PERLINI’S PAIR LEADS CANADA OVER SLOVAKIA AT U18 WORLDS
JASON LA ROSE
IMATRA, Finland – Brendan Perlini (Sault Ste. Marie, Ont./Niagara, OHL) scored both goals, including the winner with 6:37 to go, to help Canada’s National Men’s Under-18 Team to a 2-1 victory over Slovakia on Sunday at the 2014 IIHF Ice Hockey U18 World Championship.
The win keeps Canada alone atop Group A with nine points through three games, five points clear of the rest of the group, although Russia, Sweden and Germany have played one less game.
Mason McDonald (Halifax, N.S./Charlottetown, QMJHL) had his second strong start of the tournament in the Canadian goal, turning aside 21 of 22 shots. He’s 2-0 with a 1.00 goals-against average and .957 save percentage thus far.
Despite outshooting Slovakia 9-6 in the first period, the Canadians found themselves down 1-0 after 20 minutes – the first time they’d trailed in the tournament – thanks to a Juraj Mily shorthanded goal.
Canada continued to apply the pressure in the second period, and were rewarded on the power play with just seven seconds left in the middle frame; Perlini finished off a set-up from Haydn Fleury (Carlyle, Sask./Red Deer, WHL) and Travis Sanheim (Elkhorn, Man./Calgary, WHL) to send the game to the intermission tied 1-1.
Just as they did one day earlier, when Ryan Gropp (Kamloops, B.C./Seattle, WHL) scored the winner with less than six minutes to go in a win over Germany, the Canadians struck late to earn the full three points, with Perlini and Braydon Point (Calgary, Alta./Moose Jaw, WHL) combining on the deciding goal.
Canada will look to finish off a perfect preliminary round on Tuesday when it faces Russia; the game can be seen live on TSN, beginning at 9 a.m. ET/6 a.m. PT.