VANCOUVER — Morgan Frost had a goal and an assist Saturday night, helping Team Canada to a 5-1 win over the Czech Republic at the world junior hockey championship.
Maxime Comtois, Brett Leason, Alexis Lafreniere and MacKenzie Entwistle also scored for defending champion Canada (3-0-0-0).
Ondrej Machala put up the lone goal for the Czechs (0-1-0-2), who finished fourth last year after losing 7-2 to Canada in the semis in Buffalo.
Vancouver Canucks prospect Michael DiPietro stopped 23-of-24 for Canada, including a leaping glove save on a penalty kill midway through the second period.
Jiri Patera — who plays for the Western Hockey League’s Brandon Wheat Kings — made 16 saves before he was swapped out to start the third period.
Jakub Skarek stepped in to fill the Czech net and stopped nine-of-10 shots.
GAME OVER! 🇨🇦 gets goals from 5 different players to down 🇨🇿 5-1 and stay perfect in the prelims. Game stats: https://t.co/3CM4ZThdeG #WorldJuniors #REPRESENT pic.twitter.com/nxKm7sk7ZA
— #WorldJuniors (@HC_WJC) December 30, 2018
Canada opened the scoring 6:03 into the game after right-winger Owen Tippett streaked past the Czech goal line and made a back-handed pass to Comtois in front of the net.
The captain took a quick shot, with the puck deflecting off the backside of Czech forward Martin Kaut and into the net.
The Czechs responded on the next shift.
Jan Jenick put a crisp pass on the tape of Machala and the forward released a laser that hit the arm of a sprawling DiPietro before sailing into the net.
Midway through the first period, Kaut checked Canadian defenceman Evan Bouchard head-first into the boards.
The Czech right-winger was handed a two-minute minor for boarding and 10-minute misconduct, sending Canada to the power play.
Capitalizing on the man advantage has been a struggle for the Canadians this tournament, who were one-for-eight on the power play going into Saturday’s game.
Leason helped change that, tipping a shot from Ty Smith in between Patera’s legs to put Canada up 2-1.
Lafreniere added another goal to Canada’s lead 16:39 into the second frame.
The youngest player on the team collected a pass from Jack Studnicka in the faceoff circle and fired it past Patera for his first goal of the tournament.
His teammates mobbed him along the boards in celebration.
The goal came after Canadian coach Tim Hunter limited the teen’s ice time in Thursday’s matchup with Switzerland, saying after the game against the Swiss that the young left-winger hadn’t played very well.
RELATED: Dobson scores winner, Canada edges Switzerland 3-2
Hunter was also critical of Joe Veleno, who set up the fourth goal of Saturday night midway through the second period.
The 18-year-old centre patiently protected the puck along the boards and waited for an opportunity to get a pass off. He finally found Entwistle in front of the net, and the right-winger rocketed a shot past Patera.
The Chicago Blackhawks prospect now has goals in each of Canada’s three games after starting the tournament as the team’s 13th forward.
Frost added some insurance for Canada with another power-play goal midway through the third period.
Czech captain Martin Necas hit Bouchard hard along the boards, leading to a two-minute minor and a 10-minute misconduct for checking from behind.
Canada wasted little time making use of the advantage. Nick Suzuki sliced a beautiful pass down low to Frost, who got a sharp-angle shot in behind Skarek to make it 5-1.
The Canadians will finish up round-robin play Monday when they battle Russia.
THE CANADIAN PRESS
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter