It was a moment of defeat for Team Canada on Monday night after losing to Czechia 5-2 during its first game of the 2023 IIHF World Junior Championship, held at Moncton’s Avenir Centre.
Canada’s Shane Wright redirected a point shot just past the midway mark of the first period. Meanwhile, Connor Bedard rounded out the Canadian scoring to an even two.
“It obviously was not the result we wanted, but [the Czechs] are a good hockey club,” said Dennis Williams, head coach for Team Canada.
“We got ourselves into some tough spots and did not play as disciplined as we would have liked, and it is tough to kill off that many penalties.”
Williams doesn’t think the Canadians took Czechia lightly but does think there were moments when the team played as individuals rather than a unit.
Los Angeles Kings defenceman Brandt Clarke, who joins Team Canada from Nepean, Ont., said he felt they did not fight hard enough to get themselves back into the game.
“We knew that if we did not bring our best game that the Czechs would be a difficult team to play against,” he said.
“We believe we are still a threat in this tournament, and although this is a tough way to start we need to look at this as a learning opportunity.”
Williams said the Canadians must learn from Monday’s game and “hit the reset button” before their next round.
“We did not make it hard on them in the defensive zone, and they were able to skate through the neutral zone easily,” said Williams.
“We will take a lot of things away from tonight and look to improve for our next game.”
Canada plays Germany on Dec. 28 at 7:30 p.m. (AT).