STROME’S HAT TRICK LEADS CANADA TO IVAN HLINKA FINAL
JASON LA ROSE
PIESTANY, Slovakia – Dylan Strome (Mississauga, Ont./Erie, OHL) scored a hat trick to pace a high-powered offence, and Canada’s National Men’s Summer Under-18 Team advanced to the gold medal game at the 2014 U18 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Cup with an 11-5 rout of the United States in Friday’s semifinal.
The Canadians are into the final for the seventh consecutive year, and will play for their seventh straight gold medal on Saturday against the Czech Republic in Breclav, Czech Republic (11 a.m. ET/8 a.m. PT).
Travis Konecny (Clachan, Ont./Ottawa, OHL) scored twice, and Jansen Harkins (North Vancouver, B.C./Prince George, WHL), Mathew Barzal (Coquitlam, B.C./Seattle, WHL), Lawson Crouse (Mount Brydges, Ont./Kingston, OHL), Adam Musil (Delta, B.C./Red Deer, WHL), Mitchell Stephens (Peterborough, Ont./Saginaw, OHL) and Tyler Soy (Surrey, B.C./Victoria, WHL) added singles for Canada.
In all, 16 of Canada’s 18 skaters recorded at least one point, and 11 had multiple-point performances.
Strome got the scoring started for Canada just 50 seconds after the puck dropped, but tournament scoring leader Thomas Novak replied for the U.S. less than three minutes later.
The Canadians took the lead for good at 14:33 of the opening frame on Strome’s second of the period, and Harkins finished off a shorthanded two-on-one with Stephens to make it a 3-1 game after 20 minutes.
The U.S. made it a one-goal game again early in the second period, but it was all Canada from there.
Barzal restored the two-goal lead at 8:15, taking a feed from Nick Merkley (Calgary, Alta./Kelowna, WHL) right off the face-off, and Strome finished his hat trick at 9:58, hammering home a one-timer on a Canadian power play.
After Tanner Laczynski got one back for the Americans on a man advantage of their own, Konecny scored twice in 3:04, and Crouse went end-to-end with 35 seconds left in the period to push the Canadian advantage to 8-3 after two.
Musil buried a rebound at 2:04 of the third period to make it a six-goal game, and Stephens pushed the Canadians into double-digits midway through the final frame.
The U.S. scored twice to make it 10-5, but Soy capped the scoring on a three-on-one in the last minute.
Zach Sawchenko (Calgary, Alta./Moose Jaw, WHL) earned his third win in as many starts in the Canadian goal, finishing with 24 saves.
It is the first time Canada has scored 10 or more goals in a summer under-18 game since beating Slovakia 12-2 at the 2000 Four Nations Cup, and it is the Canadians’ biggest summer U18 win over the U.S. since 1992.