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Perlini sparks Canada past Slovakia at U-18 Worlds

Sunday, 04.20.2014 / 6:04 PM

By NHL.com Staff -  / 2014 NHL Draft blog

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2014 NHL Draft blog
Perlini sparks Canada past Slovakia at U-18 Worlds

Brendan Perlini's goal with 6:37 remaining in regulation was the game-winner as Canada beat Slovakia 2-1 Sunday in a preliminary-round game at the 2014 IIHF World Under-18 Championship at Imatra Arena in Imatra, Finland.

Perlini, No. 8 among North American skaters in Central Scouting's final rankings for the 2014 NHL Draft, scored two goals after Slovakia took a 1-0 lead after one period.

Mason McDonald, ranked No. 2 by Central Scouting among North American goaltenders, stopped 21 of 22 shots, and Canada improved to 3-0 in the tournament and remained alone atop Group A.

Juraj Mily scored a shorthanded goal at 12:24 of the first period to give Slovakia a 1-0 lead, but then Perlini, who had one assist in Canada's first two games, took over.

"It felt good to get on the board [Sunday],” Perlini told the IIHF website. "It was a good win by the guys and a real test for us and we showed that we could play."

Perlini, who plays for the Niagara IceDogs of the Ontario Hockey League, scored a power-play goal with seven seconds left in the second period to tie the game, and then scored again late in the third to win it.

Canada next plays Tuesday against Russia in the final game of the preliminary round, and can feel good about its game as it gets ready to defend the gold medal it won at last year's tournament.

"Slovakia is a hard-working team," Canada captain Roland McKeown told the IIHF website. "They bring it every game and we knew we had to do the same. We’re starting to come together now and really build that puck-possession game. We just need to keep our intensity level high and keep moving forward."

Slovakia next plays Monday against Sweden.

United States 7, Denmark 0 -- Sonny Milano, No. 16 among North American skaters in Central, Scouting's final rankings for the 2014 draft, had a goal and two assists to lead the U.S. in a game played at Lappeenranta Arena in Lappeenranta, Finland.

Edwin Minney, ranked by No. 7 by Central Scouting among North American goalies, stopped all eight shots he faced as the Americans won by shutout for the second straight game. Alex Nedeljkovic had 24 saves in a 3-0 defeat of the Czech Republic on Saturday. Nedeljkovic, who plays for the Plymouth Whalers of the Ontario Hockey League, is No. 4 on Central Scouting's final North American goalie ranking.

Jack Eichel, a top prospect for the 2015 draft, had two goals and an assist in the game.

Milano opened the scoring when he scored on the rebound of an Eichel shot at 10:24 of the first period. Jared Fiegl and Eichel scored in the second as the U.S. outshot Denmark 21-0.

Jack Glover, Ryan Hitchcock and Kyle Connor scored in the third period.

The win leaves the U.S. two points behind Finland for first place in Group B. The teams will play Tuesday in the final day of the preliminary round.

Denmark is 0-3 and closes the preliminary round against Switzerland on Monday.