Canada beats Sweden 4-1 in Ivan Hlinka semis, will face Czechs in final

BRATISLAVA, Slovakia — Serron Noel scored the winning goal with just under 12 minutes left in regulation as Canada defeated Sweden 4-1 in semifinal action Friday at the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Cup under-18 hockey tournament.

Canada will face the Czech Republic in Saturday’s final. The co-host Czechs beat Russia 2-1 in Friday’s other semifinal.

Akil Thomas, Benoit-Olivier Groulx and Aidan Dudas also scored for Canada, while Olivier Rodrigue turned in a solid performance with 24 saves.

After Thomas opened the scoring in the second period, Sweden’s Lukas Wernblom scored on a power play with three seconds left in the period to tie the game 1-1.

Noel, who had put Canada at a potential disadvantage with an elbowing penalty early in the third period, restored Canada’s one-goal lead before late goals from Groulx and Dudas put the game away.

Olof Lindbom made 22 saves for Sweden, which suffered its first loss at the tournament.

The Czech Republic is the defending champion at the tournament, ending a run of eight straight titles for Canada.

Canada has won 20 gold medals since the tournament started in 1991.

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