PIESTANY, Slovakia – Four different U.S. players scored goals and goaltender Blake Weyrick (Ojai, Calif.) made 18 saves to help the U.S. Under-18 Select Team defeat Slovakia, 5-2, in the final pool play game of the 2013 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament today.
"Our goaltender played very well and made all the saves he needed to make," said head coach Bob Corkum. "It was a total team effort today, despite everything that was going on in the game. I think we're peaking at the right time, and we're looking forward to some rest and the semifinals."
The U.S. was sparked by a four-goal outburst in the final 7:07 of the opening period. Paul Bittner (Crookston, Minn.) started the scoring when he tipped a shot past Slovakia goaltender Maximilian Pajpach 12:53 into the contest. Then, Keegan Iverson (St. Louis Park, Minn.) netted a tally between a pair of goals by Nick Schmaltz (Verona, Wis.) to make the score 4-0 before the end of the first period.
After Slovakia trimmed the lead to 4-2 with two goals in the opening 2:27 of the second, Kyle Connor (Shelby Township, Mich.) scored on a hard shot from the left side four minutes later to finish the scoring.
The U.S. Under-18 Select Team, which finished atop its group in pool play, will learn its opponent for Friday's semifinal later today.
NOTES: Nick Schmaltz was named U.S. Player of the Game ... Follow the 2013 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament on Twitter by following @USAHockeyScores and using #IvanHlinka ... The 2013 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament features teams from Canada, Czech Republic, Finland, Russia, Slovakia, Sweden, Switzerland and the United States ... Team USA has finished in the top three of the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament 10 times since the tournament's inception in 1991, including a first-place finish in 2003. The U.S. has finished second seven times (1993, 1994, 1996, 1999, 2000, 2006, 2010) and third twice (1991, 1995) ... Team USA finished in seventh place last year ... The 22 players on the U.S. roster represent 10 different states. Minnesota leads the way with eight representitives, while Michigan has four and both Illinois and Colorado have two ... Bob Corkum (Salisbury, Mass.) serves as head coach and John Gruden (Virginia, Minn.), assistant coach with USA Hockey's National Team Development Program, Matt Herr (Hackensack, N.J.) a regional manager of USA Hockey's American Development Model, and Derek Plante (Cloquet, Minn.), assistant coach at the University of Minnesota Duluth, serve as assistant coaches.
Scoring By Period 1 2 3 Total
USA 4 1 0 5
SVK 0 2 0 2
First Period -- Scoring: 1, USA, Bittner (Schmaltz), 12:53; 2, USA, Schmaltz (unassisted), 16:24; 3, USA, Iverson (Bittner), 18:55; 4, USA, Schmaltz (Poganski, Bittner), 19:07. Penalties: USA, Poganski (tripping), 0:33; USA, Dougherty (hooking), 2:23; SVK, Bilik (high-sticking), 6:49; USA, Wagner (tripping), 14:43; SVK, Hascic (hooking), 15:31.
Second Period -- Scoring: 5, SVK, Hascic (penalty shot), 2:12; 6, SVK, Jaros (unassisted), 2:27; 7, USA, Connor (Snively), 6:47. Penalties: SVK, Romancik (hooking), 1:12; USA, Mantha (tripping), 2:12; SVK, Koch (high-sticking), 5:00; USA, Malmquist (holding), 11:17.
Third Period: Scoring: None. Penalties: USA, Phelps (roughing), 3:47; SVK, Novak (slashing), 16:43; USA, Wagner (slashing), 14:23; USA, Carlo (delay of game), 15:38.
Shots By Period 1 2 3 Total
USA 18 15 7 40
SVK 5 9 6 20
Goaltenders (SV/SH) 1 2 3 Total
USA, Weyrick 60:00 5/5 7/9 6/6 18/20
SVK, Pajpach 60:00 14/18 14/15 7/7 35/40
Power Play: USA, 0-5; SVK, 0-8
Penalties: USA, 8-19; SVK, 5-10