US beats Slo­vakia 6-1 for fifth win at ice hockey worlds

Cape Breton Post - - Sports -

The United States de­feated Slo­vakia 6-1 Sun­day to stretch its win­ning run at the ice hockey world cham­pi­onship to five games ahead of its Group A show­down with Rus­sia.

Johnny Gau­dreau fin­ished with two goals to take his tour­na­ment tally to six, and an as­sist, while Jimmy Howard made 19 saves on his fourth start for the Amer­i­cans, whose con­fi­dence seems to be grow­ing with a quar­ter­fi­nal place se­cured.

Still, U.S. head coach Jeff Blashill saw room for im­prove­ment be­fore the fi­nal group game against Rus­sia on Tues­day.

“One thing we have to clean up is puck man­age­ment and turn­ing pucks over,” Blashill said.

Kevin Hayes and Brady Sk­jei played their first game on join­ing the side fol­low­ing the New York Rangers’ elim­i­na­tion from the NHL play­offs.

Sk­jei had an as­sist while Hayes picked up two and Blashill praised both for their per­for­mances.

Clay­ton Keller, the youngest player at the tour­na­ment, opened the scor­ing, as­sisted by Anders Lee and Sk­jei. It was the 18-year-old Keller’s fifth goal of the cham­pi­onship.

Gau­dreau fol­lowed suit early in the sec­ond pe­riod, set up by Hayes be­fore Martin Ger­nat pulled one back.

Two quick-fire goals from Chris­tian Dvo­rak, as­sisted by Gau­dreau, and Ja­cob Trouba put the U.S. in a com­fort­able po­si­tion.

Gau­dreau grabbed his sec­ond of the game to start the third pe­riod - Hayes again with the as­sist - be­fore Lee scored on a power play.

The U.S. moved top of Group A, one point ahead of Rus­sia, which has a game in hand. The Rus­sians face Latvia on Mon­day, when the U.S. is not in ac­tion.

Swe­den, which was boosted by the ar­rivals of cen­tre Nick­las Back­strom and goal­tender Hen­rik Lundqvist, booked its quar­ter­fi­nal place later Sun­day with a 4-2 win over Scan­di­na­vian ri­val Den­mark.

Joel Lundqvist and two goals from Wil­liam Ny­lan­der put the Swedes in a com­mand­ing po­si­tion be­fore Morten Mad­sen and Markus Lau­rid­sen pulled Den­mark back in the third pe­riod.

Back­strom sealed the win on a power play as Swe­den en­sured it can­not fin­ish any lower than fourth in Group A.

The top four in each group go through to the quar­ter­fi­nals.

The Czech Repub­lic ended France’s hopes of mak­ing the quar­ter­fi­nals from Group B with a 5-2 vic­tory in Paris.

Co-host French failed to make the most of two 5-on-3 chances and more power play time, 10:35 com­pared to just 2:43 for the Czechs.

Fin­land came from two goals down to beat the Swiss 3-2 in over­time in Group B.

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