Hlinka Gretzky Cup: Day Two
Team Canada continues to dominate its opponents at the Hlinka Gretzky Cup. Meanwhile, Russia runs its record to 2-0 by shutting out the Swedes. With their victories, both teams have clinched first place in their respective groups.
Canada 8 Switzerland 0
Cole Perfetti led the way for Canada with two goals and two assists. His strong performance culminated in him being named Player of the Game for the Canadian squad. The line of Perfetti, Hendrix Lapierre and Justin Sourdif were dangerous throughout the game. Lapierre added two goals and an assist, while Sourdif chipped in with a goal and an assist. Canada had a wide territorial advantage, outshooting the Swiss 48-8. Kamloops Blazers netminder Dylan Garand earned the shutout in his first Hlinka Gretzky Cup start. Canada will take on the Czech Republic Wednesday at 1:00 pm EDT, to finish out the round-robin portion of the tournament.
Russia 3 Sweden 0
Jesper Wallstedt, the 16-year-old Swedish netminder turned aside 48 shots but it wasn’t enough. Russian sniper Vasili Ponomaryov finally solved Wallstedt with a powerplay goal at 12:27 of the final frame. Ponomaryov also added an assist on an empty-net marker with just over a minute left in the game. The slick Russian was on my players to watch list in my Hlinka Gretzky Cup preview. Russia will close out the round-robin portion of their schedule versus Slovakia. The Swedes will take on the USA with a spot in the semi-finals on the line.
Finland 5 Czech Republic 1
Coincidentally, it was another player on my watch list that rose to the occasion for the Finns. The diminutive center Roni Hirvonen provided most of the damage with two goals and an assist. Oliver Suni and Aatu Raty each had two points as well. Raty is expected to be one of the top selections for the 2021 NHL draft. Jan Mysak had the lone goal for the Czechs. The Czech Republic will need a win versus Canada if they hope to advance. Finland will play Switzerland in their Wednesday affair.
USA 4 Slovakia 3
Alex Gaffney played the role of hero as the Americans kept their hopes of reaching the semi-finals alive. Gaffney’s overtime heroics at 3:25 of the extra session provided Team USA with the opportunity to advance. The winner of the USA versus Sweden game on Wednesday will decide which team goes on to the semi-finals. Slovak marksman Martin Chromiak had given his team a 3-2 lead in the third period. Youngstown Phantoms forward Ben Schoen knotted the tying goal at 13:18 of the third period to set the stage for Gaffney’s game-winner.
The standings after day two.
Rick Warman is a Vancouver Canucks and prospects contributor for Overtime Heroics. Follow him @statman1956 on Twitter
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