Mighty Canada claims sixth straight gold

Winnipeg Free Press - SundayXtra - - SPORTS - De­feats U. S. in Ivan Hlinka cham­pi­onship con­test — The Cana­dian Press

PI­ES­TANY, Slo­vakia — Goal­tender Julio Bil­lia made 21 saves Satur­day and Canada blanked the United States 4- 0 in the fi­nal of the Ivan Hlinka Me­mo­rial men’s un­der- 18 hockey tour­na­ment.

It’s Canada’s sixth straight gold medal at the sum­mer event, co- hosted by the Czech Repub­lic and Slo­vakia.

Canada looked dom­i­nant in a re­match of last year’s un­der- 18 world cham­pi­onship fi­nal, which Canada won 3- 2.

“When you put the Cana­dian sweater on, there’s a lot of pride,” Canada coach Dale Hunter said. “Th­ese kids here had a lot of pride at that’s what they’re go­ing to bring when the ( un­der- 18) world cham­pi­onships come next year.”

Michael Dal Colle opened the scor­ing at 3: 58 of the first pe­riod. Canada took a slash­ing penalty 30 sec­onds later, but pre­vented the United States from cap­i­tal­iz­ing to get back in the game.

From there Canada kept the pres­sure on the U. S., while Bil­lia took care of what chances the Amer­i­cans man­aged to get.

“You’re go­ing to get some shots against, and when they were there he was solid,” Hunter said of Bil­lia. “He was re­ally good on re­bounds and didn’t give them a sec­ond shot.”

Jayce Hawry­luk of Dauphin made it 2- 0 with a sec­ond- pe­riod goal, then Aaron Ek­blad and Bren­dan Lemieux scored in the third to put the game away. Spencer Wat­son added three as­sists to give him a tour­na­ment- high 10 points ( four goals, six as­sists).

Hunter had praise for Canada’s penalty- killing unit, which kept the U. S. score­less in three op­por­tu­ni­ties.

“There weren’t a lot of penal­ties, but they were at key mo­ments of the game,” Hunter said. “When you kill them off it gives the rest of the team mo­men­tum.”

Alex Nedeljkovic made 26 saves but took the loss in goal for the United States.

In the bronze- medal game, Lukas Vopelka scored with 1: 25 left in reg­u­la­tion as the Czech Repub­lic beat Rus­sia 3- 2.

Julio Bil­lia

Jayce Hawry­luk

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