It’s the holiday season, I’ve written a cringe-worthy headline, but at least I’m not on Team Canada.
Czechia 5, Canada 2
Whenever Team Canada shows up, it’s fair to assume you’ll get a good show. The first 10 minutes of their game against Czechia on Monday night promised the same: we had “Michigan” attempts, a quick pace and some great set plays. But Czechia took the lead early after scoring two goals in the first period, and it became clear that Canada needed to strengthen its 5-on-5 play, despite being relatively equal in shots on goal and rush chances. Czechia then scored two goals during a second-period power play after Canada’s Zach Dean (a Vegas Golden Knights prospect) took a major penalty for an illegal check to the head. Despite a strong third-period effort, the Czechs beat the Canadians (who were at home!) for the first time since 2014 — a Boxing Day miracle.
Here’s a closer look at how the Blackhawks prospects fared in that game:
D Kevin Korchinski, Canada
Korchinski, who’s been a solid defenseman for the WHL’s Seattle Thunderbirds, was surprisingly absent in the beginning of the game. He picked up an assist on Shane Wright’s goal, but ended with an even rating because he was on the ice when Czechia scored its second goal. Despite his quick transitions from defense to offense, he couldn’t turn the chances into goals.
Canada gets back on the board, with Connor Bedard carrying the puck into the offensive zone and sniping one past the Czech goalie to make it a 3-2 game.— EP Rinkside (@EPRinkside) December 27, 2022
Shane Wright (#SeaKraken) and Kevin Korchinski (CHI) the assists on the play.
: @TSN_Sports pic.twitter.com/qw8veG9Zff
D Nolan Allan, Canada
Allan, who was Korchinski’s Dpartner, was also quiet. His game stat chart was full of zeroes, except for three decent shots. You could catch fleeting glances of him on the Canadian penalty kill, but only if you looked closely.
F Colton Dach, Canada
Dach, a fourth-liner for Team Canada, had a surprisingly good start to the game. His speed allowed him to break up a few Czech advances, and he almost scored the game-opening goal on a rush. In the second period, though, Dach did let a Czech player go who promptly scored during that five-minute power play. Overall, Dach and Korchinski had the best game out of the Hawks prospects, and that’s probably because Dach only played 8 minutes.
Colton Dach NEARLY just opened the scoring for Team Canada with a nice power move to drive the net. #Blackhawks— Talkin’ Hawkey (@TalkinHawkey) December 26, 2022
D Ethan del Mastro, Canada
Usually a Team Canada favorite, as an assistant captain and core defensemen but del Mastro had some tough moments in this game. He had a few pass attempts picked off at the end of the first period, but perhaps the most heartbreaking moment was when he slid down on his stomach to block a shot from Czech captain Stanislav Svozil, who fired the puck over del Mastro’s neck and into the net for a 3-1 Czechia lead in the second. He skated 19:24, which was the second most among Canadian defenseman but ended as a minus-2.
Sweden 11, Austria 0
Shall we leave it at this?
F Victor Stjernborg, Sweden
Captain Stjernborg didn’t score, but he didn’t have to. He had one shot on goal and grabbed a point via an assist. That may seem low given the score, but — hey, if you’re the captain, and your team is winning 11-0, something is working.
To end on a positive note, here’s his assist:
Calle Odelius (#Isles) gets in on the action, sneaking one past the Austrian goaltender to give Sweden a 8-0 lead.— EP Rinkside (@EPRinkside) December 26, 2022
Victor Stjernborg (CHI) and Fabian Wagner (#GoJetsGo)
: @TSN_Sports pic.twitter.com/N67H2sAzNg
Sweden faces Germany on Tuesday at 12:30 p.m. (CT) while Canada is off until it plays Germany on Wednesday.