Cozens scores 2nd of game in OT as Canada outlasts Czechia at hockey worlds

Canada will face Slovakia on Thursday for the quarterfinals
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Canada’s Dylan Cozens celebrates after scoring his team’s fourth goal during the preliminary round match between Czech Republic and Canada at the Ice Hockey World Championships in Prague, Czech Republic, Tuesday, May 21, 2024.THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Petr David Josek

Dylan Cozens says he’s having a blast at the world hockey championship, and his enthusiasm is showing up on the scoresheet.

Cozens scored his second goal of the game short-handed in overtime as Canada held on for a 4-3 win over host Czechia on Tuesday.

That gave the Buffalo Sabres forward from Whitehorse eight goals in seven games as Canada finished the preliminary round in top spot in Group A with 19 points on five regulation wins and two overtime victories

“I am having a lot of fun here. This is some of the most fun hockey I have ever played and the best atmosphere I have ever played in,” Cozens said. “The fans here are incredible and the crowds have been amazing every game, so I am really enjoying this experience.”

Cozens scored the winner when he pounced on a turnover in the Canadian zone and advanced into Czechia’s end.

His pass intended for Colton Parayko was broken up, but he regained possession of the puck and poked a backhand past sprawling Czech goaltender Lukas Dostal.

Canada will face Slovakia in Thursday’s quarterfinals.

“The mood in the room is great right now, and tonight was a heck of a game,” Canada coach André Tourigny said. “There was no time or space, both teams were working really hard and both teams were patient.”

Czechia had a chance to take over top spot in the group but ended with 16 points. Switzerland, which played Finland later Tuesday, was at 14 points and had the chance to finish second with a regulation win.

Dawson Mercer and Brandon Hagel had Canada’s other goals, while Jordan Binnington made 19 saves.

“This was a great way to finish off the preliminary round,” Mercer said. “Playing the home team, obviously we knew the energy in the building was going to be incredible, and to get the win in overtime and finish at the top of the standings is huge for our group.

“We are excited for the medal round, and now we need to get ready for the quarterfinals.”

Dominik Kubalik, Ondrej Palat and Roman Cervenka scored for Czechia, which got 22 saves from Dostal.

Cervenka scored with one minute 49 seconds remaining as Canada and Czechia combined for five goals over the last 11 minutes of regulation.

Cozens opened the scoring on a power play just over a minute into the final period with a power-play goal.

Kubalik tied it at 9:11 of the third on a power play, then Canada appeared to take control as goals from Mercer and Hagel put the defending champions up 3-1 with four minutes 18 seconds left to play.

But with Mercer in the penalty box for tripping, the hosts got a goal back when Palat scored with Dostal on the bench for an extra attacker.

Cervenka sent the game to overtime when he scored with an extra attacker less than two minutes later.

Pierre-Luc Dubois was called for holding early in the overtime period, and it looked like another late penalty might sink Canada. But Cozens pulled his teammates out of danger with his second short-handed goal of the tournament.

“There is no quit in this team,” Cozens said. “Even when (Czechia) tied (the game), we did not give up. We were short-handed, but we played for each other and found a way to win, and that is what we do as Canadians.”

Boston star David Pastrnak was making his tournament debut with the hosts after the Bruins were eliminated by Florida in the second round of the NHL playoffs. He was held off the scoresheet.

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The Canadian Press