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Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Defending champ U.S. powers past Slovakia

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MALMO, Sweden -- Jack Eichel, Ryan Hartman and Boston University defenceman Matt Grzelyck each had a goal and an assist, leading the defending champion United States to a 6-3 victory over Slovakia on Saturday in the world junior hockey tournament.

The United States scored its first three goals on power plays.

"Overall, I love to see the power-play goals we were able to get tonight," said U.S. coach Don Lucia of the University of Minnesota. "The negative is we gave up the two. We just have to clean up some of the mistakes we made out there. I was happy how we played in the third period as far as 5-on-5 play to score those separation goals and put it away."

Miami of Ohio's Riley Barber, Boston University's Dan O'Regan and New Jersey Devils prospect Stefan Matteau also scored for the Americans (2-0-0). Matteau, the son of former NHL player Stephane Matteau, plays for the Devils' Albany affiliate in the American Hockey League.

"We don't have that one player who's going to go out and score four goals," said Hartman, the West Dundee, Ill., forward who plays for the Plymouth Whalers in Ontario Hockey League. "We have a well-rounded team"

The Americans opened the tournament with a 5-1 victory over the Czech Republic on Thursday. The U.S. will play Germany (0-2-0) today, and finish group play Tuesday against Canada (1-0-1).

In Group B, Sweden and Russia each improved to 2-0-0. Sweden beat Finland 4-2, and Russia routed Switzerland 7-1.

-- The Canadian Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition December 29, 2013 B5

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