 p.m. ET), while the Czechs face the Americans on Monday (7 p.m. ET).