Preview: Final day of the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Cup – The Fight for the Medals

10.08.2013 | Tomáš Lysý, Jon Rowson

While the positions from 5th down to 8th were decided on Friday, Saturday sees the final two games of the 2013 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Cup to decide where the medals will go. In the first semi-final, Canada defeated Russia 3-1, scoring twice in the first period and then closing the game out. The game between the Czech Republic and the USA in Břeclav was a more even affair. The teams went into the second intermission level, but a 49th minute goal by captain Ryan Wagner helped the United States defeat the Czechs. The gold medal game in Piešťany will be a purely North American affair, as Canada will face the USA, while the Czech Republic battle for bronze against Russia in Břeclav.

Final: Canada – USA, 15:00 CEST/09:00 EDT, Piešťany

It’s a battle for North American supremacy in the final of the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Cup. Canada may have a little more in the tank following their close, but in the end comfortable victory over Russia. After taking the lead just 39 seconds in, Sam Bennett scored in the final minute of the period to give the Canadians a 2-0 lead after the first period which the Russians simply could not claw back. Russia got a goal back in the second, and despite having an extended 5 on 3 power play in the third period, they were unable to equalise before Clark Bishop scored an empty net goal to secure Canada’s place in the final.

The second semi- final in Břeclav was a great spectacle. 1,500 fans attended last night’s game, and were treated to a thrilling game of end to end hockey. The Czechs jumped out to a lead four minutes in the game through Pavel Zacha’s one-timer, only for the United States to score two goals before the end of the period through Jake Wahlin, and tournament top-scorer Nick Schmaltz. The Green Bay Gamblers forward went on to score his second of the game after Jakub Vrana had tied the game up, but Zacha would score with forty seconds left in the second period to send the teams into the intermission level. However, Wagner’s burst of speed opened up the Czech defence and the American captain put his team ahead, before Cody Milan added an empty net goal with six seconds to go. As a result, the United States will return to Piešťany, where they played in the round robin stage, to face the Canadians.

Statistical comparison:
Top point scorer: Spencer Watson 7 points (4+3) – Nick Schmaltz 8 points (5+3).
Most goals: Spencer Watson 4 goals – Nick Schmaltz 5 goals.
Most assists: Spencer Watson and Aaron Ekblad 3 assists – Nick Schmaltz 3 assists.
Most Penalty Minutes: Spencer Watson 27 PIM – Ryan Mantha 27 PIM.
Top scoring defenceman: Aaron Ekblad 4 points (1+3) – Jack Dougherty 3 points(1+2).
Goals against average: Julio Billia 2,00 – Blake Weyrick 2.00, Alex Nedeljkovic 2.66.
Save percentage: Julio Billia .892 – Blake Weyrick .882, Alex Nedeljkovic .907.
Goals for/against per period: 6:3, 3:3, 4:2 – 9:1, 2:6, 5:2.

Third place playoff: Czech Republic – Russia, 17:00 CEST/11:00 EDT, Břeclav

The battle of the beaten semi-finalists will also have a tinge of rivalry to it, as the Czech Republic plays hosts to the Russian team. The Russian side have flattered to deceive at this edition of the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Cup. They have put together periods of strong play, blowing away Finland by scoring three goals in the first period and four goals in the third stanza, but those sandwiched a three goal second period for Finland. The Russians have struggled, especially on special teams, as their powervplay has been unimpressive, while their penalty kill has not been among the leaders at the tournament. Russia had well over ninety seconds of 5-on-3 power play in the third period against Canada, but once again the Russians were left to rue what could have been as Bishop potted the empty netter shortly after.

For the Czech Republic, a chance to play for the bronze in front of what should be another raucous crowd will be a huge motivating factor. After taking the lead and then clawing their way back into the game, they were simply shut down in the third period. The Czechs also have the advantage of not having to travel, as they will play in Břeclav for the fifth time this tournament, while the Russians have to make the trip from Piešťany.

Statistical comparison:
Top point scorer: David Pastrňák 4 points (2+2) – Maxim Lazarev 5 points (3+2).
Most goals: David Pastrňák, Jakub Vrána and Pavel Zacha 2 goals – Maxim Lazarev 3 goals.
Most assists: Michal Karabáček 3 assists – Maxim Lazarev, Radel Fazleyev, Vladislav Kodola, Ivan Nikolishin and Eduard Nasybullin 2 assists.
Most Penalty Minutes: Pavel Pýcha 6 PIM – Daniil Vovchenko 12 PIM.
Top scoring defenceman: Filip Pyrochta 3 points (1+2) – Yevgeni Nazarkin, Ilya Dervuk 2 points (1+1) and Eduard Nasybullin 2 points (0+2)
Goals against average: Vít Vaněček 2.75, Jan Pechek 3.00 – Sergei Korobov 2.33, Maxim Sidorov 3.00.
Save percentage: Vít Vaněček .921, Jan Pechek .700 – Sergei Korobov .907, Maxim Sidorov .833.
Goals for/against per period: 2:7, 5:2, 4:5 – 3:4, 4:4, 5:3.

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