Canada beats Czech Republic to advance to gold-medal game at world championship
Canada players celebrate with their goaltender Matt Murray, left, at the end of the Ice Hockey World Championships semifinal match between Canada and Czech Republic at the Ondrej Nepela Arena in Bratislava, Slovakia, Saturday, May 25, 2019. Canada won 5-1. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
The Canadian Press
Published Saturday, May 25, 2019 3:53PM EDT
BRATISLAVA, Slovakia -- Mark Stone scored his tournament-leading eighth goal and Matt Murray made 39 saves as Canada downed the Czech Republic 5-1 on Saturday to advance to the gold medal game at the world hockey championship.
Darnell Nurse, Pierre-Luc Dubois, Kyle Turris and Thomas Chabot also scored for Canada in the second semifinal of the men's international tournament. Finland edged Russia 1-0 in the earlier semi.
Tomas Zohorna scored the lone Czech goal, with 6:01 left to play in the third period.
The win sets up a rematch of Canada's first game at the tournament, a 3-1 loss to Finland on May 10. The gold medal game will also serve as a rematch of the 2016 final in Moscow, which Canada won 2-1.
Canada has won eight straight games at this year's tournament after dropping the opener.
Canada opened the scoring in Saturday's game at the 5:18 mark of the first period when Stone streaked to the net to tip a centering pass from Troy Stecher below the glove of Czech netminder Patrik Bartosak.
Nurse doubled the lead just 10 seconds into the middle frame when he picked up the puck behind the net and deposited it behind an unsuspecting Bartosak on a wraparound play.
Bartosak's day came to an end at the 5:06 mark of the second, when Dubois converted a cross-ice feed from Jonathan Marchessault for Canada's third goal of the game. Bartosak was replaced by Pavel Francouz, who gave up third-period goals to Turris and Chabot.
Canada's penalty killing played a crucial early role in the win. Ranked 11th out of 16 teams going into the semifinal, the Canadians successfully killed off first-period penalties to Marchessault and Turris and a third-period infraction by Chabot to keep the Czechs' 10th-ranked power play off the board.
Canada was the top team in the tournament with the man advantage heading into the game but did not get many chances Saturday. The disciplined Czechs did not give up their first power play until the late stages of the third period.
The Czechs outshot Canada 12-11 in each of the first two periods, and 40-30 in the game.
Canadian forward Anthony Mantha returned to the lineup on Saturday after serving a one-game suspension. Mantha came into the game tied with Stone for the team lead in scoring with 12 points and picked up his sixth assist of the tournament with his feed on Turris' goal.
Saturday marked the Czechs' first time in the world championship semifinal since a 2-0 loss to Canada on home soil in Prague in 2015. Canada went 10-0 in that tournament and took home the first of two back-to-back gold medals. The Czechs' last medals were back-to-back bronze in 2011 and 2012.