Barrie Colts defenseman and Team Canada Captain Aaron Ekblad led Canada to a 4-0 victory over the Czech Republic in the team’s first game at the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament in Breclav, Czech Republic.
Michael Dal Colle of the Oshawa Generals opened the score just 2:24 into the game with a powerplay marker with the assists going to Ekblad and Robby Fabbri of the Guelph Storm. The Czech squad took a too many men on the ice penalty with less than 2 minutes remaining in the period. It proved costly as Haydn Fleury of Red Deer scored with 3 seconds remaining and Ekblad notching the lone assist.
Ekblad was robbed of a third assist when, with 2:05 remaining in the second period, he sent Spencer Watson of the Kingston Frontenacs in on a breakaway. Watson was hooked by Czech defender Dominik Masin and was awarded a penalty shot where he did everything right and put Canada up 3-0.
Just 1:24 into the third, Ekblad did get his third helper when on the powerplay Daniel Audette scored to make it 4-0. Dal Colle got the other assist.
Julio Billia of Chicoutimi made 13 saves for the shutout and much to everyone’s surprise was named Canada’s player of the game.
In other action, Finland beat the United States 3-2 in overtime, Russia defeated Slovakia 2-1 and Switzerland upset Sweden 3-2.
Canada’s next action is Tuesday when they face Sweden, while the United States takes on Russia, Slovakia entertains Finland and Switzerland battles with the Czech Republic.