Canada still in hunt for medal

O’Reilly scores in OT as Canada beats Rus­sia, ad­vances to world semi­fi­nals

Journal Pioneer - - SPORTS - BY CAROL SCHRAM

Canada will com­pete for a medal at the world hockey cham­pi­onship for the fourth straight year thanks to an­other clutch goal from Ryan O’Reilly. O’Reilly scored the game win­ner on a 4-on-3 power play with 4:57 into over­time Thurs­day as Canada beat Rus­sia 5-4 and punched its ticket to the semi­fi­nals in Copenhagen. Colton Parayko and Ryan Nugent-Hop­kins also scored power-play goals while Kyle Tur­ris and Pierre-Luc Dubois added third-pe­riod mark­ers.

“It was back and forth,” said O’Reilly, who also scored the game win­ner that elim­i­nated Rus­sia in the 2017 semi­fi­nal in Cologne, Ger­many. “We had the lead mul­ti­ple times and go­ing for­ward we have to so­lid­ify those leads and not give any­thing up. But we showed good re­silience, we kept scor­ing. We kept tak­ing the lead and hit­ting the one in over­time was huge.” The Cana­di­ans will face Switzer­land in the semi­fi­nals in Copenhagen on Satur­day. The Swiss ad­vanced with a 3-2 up­set of Fin­land on Thurs­day.

Canada came into the quar­ter-fi­nal as the lower seed af­ter a some­what lack­lus­tre pre­lim­i­nary-round per­for­mance in small-town Hern­ing. The change of scenery seemed to agree with the Cana­di­ans in their first pe­riod of ac­tion at Royal Arena in Copenhagen. Canada con­trolled the play, out­shoot­ing Rus­sia 12-4 in the open­ing frame and tak­ing a 1-0 lead when Parayko fired a mas­sive slap­shot to the glove side of Igor Sh­esty­orkin at 4:45.

The power-play goal snapped a 0-for-16 drought that had stretched over four pre­lim­i­nary-round games for Canada. It was the first of the tour­na­ment al­lowed by Sh­esty­orkin, who had been per­fect in seven pe­ri­ods of ac­tion against Slo­vakia, Be­larus and Aus­tria dur­ing pre­lim­i­nary-round play.

“We may not have been great through the group stage but we were dan­ger­ous tonight,” said Canada cap­tain Con­nor McDavid, who picked up pri­mary as­sists on all three power-play goals and now has 16 points in eight tour­na­ment games. “We did a lot of good things.” The 22-year-old was a sur­prise starter in place of the more ex­pe­ri­enced Vasili Koshechkin, who held down the No. 1 job for the gold medal-win­ning Olympic Ath­letes from Rus­sia team at the Pyeongchang Games in Feb­ru­ary.

Darcy Kuem­per made his fifth start of the tour­na­ment for Canada.

The teams traded chances in over­time be­fore Canada went to the power play af­ter Kir­ill Kapri­zov was whis­tled for slash­ing with 3:35 elapsed. Cana­dian coach Bill Peters called a time out, then sent out McDavid, O’Reilly, Aaron Ek­blad and Parayko, with O’Reilly’s goal end­ing the game. “I didn’t do too much on the play, I just stood there with my stick,” said O’Reilly. “I still don’t know how (Mc­Davis) got it through on my tape like that.”

Fi­nal shots were 41-30 in favour of Canada.

The other semi­fi­nal will fea­ture the united States and Swe­den.

The Amer­i­cans re­mained in the hunt for its first medal since 2015 af­ter a 3-2 win over the Czech Repub­lic in Hern­ing, while the Swedes edged Latvia 3-2.

CP PHOTO

Canada’s Ryan O’Reilly, left, cel­e­brates with team­mates af­ter scor­ing in over­time to beat Rus­sia 5-4 in quar­ter-fi­nal ac­tion at the world hockey cham­pi­onship Thurs­day in Copenhagen, Den­mark.

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