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Canada earns first regulation win; USA drops Czechs on Day Three of Ivan Hlinka Memorial

 

via Hockey Canada

BRATISLAVA, Slovakia –

Maxime Comtois scored a pair of shorthanded goals in the first period, sparking Canada to a 4-1 win over Sweden in the preliminary round finale for both, Wednesday at the 2016 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Cup.

The victory temporarily moves Canada into second place in Group B. The Canadians need Slovakia to beat Russia in regulation or overtime later Wednesday if they hope to qualify for the semifinals.

Matthew Strome found the back of the net on the power play to cap the scoring in the third period, and Shane Bowers opened the scoring in the first.

Michael DiPietro recorded the 18-save win in his second start in as many days.

Despite a parade to the penalty box in the first period – six minor penalties in the opening 20 minutes – Canada took a 3-1 lead to the intermission thanks to Bowers and Comtois.

Elijah Roberts did the work on Canada’s first goal, carrying the puck into the Swedish zone before sliding a pass to Bowers for an open-net tap-in less than five minutes in.

The Swedes answered on a two-man advantage when Erik Brannstrom got a point shot through traffic and past DiPietro at 16:35, but Comtois took over from there on the penalty kill.

He jumped on a neutral-zone turnover and raced in to beat Swedish netminder Olle Eriksson through the five-hole to restore the Canadian lead at 18:05, before taking advantage of another turnover 63 seconds later and going to the backhand to beat Eriksson to make it 3-1 with Canada playing two men short.

After being outshot 12-9 in the first period, Canada had an 8-5 advantage in a scoreless second.

Strome gave the Canadians a little more insurance on the power play early in the third period; Michael Rasmussen chased down a puck behind the Swedish net and found Strome in front for the 4-1 goal.

Canada held Sweden to just two shots on goal in the third period, and held a 29-19 advantage overall.

Canada will see the ice again Friday, but will wait for the conclusion of preliminary-round play Wednesday to find out who, where and when they play next.

 

via USA Hockey

BRECLAV, Czech Republic – Ryan Poehling scored three goals to lead the United States to a 4-2 win over Czech Republic and a first-place finish in Group A at the 2016 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Cup.

“I thought we played exceptional tonight,” said Clark Donatelli, head coach. “We really elevated our game and executed the game plan. It was one of our best games of the tournament so far.”

With the victory, Team USA marched undefeated through group play at the Hlinka tournament. The U.S. now meets Russia in a semifinal game on Friday at 11:30 a.m. ET in Bratislava, Slovakia.

Against the host Czechs, Vanya Lodnia opened the scoring for the Team USA with a power-play goal at the 8:50 mark of the first period. Lodnia collected a cross-ice pass from Sasha Chmelevski and poked it past Czech goaltender Tomas Vomacka for the goal. Czech forward Filip Chytil scored 2:22 later to even the score 1-1 after one period.

Poehling then netted his first goal of the game 8:47 into the second period, knocking home a rebound on a shot from Michael Pastujov. After the Czechs tied the game 5:51 later with a goal from Ostap Safin, Poehling completed his hat trick by scoring two goals in 63 seconds late in the period to give the U.S. a 4-2 lead.

Goaltender Cayden Primeau made 14 saves in the final period to preserve the 4-2 victory. He made 23 saves overall and improved his record to 2-0 at the Hlinka tournament.

Pastujov finished with three assists for the U.S. (2-1-0-0; W-OTW-OTL-L), while Chmelevski added two. Chmelevski currently stands as the tournament’s leading scorer with seven points (3-4=7) and Poehling is tied for the tournament lead in goals with four.

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