Canada edges Slovakia

U18: Perlini double improves Canucks to 3-0


Brendan Perlini scored his first two international IIHF goals for Team Canada. Photo: Jana Chytilova / HHOF-IIHF Images

IMATRA – Canada has moved closer to securing the top seed in Group A at the 2014 IIHF U18 World Championship with a 2-1 win over Slovakia. Forward Brendan Perlini had both goals for the Canadians.

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Tied 1-1 early in the third period, Slovakia had an opportunity to get ahead when Jayce Hawryluk was called for a roughing penalty, but couldn’t convert despite a couple of great chances.

Canada then scored the go-ahead goal with 6:37 left to play, when Perlini roofed a shot home from the left circle past Slovak goaltender Adam Huska’s glove.

“It felt good to get on the board today,” said Perlini. “It was a good win by the guys and a real test for us and we showed that we could play.”

This year’s edition of the Slovak U18 national team, which opened the tournament with a near-upset of Russia, has been a different animal from the one that finished in ninth place last year and was playing in Division I Group A the year before that.

No one told the Canadians, though, who have never lost a game to Slovakia at the U18 level but found themselves down by a goal in the first period. Slovak Mario Grman was whistled for a roughing penalty, but moments after the ensuing faceoff forward Juraj Mily pounced on a neutral zone turnover by the Canadians and took off for the net, beating goaltender Mason McDonald with a nice triple forehand deke to give the underdog Slovaks a 1-0 lead.

The Slovak defence did a great job in keeping Canada on the outside and matching their physical play with some big hits whenever the Canadians took the puck into the Slovak zone. But with seven second left in the second period Canada equalized with a power play goal by Perlini, who got the puck from a centering shot from Haydn Fleury, turned in front of the net and threw it home.

“Slovakia is a hard working team, they bring it every game and we knew we had to do the same,” said Canada’s team captain Roland McKeown. “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.”

Canada (3W-0L) will get another big test on Tuesday with its final preliminary round game coming against rivals Russia.

Despite the loss Slovakia holds four points and looks safe to advance to the playoff round as bottom-ranked Germany has yet to win a game. They will finish off the preliminary round against Sweden on Monday.

“I’m very happy with our team,” said Slovak defenceman Christian Jaros. “We are playing together and we must skate well and play aggressive to be successful.”

USA – Denmark 7-0 (1-0, 2-0, 4-0)

LAPPEENRANTA – The United States dominated from start to finish, outshooting Denmark 59-8 and scoring seven goals in a 7-0 victory.

Forward Jack Eichel had two goals and an assist, and Jared Fiegl scored a goal and won the Best Player award for the States. All in all 12 American players recorded at least one point in the blowout.

The loss means that Denmark (0W-3L) would need to beat Switzerland and get some help from the Czech Republic in order to have a chance at avoiding the relegation round. The United States have six points in three games and sit at No. 2 in Group B, with a game against the top-ranked host team Finland on Tuesday.

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