World Juniors: Power plays carries U.S. to win over Slovakia
- Article by: AssociATED PRESS
- December 29, 2013 - 12:00 AM
Malmo, Sweden – Jack Eichel, Ryan Hartman and Boston University defenseman Matt Grzelyck each had a goal and an assist, leading the U.S. team to a 6-3 victory over Slovakia on Saturday in the world junior hockey tournament.
In the other Group A preliminary round game, the Czech Republic stunned Canada 5-4 in a shootout. Dominik Simon scored the deciding goal to break the tie. Canada went into the game 12-0-2 against the Czechs in previous world junior tournaments.
The U.S. team scored its first three goals against Slovakia on power plays.
“Overall, I love to see the power-play goals we were able to get tonight,” said Gophers coach Don Lucia, the U.S. head coach this year. “The negative is we gave up the two.
“We just have to clean up some of the mistakes we made out there. I was happy how we played in the third period as far as 5-on-5 play to score those separation goals and put it away.”
The U.S. led 3-2 after two periods.
Miami of Ohio’s Riley Barber, Boston University’s Dan O’Regan and New Jersey Devils prospect Stefan Matteau also scored for the Americans (2-0-0). Matteau, the son of former NHL player Stephane Matteau, plays for the Devils’ Albany affiliate in the American Hockey League.
“We don’t have that one player who’s going to go out and score four goals,” said Hartman, the West Dundee, Ill., forward who plays for the Plymouth Whalers in Ontario Hockey League. “We have a well-rounded team and everyone is contributing.”
Gophers forward Hudson Fasching, for instance, had an assist on the winning goal.
The Americans opened the tournament with a 5-1 victory over the Czech Republic on Thursday. The U.S. will play Germany (0-2-0) on Sunday, and finish group play Tuesday against Canada (1-0-1).
The United States took a 2-0 lead in the first period. Eichel, a 17-year-old forward from Chelmsford, Mass., scored with 3:07 left. O’Regan followed with a goal with one second to play.
Hartman, a Chicago first-round pick, put the U.S. ahead 3-0 at 4:22 of the second period. But Slovakia (1-0-1) came back with a pair of goals to pull within one after two periods.
Providence’s Jon Gillies stopped 27 shots for the United States. Montreal draft pick Martin Reway scored twice on him for Slovakia. Richard Sabol had 41 saves for the Slovaks.
“It’s hard to win a game when they score almost every time they get a power play,” Reway said.
The U.S. team plays Germany next at 8 a.m. Sunday.
In Group B games, Sweden and Russia each improved to 2-0-0. Sweden beat Finland 4-2, and Russia routed Switzerland 7-1.
Alexander Wennberg had two goals and an assist for Sweden.
Alexander Barabanov and Damir Zhafyarov each had a goal and an assist for Russia.
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