CANADA HAMMERS HOSTS TO FINISH PERFECT PRELIMS AT HLINKA CUP
JASON LA ROSE
PIESTANY, Slovakia – Canada’s National Men’s Summer Under-18 Team spread around the offence Wednesday, getting goals from five different players in a 5-1 win over Slovakia to close out the preliminary round at the 2014 U18 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Cup.
The win leaves Canada atop Group B with a perfect 3-0 record, and sets up a Friday semifinal against the United States in Piestany (11:30 a.m. ET/8:30 a.m. PT).
Ethan Bear (Ochapowace, Sask./Seattle, WHL), Lawson Crouse (Mount Brydges, Ont./Kingston, OHL), Mitchell Marner (Thornhill, Ont./London, OHL), Travis Konecny (Clachan, Ont./Ottawa, OHL) and Tyler Soy (Surrey, B.C./Victoria, WHL) scored goals for the Canadians, who won all three of their preliminary round games by identical 5-1 scores.
Jansen Harkins (North Vancouver, B.C./Prince George, WHL) was the lone Canadian skater to record multiple points, picking up two assists, while goaltender Callum Booth (Montreal, Que./Quebec, QMJHL) made 12 saves for the win in his first start of the tournament.
Bear got the scoring started early, circling the net picking up the rebound of a Harkins shot and roofing it past Slovak netminder Adam Huska just 5:20 into the first period.
Crouse made it 2-0 just before the intermission, picking up the puck off a won face-off by Nicolas Roy (Amos, Que./Chicoutimi, QMJHL) and going five-hole on Huska at 16:24.
Canada outshot Slovakia 14-3 in the first period, and continued to pour on the offence in the second, with Marner’s goal just 1:15 into the middle frame making it 3-0; after his attempted pass to Dylan Strome (Mississauga, Ont./Erie, OHL) was blocked, Marner found the puck in the slot and beat Huska.
Konecny and Soy pushed the Canadian lead to 5-0 with goals 70 seconds apart early in the third period before Filip Lestan spoiled Booth’s shutout bid on a Slovak power play with less than eight minutes to go.
Canada finished with a 36-13 advantage in shots on goal.
The winner of the Canada-U.S. semifinal will meet either the Czech Republic or Sweden, who meet in Breclav, Czech Republic on Friday in the other semi.