Canadians rally to beat USA, return to Hlinka Gretzky Cup final

Aug 4, 2023 | Derek OBrien

Canada is back in the Hlinka Gretzky Cup final after defeating the USA 7-2 in the semi-finals in Trenčín. The Americans led 2-1 after one period but three quick Canadian goals early in the second turned the game around. Catton Berkly and Maxim Massé each scored twice for Canada, while Henry Mews added three assists. Canada outshot the USA 34-24. Both teams were effective on the power play, which produced seven of the game´s nine goals.

Game #12  •  Fr 4.8.2023  •  19:00
( 1:2, 3:0, 3:0)
Canada: George (D'Aigle) – Marrelli, Elick, Mews, Dickinson, Danford, Cristoforo, Parekh – Misa, Catton, Wetsch – Beaudoin, McQueen, Ritchie – Spence, Lindstrom, Martone – Massé, Josephson, Poirier – Greentree.
USA: Heil (Hendrickson) – Bales, Pitner, Felicio, McLaughlin, Keefe, Kleber, Henricks – Zellers, Swanson, Butella – Connelly, Park, Frank – Monteiro, Stefanek, Lee – McNelis, Spellacy, Young.
Goals and assists: 12. Massé (Cristoforo, Mews), 24. Spence (Parekh), 26. Catton (Parekh, Poirier), 28. Martone (Mews), 42. Beaudoin (Ritchie, McQueen), 55. Catton (Greentree, Josephson), 57. Massé (Cristoforo, Mews) – 9. Zellers (Heil), 14. Connelly (Butella, Swanson)
Shots: 34:24 (0:0, 0:0, 0:0).
Penalties: 9:9. PP goals: 4:2. SH goals: 0:0.
Referees: Hronský, Konc – Durmis, Konc ml..




The USA outscored Canada 2-1 in the first period on three power-play goals. The first goal came at 8:12 with the Americans on the power play and a second Canadian penalty on delay when goaltender Caleb Heil head-manned the puck all the way to Will Zellers at the far blueline. On a partial breakaway down the left wing, the left-shooting Zellers picked the low far side under Carter George’s glove.

The Canadians tied it a few minutes later when they passed it quickly around the U.S. zone, finishing when Maxim Massé one-timed a bouncing puck from the high slot that fluttered over the shoulder of a screened Heil. Trevor Connelly put the USA back in front, firing a wrist shot from the top of the circle over George’s blocker.

Canada took control of the game with three goals in a span of 3:25 early in the second period. Malcom Spence drew Canada even, deflecting Maximilian Merkl’s long knee-high shot in front of the net. Then on a 5-on-3, the Canadians took their first lead of the game, with captain Berkly Catton one-timing a pass from Zayne Parekh. Finally, with Canada still up by a man, Porter Martone gave his team a two-goal lead on a brilliant individual effort, carrying the puck from centre ice and overtaking all four American penalty-killers before beating Heil on a backhand deke.

“That was a nice play,” Canadian head coach Alan Letang said about Martone’s goal. “I think he recognized he had speed coming through the neutral zone and made his move. I think the guy got a piece of it but he had a little bit of puck luck that it came back onto his stick, and then he has the poise to make that move on the goalie. When he was in Sarnia, I saw him do that a few times.”

At that point, U.S. coach Luke Strand called his timeout. The Americans managed to stem the Canadian offensive onslaught after that, but they still trailed by a pair of goals entering the third period.

A USA penalty in the first minute of the third period and a Canadian power-play goal soon after by Cole Beaudoin removed whatever doubt might have remained about the outcome. The Canadians played it safe after that, concentrating more on defence. With victory well in hand, Berkly and Massé each added their second goals of the game late to round out the scoring.


Alan Letang (head coach, Team Canada): “It didn’t help that we took four or five penalties in the first period. I think we were a little bit nervous and tentative, some of the expectations and the excitement of a Canada-USA game. These are 17-year-olds that have never been in a situation like this, it’s August and it’s their first really intense hockey of the season. We calmed down after the first period and we knew that if we could play 5-on-5, we could roll our lines and get to our depth, and that’s what we did. Our goalie made a couple of huge saves early to keep us in it, because if we go down two, maybe it’s a different game.”

Luke Strand (head coach, Team USA): “Give Canada credit. They played hard, they did their things, their top players stepped up. I think maybe we lost our way with the discipline and took some penalties, and they took advantage of those. Then you start chasing the game against a pretty good team. Now it won’t be easy tomorrow but we put ourselves in this situation and we have to dig ourselves out of it, but we’re playing for our country and we have a lot of pride.”

In brief

Pre-tournament games

21.6. - The final pre-tournament games will be played on Saturday, 29th July. The Czech Republic will host Canada in Břeclav at 18:30 CET, 12:30 ET. Meanwhile, Slovakia will host the USA in Trenčín at 17:00 CET. Coverage of these games will be available at

Instagram of HGC

1.6. - The official instagram of Hlinka Gretzky Cup is availible here.

Interested in history?

6.2. - Do you know who won the Cup last year? Which team has won the most gold medals? HERE you can review the history.
History of the hockey legend

Information about Ivan Hlinka

More about the legend