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The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Canada defeats Sweden 5-1 for second straight win at Hlinka tournament

PIESTANY, Slovakia - Canada defeated Sweden 5-1 on Tuesday for its second straight victory at the under-18 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Cup tournament.

Mitchell Stephens scored two goals in the third period to help put the game out of reach. Canada (2-0) moved into sole possession of first place in the Group B standings while Sweden (1-1) fell into second place.

"What I like is how well we're playing defensively," said head coach Jody Hull. "In this tournament, that's the key. You've got to play strong in your zone and with the quality of forwards we have and our defencemen, they seem to be working in really good unison right now."

Sweden could not capitalize on a pair of 5-on-3 advantages in a scoreless opening period.

Travis Konecny scored on a power play in the second period and Lawson Crouse made it a 2-0 game a few minutes later. After Stephens gave Canada a healthy lead, Jansen Harkins iced the win by scoring on a penalty shot late in the third.

"After the first period, we sort of found our legs," Stephens said. "We didn't buy into their system of getting caught into penalties and stuff like that.

"I think we got back to our system, got pucks deep and established the forecheck."

Tyler Soy added two assists and goaltender Zachary Sawchenko made 27 saves. Philip Magnusson had the lone goal for Sweden and Felix Sandstrom made 36 saves in a losing effort.

Hull has been impressed by his team's balanced scoring attack.

"I'm not relying on one or two guys every night to carry the load," he said. "I'm relying on 12 guys to do it. Again, we're just playing that solid team game."

Canada opened the tournament with a 5-1 victory over Switzerland and will close out the preliminary round Wednesday against host Slovakia at the Zimny Stadion.

"The biggest thing for me is that we're sticking to the plan," Hull said. "We're not off of it when we get behind or when we get a bit of a lead. We just keep going."

The semifinals are scheduled for Friday and the medal games are set for Saturday.

Canada has won the summer hockey tournament six years in a row, and 18 of the past 23 times since it began in 1991.

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