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U18 Team Scores 5-2 Win Over Slovakia

08/07/2013, 12:15pm MDT
By USA Hockey

PIESTANY, Slovakia – Four different U.S. players scored goals and goaltender Blake Weyrick (Ojai, Calif.) made 18 saves to help the U.S. Under-18 Select Team defeat Slovakia, 5-2, in the final pool play game of the 2013 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament today.
 
"Our goaltender played very well and made all the saves he needed to make," said head coach Bob Corkum. "It was a total team effort today, despite everything that was going on in the game. I think we're peaking at the right time, and we're looking forward to some rest and the semifinals."
 
The U.S. was sparked by a four-goal outburst in the final 7:07 of the opening period. Paul Bittner (Crookston, Minn.) started the scoring when he tipped a shot past Slovakia goaltender Maximilian Pajpach 12:53 into the contest. Then, Keegan Iverson (St. Louis Park, Minn.) netted a tally between a pair of goals by Nick Schmaltz (Verona, Wis.) to make the score 4-0 before the end of the first period.
 
After Slovakia trimmed the lead to 4-2 with two goals in the opening 2:27 of the second, Kyle Connor (Shelby Township, Mich.) scored on a hard shot from the left side four minutes later to finish the scoring.
The U.S. Under-18 Select Team, which finished atop its group in pool play, will learn its opponent for Friday's semifinal later today. 

NOTES: Nick Schmaltz was named U.S. Player of the Game ... Follow the 2013 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament on Twitter by following @USAHockeyScores and using #IvanHlinka ... The 2013 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament features teams from Canada, Czech Republic, Finland, Russia, Slovakia, Sweden, Switzerland and the United States ... Team USA has finished in the top three of the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament 10 times since the tournament's inception in 1991, including a first-place finish in 2003. The U.S. has finished second seven times (1993, 1994, 1996, 1999, 2000, 2006, 2010) and third twice (1991, 1995) ... Team USA finished in seventh place last year ... The 22 players on the U.S. roster represent 10 different states. Minnesota leads the way with eight representitives, while Michigan has four and both Illinois and Colorado have two ... Bob Corkum (Salisbury, Mass.) serves as head coach and John Gruden (Virginia, Minn.), assistant coach with USA Hockey's National Team Development Program, Matt Herr (Hackensack, N.J.) a regional manager of USA Hockey's American Development Model, and Derek Plante (Cloquet, Minn.), assistant coach at the University of Minnesota Duluth, serve as assistant coaches.

Game Summary 

Scoring By Period 1 2 3 Total
USA    4    1    0     5
SVK    0    2    0    2
 
First Period -- Scoring: 1, USA, Bittner (Schmaltz), 12:53; 2, USA, Schmaltz (unassisted), 16:24; 3, USA, Iverson (Bittner), 18:55; 4, USA, Schmaltz (Poganski, Bittner), 19:07. Penalties: USA, Poganski (tripping), 0:33; USA, Dougherty (hooking), 2:23; SVK, Bilik (high-sticking), 6:49; USA, Wagner (tripping), 14:43; SVK, Hascic (hooking), 15:31.
 
Second Period -- Scoring: 5, SVK, Hascic (penalty shot), 2:12; 6, SVK, Jaros (unassisted), 2:27; 7, USA, Connor (Snively), 6:47. Penalties: SVK, Romancik (hooking), 1:12; USA, Mantha (tripping), 2:12; SVK, Koch (high-sticking), 5:00; USA, Malmquist (holding), 11:17.
 
Third Period: Scoring: None. Penalties: USA, Phelps (roughing), 3:47; SVK, Novak (slashing), 16:43; USA, Wagner (slashing), 14:23; USA, Carlo (delay of game), 15:38.
 
Shots By Period 1 2 3 Total
USA    18  15   7   40
SVK    5    9    6    20

Goaltenders (SV/SH) 1 2 3 Total
USA, Weyrick 60:00     5/5      7/9      6/6      18/20
SVK, Pajpach 60:00    14/18    14/15    7/7    35/40 

Power Play: USA, 0-5; SVK, 0-8
Penalties: USA, 8-19; SVK, 5-10

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Ian Walsh: I believe one of my strengths as an official is my work ethic. I come to the rink every night ready to work hard and give 100 percent. I also believe I am very coachable, and when I'm offered a suggestion for improvement, I try very hard to implement that advice into my game.  

USAH: What is your conditioning schedule like during the NHL season? How about during the off-season? 

Walsh: During the season, conditioning work is more about maintaining what you built up over the summer. The workouts aren't as intense but you must continue to take good care of your body. Game-day workouts usually include a 30-minute bike ride or a couple miles run at the hotel gym. I also like to do some core work and light strength training on top of that. 

The weather in Portland is amazing in the summer, and I prefer to be outside and on my road bike. I usually get in about four days a week of riding outdoors to help build my endurance and strength. I try to play hockey a few days a week as well to help work on my skating.

USAH: When did you realize you finally had cemented your career as an official? What was that feeling like?

Walsh: I don't know if you ever get that feeling. Every night is a different challenge in our league. It is a hard, hard league to officiate. The scrutiny of every call, every goal, ever non-call is such a challenge for all of us. The best players and coaches in the world expect us to perform at such a high level every night, and we have to be ready for anything that comes our way. It’s a privilege to be on the ice in the NHL, and I think that is something no official takes for granted.

USAH: What has been your biggest accomplishment to date as an official? 

Walsh: Being chosen to participate in four Stanley Cup playoffs is what I'm most proud of. It’s an incredible honor to be selected and that’s the goal for every official each year. Also, being part of the team that was chosen to represent the NHL at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics was a phenomenal experience and a great opportunity.

USAH: What has been the biggest hurdle/obstacle you've had to overcome in your officiating career? 

Walsh: I’ve been lucky so far, knock on wood, that I haven’t had any serious injuries. Other than some bumps and bruises, I’ve been relatively injury-free in my career. The biggest challenge is to be able to bounce back from calls you made that aren't correct. In this day and age, we usually know within minutes after the game if we made a wrong decision. When you make a call that impacts the game, it’s hard on the mind. Unfortunately, we make mistakes and what most people don't understand is that nobody takes it harder than the official making that mistake. Being able to bounce back from a mistake is something all officials must learn to do.

USAH: Who has had the most impact on your officiating career over the past 15 years? What has that person or those people taught you?  

Walsh: Nobody has helped me more over my NHL career than fellow referee Paul Devorski. I've worked a lot of games with Paul and we’ve had the opportunity to travel together on the road. As an elite, veteran referee, he has been able to pass down some of his knowledge to me to help me become a better official. Paul is retiring this year, and our staff will sorely miss him.

USAH: How has the game changed, besides speed, since you started in the early 2000s?

Walsh: I would say the biggest change besides the speed of the game would be the use of technology. It is amazing what you see at rink – teams have iPads on the bench, super slo-motion video replays, hi-def video scoreboards, etc. With all that technology, it makes the officials job appear easy. People forget that the official on the ice sees a play one time, in real time, and must make a split-second decision on that play. It often appears quite different when you see a replay in super slo-mo on hi-def after a game.

USAH: What advice can you give aspiring NHL/professional league officials as they progress in their career? 

Walsh: I would say make sure you have a backup plan. Making it to the NHL is everyone’s goal, but there are very few jobs available. There are so many factors that go into hiring an official and a lot of those are out of your control. Go and work the highest level available to you. Don't worry about other officials, if you are good enough, the NHL will find you. Also, control what you can control – always work on your skating, know your rules and come to the rink every night with a strong work ethic and a great attitude.

Tag(s): Hlinka Memorial Cup