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Connor McDavid goal helps Canada edge Czechs 5-4 in under-18 exhibition game

The first pick in the 2012 OHL draft, forward Connor McDavid, gets his first taste of regular-season major-junior hockey Thursday, when his Erie Otters are on the road to clash with the Niagara IceDogs.

Peter Power/The Globe and Mail

Connor McDavid got the tying goal in the third period and Laurent Dauphin scored the game-winner in a shootout as Canada edged the Czech Republic 5-4 on Tuesday in their final exhibition game ahead of the IIHF under-18 championship.

Braydon Point scored twice while Sam Bennett also had a goal for Canada.

The Canadians rebounded from a 4-1 loss to defending champion United States in pre-tournament play last week.

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The Czechs took a 4-2 lead early in the third period on a power play goal from Jakub Vrana, but goals 2:17 apart from Point and McDavid tied the game.

"We played really well in the third," said coach Don Hay. "We battled back and were very competitive.

"Overall, we're pretty happy with the effort."

McDavid, the underage Erie Otters' star who won't be eligible for the NHL draft until 2015, scored on what Hay called a "great individual rush.

"It showed his skating ability and skill. Against the U.S., he looked a little nervous, but that was to be expected."

Kingston forward Bennett gave Canada the lead 2:45 into the game, Martin Kahout tied it and Point, of the Moose Jaw Warriors, put Canada up 2-1 after the first.

What Hay called a lull in the second saw the Czech go ahead through goals from Roman Prikryl and Dominik Kabalik.

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Canada opens the round robin portion of the tournament Thursday against Slovakia, then plays Saturday against Germany, April 22 against Switzerland and April 23 against Sweden. The final is on April 28.

Canada expects an influx of players from junior teams that have been eliminated from their playoffs in the next few days. Canada won U18 gold in 2003 and 2008, but the Americans have won the last four years.

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