Hosts Czech Republic, Paralympic champions USA and European silver medallists Italy all remained undefeated after securing their second consecutive victories at the 2019 World Para Ice Hockey Championships on Sunday in Ostrava, Czech Republic.
Both the Czech Republic and Italy earned their spots in the quarter finals from Group B with their victories, while USA booked a spot in the semi-finals with their win in Group A.
Czech Republic 6-1 Sweden
Czech Republic kept their fans roaring at the Ostravar Arena with another victory in Group B of the preliminary round, this time a 6-1 win over Sweden with two scores from star forward Michal Geier.
“The atmosphere was great to play in, and with the fans behind us they were like a sixth man for the team,” Geier said.
Three-time Paralympian Jiri Raul struck first, 1:34 into the opening period, to give the Czech fans something to cheer for early. Three minutes later, Geier came full circle around the net to barely push the puck past the line, and his goal would stand after undergoing a review by the officials.
Six-time Paralympian Niklas Ingvarsson put Sweden on the board later in the period with a power-play score before Pavel Dolezal countered him with a power-play goal of his own with 47 seconds left in the frame.
Czech forward Zdenek Krupicka scored the lone goal of the second period thanks to a nicely crafted pass from defender Tomas Kvoch. Zdenek Habl, in his fifth World Championship appearance, found the net in the third, as did Geier once again. Michal Vapenka was the winning goaltender.
Italy 5-1 Japan
Italy also remained undefeated in Group B with a 5-1 defeat of Japan, as five different players scored for them.
Veteran forward Florian Planker, in what he said will be his last World Championships, struck first exactly one minute into the game to give Italy the early advantage.
Andrea Macri then shoveled the puck to the top left of the net with 22 seconds remaining in the first period to double their lead.
Japan scored their first goal of the tournament in the second period when Nad Kodama found the net, but then Italy responded with a trio of goals in the final frame from Alex Enderle, Nils Larch and Sandro Kalegaris.
It was the first World Championship goal of his career for Enderle, a 21-year-old defender whose leg was amputated in 2016 after his motorcycle was hit by a car.
Gabriele Araudo got his second win in the net in as many days with 11 saves, while Japan’s Shinobu Fukushima fended off the puck 20 times.
“We have now guaranteed ourselves a spot in the top six at these World Championships,” Macri said. “We now have to keep on for the next match, so that we can finish each game with a smile.”
Canada 14-2 Norway
After losing their opening game to USA on Saturday, reigning world champions Canada came out firing on all cylinders to notch a dominating 14-2 win over Norway in Group A with hat-tricks from Tyler McGregor and Billy Bridges.
“We knew we wanted to tidy some things up so it was exciting for us to come in today and get off to a quick start and get everybody involved and get some goals on the board,” said Canada captain McGregor.
Six different players scored for Canada in the opening period. Corbyn Smith picked up a pass from Liam Hickey to rifle it into the net and then Greg Westlake found the puck in the crease to double Canada’s lead.
Dom Cozzolino, Antoine Lehoux, McGregor and Bridges then all stacked the board with more scores.
Canada’s offense continued to click in the second period, with Bridges and McGregor both scoring twice to notch hat tricks.
Hickey found the net for two scores and Rod Crane tallied a score on his World Championship debut.
Norway did break through at 7:51 in in the second period, as Ola Oiseth found a way to get the puck past Corbin Watson.
In the final frame, Audun Bakke got his third goal of tournament for Norway, as 22-year-old Zach Lavin added an insurance score for Canada in his first major international appearance.
Watson was the winning goaltender with six saves, and Johan Groeline and Erik Haugen split the duties in net for Norway with five and six saves, respectively.
USA 4-0 South Korea
Paralympic champions USA kept their momentum going with a 4-0 win over South Korea to remain undefeated atop Group A.
Jack Wallace, a biomedical engineering student, scored his second Worlds goal to get the momentum rolling for USA on a power-play 3:30 into the game.
Brody Roybal, playing in his third Worlds and still only 20 years old, exercised patience with the puck to double USA’s lead.
In the second stanza, forward Declan Farmer cashed in on a pass from captain Josh Pauls to increase the USA lead to three. Forward Noah Grove then picked up a pass from Pauls in the third, slicing it into the goal while bent to his side. Pauls finished the game with three assists.
The USA held South Korea to two shots on goal, with Jen Lee being the winning goaltender just two weeks after completing the Boston Marathon. Man-Gyun You had 12 saves for South Korea.
“We’re going to now take it one day at a time, live in the day here and leave the last day behind us,” said Roybal, as Team USA members plan to see The Avengers movie on their day off on Monday.
All teams will have Monday off before continuing with the final set of group matches on Tuesday.
You can catch live coverage and results on the Ostrava 2019 website.