U.S. beats Denmark for quarterfinal berth; another honor for Larkin
Team USA clinched a spot in the quarterfinal round with its fourth straight win, and Red Wing Anthony Mantha scored two more goals for Canada in the International Ice Hockey Federation World Championship in Slovakia on Saturday.
In Team USA’s 7-1 win over Denmark in Kosice, Farmington Hills native Alex DeBrincat had two goals and an assist, Patrick Kane had three assists, Jack Eichel a goal and an assist, and Detroit’s Dylan Larkin (Waterford) a goal.
Larkin also was named the U.S. player of the game.
“We can still tighten up a little defensively, but overall I thought we made some good strides today," U.S. and Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill said on the USA Hockey website.
It was Blashill’s 18th World Championship victory (in 23 games), giving him the U.S. record for coaches (top division only).
The win, combined with Canada’s 8-1 win over Germany, clinched fourth place for the U.S. (3-1-0-1/W-OTW-OTL-L) in Group A.
The top four teams in Group A and Group B advance to the quarterfinals, which are on May 23.
Team USA completes its preliminary-round schedule against Germany on Sunday morning and Canada on Tuesday.
“We want to win both our final games to put ourselves in a good position,” Eichel said on the IIHF website. “We’re looking forward to Germany tomorrow and then Canada on Tuesday.”
DeBrincat now has six goals in the tournament, which ties him with Russia’s Yvgeni Dadonov and Finland’s Kaapo Kakko for second place behind Mantha, who has seven goals after his pair against Germany on Saturday.
Mantha is third in total points thanks to four consecutive games in which he scored two goals in each of three of the games. His 11 total points (seven goals and four assists) are good for third place in the tournament behind William Nylander of Sweden, who has 13 (four goals, nine assists) and Russia’s Nikita Kucherov with 12 (four goals and eight assists).
One of Mantha’s goals on Saturday was a spectacular effort. He intercepted a pass in the German zone, skated in on goal and scored when he put the puck between his legs and behind him and beat the goaltender with a shot to the outside of Mantha’s left leg. And he did all of that as a defender tried to stop him.
Canada (4-0-0-1), which has also won four in a row and got a hat trick from Mark Stone on Saturday, is second in Group A with 12 points, which is one behind first-place Finland (4-0-1-0). Both teams have two games left in the preliminary round. Canada plays Denmark on Monday before facing off against the U.S. on Tuesday.