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Canada beats Russia in semi-final at Ivan Hlinka Memorial tournament

Canada has a chance to win its sixth straight gold medal at the Ivan Hlinka Memorial under-18 men's hockey tournament.

Spencer Watson and Sam Bennett scored first-period goals and Clark Bishop added an empty-netter as Canada defeated Russia 3-1 in Friday's semi-final.

Canadian head coach Dale Hunter praised his penalty killers for preventing the Russians from scoring with a 5-on-3 man advantage in the third period.

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"They played very well and killed it off and that was the difference in the game," Hunter said.

Watson beat Russian netminder Sergei Korobov just 39 seconds into the game. Later in the frame, Watson found Bennett for a tap-in power-play goal to give Canada a two-goal edge.

Russia's Damir Sharipzyanov cut into the lead with a power-play goal in the second period. Bishop iced the victory with 62 seconds left in the third.

The United States defeated the Czech Republic 5-3 in the late semi-final. The final is scheduled for Saturday.

Hunter said his team has displayed plenty of character throughout the tournament and he's confident they'll be ready for the championship game.

"They're sacrificing," Hunter said. "I put some kids into certain roles and they're all buying in."

Canada was first in the Group A standings despite finishing tied with the Swiss and Czech Republic with five points apiece. The Canadians beat the Czechs and Switzerland during the preliminary round.

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Canada claimed a semi-final berth with a 4-3 win over Switzerland on Wednesday.

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