CANADA TOPS CZECHS IN SEMIS, ADVANCES TO GOLD MEDAL GAME
BRATISLAVA, Slovakia – Matt Murray (Thunder Bay, Ont./Pittsburgh, NHL) stopped 40 shots to lift Canada’s National Men’s Team to a 5-1 win over the Czech Republic in the semifinals of the 2019 IIHF World Championship on Saturday.
Canada will play for its 27th world title, and third in the last five years, in the gold medal game Sunday against Finland (2:15 p.m. ET/11:15 a.m. PT).
Mark Stone (Winnipeg, Man./Vegas, NHL) led the way offensively with a goal and an assist for Canada, which has now won six consecutive world championship matches against the Czech Republic.
Darnell Nurse (Hamilton, Ont./Edmonton, NHL), Pierre-Luc Dubois (Ste-Agathe-des-Monts, Que./Columbus, NHL), Kyle Turris (New Westminster, B.C./Nashville, NHL) and Thomas Chabot (Sainte-Marie-de-Beauce, Que./Ottawa, NHL) also scored for Canada.
Stone’s tournament-leading eighth goal put Canada on the board first at 5:18 as he deflected a cross-ice dish from Troy Stecher (Richmond, B.C./Vancouver, NHL) past the left pad of Czech netminder Patrik Bartosak.
Murray took over for the rest of the first period as he snuffed out all 12 Czech shots – many of which were difficult point-blank deflections.
Canada dialed up the attacking pressure in the second period with two early goals.
Nurse made it 2-0 just 10 seconds into the frame, banking the puck in off Bartosak’s pad from the side of the net, and Dubois knifed in a backdoor feed from Jonathan Marchessault (Cap-Rouge, Que./Vegas, NHL) just under five minutes later. Bartosak was pulled from the net in favour of Pavel Francouz.
Meanwhile, Murray was called to make 12 saves for the second period in a row, including a couple off his helmet during a push by the Czechs with time running out before the intermission.
Turris extended Canada’s lead to four by burying a centring pass from Anthony Mantha (Longueuil, Que./Detroit, NHL) at 6:26, and Chabot went top shelf for Canada’s fifth goal less than seven minutes later.
Tomas Zohorna ended Murray’s shutout bid with just over six minutes to play.
Sunday offers Canada a chance to atone for its 3-1 loss to Finland in the opening game of the tournament. The last playoff match-up between the two nations was the 2016 final – a tilt that Canada won 2-0.