IIHF World U-18 Hockey Championship
Kyle Chipchura of the Prince Albert Raiders scored two power-play goals Thursday as defending champion Canada advanced to the semifinals of the world under-18 hockey championship with a 3-1 win over Slovakia.
Canada, which improved its record at the tournament to 4-1, will play Russia in the semifinals Friday. In the other semifinal, the U.S. will play either the Czech Republic or Sweden.
"They're probably the best team here," Canadian head coach Dean Chynoweth said of Russia. "They're the favourite to win the gold. They're extremely talented, they have a lot of depth up front with their forwards. It's going to be tough.'
The Canadians have not played Russia at the tournament but Chynoweth has been scouting the team.
``I saw them play the Czechs and I'm familiar with a few of their players who played in the world junior tournament,' he said.
Evan McGrath of the Kitchener Rangers scored the insurance goal and addded an assist for Canada while Devan Dubnyk of the Kamloops Blazers got the win in goal.
``He's given a chance to win every game and has been the difference in some of the games,' Chynoweth said of Dubnyk. ``He's given us the winning goaltending that we need.'
Roman Tomanek scored the lone goal for Slovakia with a shot to the top right corner. The Slovaks will now play either the Czech Republic or Sweden in the fifth-place game.
Chipchura, the top-ranked North American skater by NHL Central Scouting, opened the scoring at 8:44 of the first period when he took a pass from Ryan Garlock of the Windsor Spitfires and beat Slovak goalie Michal Valent from close range.
Chipchura, assisted by defenceman Jonathan Sigalet, made it 2-0 on another power play with 3:39 left in the first period.
Chynoweth made some changes on the power play Thursday, moving Chipchura back to the point. The strategy obviously paid off with two goals scored with the man-advantage.
Canada's lone loss was a 2-1 defeat by the U.S. on Tuesday.
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Brad Pascall Vice-President, Hockey Operations