U.S. ADVANCES TO PARA CUP GOLD MEDAL GAME
PARADISE, N.L. – Four different players registered three-point performances to power the United States to an 8-0 victory over the Czech Republic in the semifinals of the 2019 Canadian Tire Para Hockey Cup on Thursday afternoon.
The United States, which scored six of its goals in the first period, has an opportunity to capture its sixth-straight gold medal at this competition. The U.S. will duel either Canada or Russia in the final on Saturday night (6 p.m. NT).
Kevin McKee recorded two goals and an assist and Noah Grove, Brody Roybal and Jack Wallace produced a marker and two helpers apiece for the U.S., which also received a two-point performance from Declan Farmer and a goal from Rico Roman.
Jen Lee only needed to make five saves to net his second shutout of the tournament, both against the Czech Republic.
Martin Kudela, despite allowing eight goals on 33 shots, shone in defeat; at least 20 of the attempts directed his way were of ten-bell quality. He left the game due to injury with 8:46 remaining in the third period, and Michal Vapenka stopped all three shots he faced the rest of the way.
Grove initiated the offensive fireworks for the red, white and blue just 4:51 in, smacking the puck into a wide-open cage after Kudela lost sight of the puck.
The lead was doubled just 58 seconds later by Hargis, who buried a behind-the-net centring pass from Roybal.
Wallace then took over the period. He recorded primary helpers on Farmer’s power-play goal at 8:39 and McKee’s five-on-five marker with just over five minutes remaining to increase the American lead to 4-0, and scored the fifth goal himself with a picture-perfect snipe from the left face-off circle that connected with the top corner on the far side.
Roman capped the scoring frenzy with 27 seconds remaining in a first period that saw the United States outshoot the Czech Republic 18-2.
Thanks to the goaltending of Kudela, the U.S. only increased its goal tally in the second period. The 22-year-old made a multitude of sensational stops, including a breakaway blocker denial on a hard-charging Roybal.
However, Roybal got his revenge with 45 seconds remaining in the period, beating Kudela with a forehand deke in tight.
Shots favoured the Americans 12-2 in period two.
McKee scored the lone goal of period three at the 1:40 mark to increase the U.S. lead to 8-0.
Shots were 6-2 in favour of the U.S. in the third.