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