PORTAGE LA PRAIRIE, Man. – If defense wins championships, then count Ontario among the favourites at the2011 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge. Plenty of big hits and blocked shots led Ontario to a 7-1 win over theCzech Republic on Wednesday night.
Ontario’s defence did an excellent job at containing the quick and speedy Czechs. Patrik Machac, whoharkened images of a young Jaromir Jagr with his effortless stick handling, was curtailed by the Ontarioblueliners on more than one occasion.
A first-period goal from Ontario’s Slater Koekkoek brought an enthusiastic crowd at the PCU Centre totheir feet, as the defenceman raced away on a breakaway before lighting the lamp behind Czech goaltenderDavid Gaba.
Koekkoek’s goal seemed to energize his Ontario teammates, as they came off the ensuing faceoff landing anumber of big hits on their Czech opponents.
Ontario sniper Mathew Campanga scored on a smooth wrist shot from just inside the point to make the game2-0 at 4:46 of the second period before Chris Marchese made it a three-goal lead just six seconds later.
Scott Laughton and Martin Matecjek traded goals before the end of the middle frame, and Kerby Rychel,Andreas Athanasiou and Gianluca Curcuruto rounded out the rest of Ontario’s tallies in the third period.
(Nathan can be reached at email@example.com)