AMERICANS CONTINUE SCORING, BEAT FINNS TO CLINCH SEMI SPOT
JASON LA ROSE
RED DEER, Alta. – Luke Toporowski opened and closed the scoring, and added an assist in between, leading the United States to a 6-2 win over Finland on Tuesday night and a spot in the semifinals at the 2018 Hlinka Gretzky Cup.
The Americans continued to score seemingly at will; including pre-tournament, they have scored 22 goals in three games, while allowing just six.
Toporowski was first on the board midway through the first period, redirecting a Michael Feenstra shot through Finnish netminder Roope Taponen to give the Americans a lead they would never relinquish.
Sam Colangelo netted the 2-0 goal at 18:17, sneaking behind the Finnish defence and going to the backhand on the breakaway, but Aku Räty answered for the Finns just 19 seconds later to make it a one-goal game after 20 minutes.
The teams traded goals in the second period; Arthur Kaliyev converted a mini 2-on-0 down low to put the Americans back up by a pair 90 seconds into the second period before Anton Lundell showed off his quick release on the power play to send the game to the intermission at 3-2 U.S.
Finland held a 14-11 advantage in shots on goal in the third period, but couldn’t find a way past U.S. goaltender Dustin Wolf, who finished with 29 saves to record his second win.
John Farinacci added a little insurance at 5:13 of the final frame, burying a centering feed after Robert Mastrosimone force a turnover deep in the Finnish zone, and Jackson Jutting making it 5-2 only 17 seconds after that to put the game out of reach.
Toporowski scored shorthanded with 2:31 left to provide the final margin of victory for the U.S.
First place in Group B will be on the line Wednesday when the Americans take on Russia (7 p.m. MT), while the Finns will face the Czech Republic in their preliminary-round finale (3 p.m. MT).