Canada crushes Swe­den to win Hlinka Gret­zky Cup un­der-18 tour­na­ment

The Globe and Mail (Ottawa/Quebec Edition) - - SPORTS - SHANE JONES ED­MON­TON

Team shows ‘some real char­ac­ter’ on the way to 10th tour­na­ment vic­tory in 11 years

Canada has cap­tured yet an­other gold medal at the un­der-18 level.

Sasha Mu­tala and Alexis Lafrenière each had a pair of goals as Canada de­feated Swe­den 6-2 in the fi­nal of the Hlinka Gret­zky Cup on Satur­day night.

“It feels re­ally good, es­pe­cially the way we played,” Canada head coach An­dré Tourigny said. “That is the way we wanted to play. We were down by two and we showed some real char­ac­ter to come back the way we did.”

Kirby Dach and Josh Wil­liams also scored for Canada, which has now won the tour­na­ment 10 of the past 11 years, and has earned gold 22 times in the event’s 28-year his­tory. “We just stayed fo­cused on our game plan,” Lafrenière said. “They scored two quick goals, but we kept work­ing. Good things will hap­pen. It was re­ally clutch that we scored two quick goals.”

Lu­cas Ray­mond and Alexan­der Holtz replied with goals for Swe­den, which also lost 4-3 to Canada in the round robin.

Against Swe­den, Canada faced an early deficit. Swe­den scored just 42 se­conds into the first pe­riod on a power play as Ray­mond ri­fled a top-cor­ner shot past Canadian goalie Nolan Maier.

Swe­den took a 2-0 lead with eight-and-a-half min­utes re­main­ing as Holtz beat Maier on a break­away, prompt­ing Canada to make a goalie change, with Taylor Gau­thier com­ing into the game.

The move seemed to give the Cana­di­ans some life as they got on the board just 41 se­conds later when Mu­tala tipped a puck past Swedish goal­tender Hugo Al­ne­felt.

A cou­ple of min­utes later, Canada knot­ted the game up as 2020 first-over­all draft pick favourite Lafrenière stole a puck and sent it on net, where it was di­rected in by Dach.

Canada went up 5-2 five min­utes into the third when Wil­liams scored on a give-and-go and added more in­sur­ance on a power-play goal by Lafrenière with six min­utes left.

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