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Canada tops Slovakia, to face U.S. in Hlinka semifinals

by Staff /

The Canadian Under-18 select team closed out its preliminary-round schedule in Group B of the 2014 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Cup with an unbeaten record following a 5-1 victory against Slovakia on Wednesday at Zimny Stadion in Piestany, Slovakia.

Canada, the six-time and defending tournament champion, will face the United States in the semifinal round Friday at 9:30 a.m. ET. Canada has defeated the U.S. the past two years in the championship game of the Hlinka Memorial. The Americans defeated Finland 9-4 on Wednesday to advance to the semifinals.

Canada received goals from five different scorers and goaltender Callum Booth of the Quebec Remparts in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League made 12 saves in his first start of the tournament.

The Canadians opened a 2-0 lead in the first period on goals by Ethan Bear (Seattle Thunderbirds, WHL) at 5:20 and Lawson Crouse (Kingston Frontenacs, OHL) at 16:24. Mitchell Marner (London Knights, OHL), Travis Konecny (Ottawa 67's, OHL) and Tyler Soy (Victoria Royals, WHL) also scored in the victory.

Bear, Crouse, Marner and Konecny were all named to NHL Central Scouting's Futures List as top prospects eligible for the 2015 NHL Draft.

Canada has outscored the opposition 15-3 in its three wins. Filip Lestan scored a power-play goal 12:19 into the third for Slovakia, which was outshot 36-13.

Czech Republic 11, Russia 2: Simon Stransky, who plays for the Prince Albert Raiders of the Western Hockey League, scored two of the host team's five goals in the second period en route to the big win in Breclav, Czech Republic.

Stransky also had an assist. Roman Dymacek, Filip Dvorak and Jakub Zboril scored two goals each for the Czech Republic, and Ales Stezka stopped 25 of 27 shots in goal.

Kirill Kaprizov's goal at 8:33 of the first tied the game 1-1, but the Czechs scored the next seven goals, a run that was stopped when Dmitry Zhukenov scored at 6:34 of the third period to make cut the Czech's lead to 8-2.

The Czechs next face Sweden in one semifinal on Friday in Breclav. Russia plays Slovakia on Friday in the seventh-place game in Piestany, Slovakia.

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