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Thursday, December 22, 2016

CANADA 5 CZR 0

OTTAWA - Anthony Cirelli struck twice and Tyson Jost added a goal and an assist Wednesday night as Canada defeated the Czech Republic 5-0 in pre-tournament play at the world junior hockey championship.

Dylan Strome and Julien Gauthier also found the back of the net for Canada, which outshot the Czechs 36-20. Connor Ingram stopped all 20 shots he faced for the shutout.

Cirelli scored his second goal on a breakaway at 14:09 of the third period to punctuate a dominant performance by the Canadians. It was Canada's second straight game shutting out an opponent in exhibition play after blanking Finland 5-0 on Monday night in Montreal.

It didn't take the Canadians long to get going as they opened a 3-0 lead by the end of the first period.

Cirelli scored at 2:13 of the first by using the back side of his stick to redirect a centering pass from Blake Speers past Czech goalie Daniel Vladar.

That lead was increased to 2-0 when Jost scored at 10:59, just nine seconds into Canada's first power play of the game as Jan Dufek sat in the box for delay of game. Jost took a backdoor pass from Nicolas Roy and had an open net to shoot at.

The Canadians went up 3-0 at 16:52 when Strome beat Vladar from the top of the faceoff circle with a perfectly placed shot just inside the far post.

Gauthier scored his team's second power-play goal of the night when he beat Vladar with a one-timer from the top of the faceoff circle to the goaltender's left to give Canada a four-goal advantage.

The Canadians got sloppy trying to clear their zone early in the second and a turnover at the blue line sent Radek Koblizek on a breakaway but he failed trying to go five-hole on Ingram. Lukas Andel had a breakaway from centre ice shortly after Gauthier's goal, but he too was unable to beat the Canadian goaltender.

Canada faces Switzerland in Toronto on Friday night in its final pre-tournament game before preliminary play opens on Dec. 26. The Czech Republic also plays Friday against the United States in Kingston, Ont.

(CP)

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