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Canada Remain Undefeated at 2017 IIHF U18 Championship

By Mike Beasley on April 18, 2017

(Hockey Canada graphic)

Team Canada ran their record to 2-1-0-0 at this year’s IIHF U18 World Championship with a 7-3 victory over Switzerland.

The win gives Canada eight points in Group A play, one behind Finland (3-0-0-0). The teams will meet up on Tuesday, April 18, the final day of the preliminary round, with first place on the line.

Newcomers Cody Glass (Portland Winterhawks, WHL) and Jack Studnicka (Oshawa Generals, OHL) made an impression in their Canadian debut, scoring twice to help their country’s cause. Glass added an assist as well.

Both players arrived in Slovakia on Easter Sunday after their junior teams had been eliminated from the CHL playoffs.

Studnicka and Glass shook off any jet lag to put Canada up 2-0 after one period of play.

The Oshawa Generals forward struck again at 3:31 of the middle frame to give the Canadians a three goal margin, which is sometimes perceived as the worst lead in hockey.

That proved to be somewhat true as Switzerland notched the game’s next two goals (Keijo Weibel, Philipp Kurashev) to reduce Canada’s lead to 3-2 before time expired in the second period.

Glass put an end to any thoughts of a Swiss comeback when he registered his second marker of the game 75 seconds into the third period to regain a two goal Canadian lead.

From there it was all Canada with Kyle Olson (Tri-City Americans, WHL), Stelio Mattheos (Brandon Wheat Kings, WHL) and MacKenzie Entwistle (Hamilton Bulldogs, OHL) filling the net as the Canadians registered their highest offensive output of the tournament.

Canada outshot Switzerland 34-30.

Canadian G Jacob McGrath (Sudbury Wolves, OHL) picked up the win in his first game at the U18 Championships, stopping 27 of 30 Swiss shots.

Gianluca Zaetta and Akira Schmid shared the goaltending duties for Switzerland with 27 saves on 33 Canadian shots.

Tournament News & Notes: Team Canada did a great job of limiting Swiss F Nico Hischier to one assist in their matchup. Hischier is projected to be a top three pick at the upcoming NHL Entry Draft in Chicago, Illinois.

Canadian F Stelio Mattheos sits in 7th place in tournament scoring with 4 G’s.

In their final preliminary round contest, Canada will have to contend with the Finns and their high octane offensive lead by four of the five tournament’s top scorers. Kristian Vesalainen leads the U18 Championships with (3-5-8pts.) followed by Joni Ikonen (4-3-7pts.) and Miro Heiskanen (0-6-6pts.) Aarne Talvitie occupies fifth place with (2-3-5pts.)

In Group B play, the United States lead the pack with nine points and a perfect (3-0-0-0) record. Sweden follows with six points (2-0-0-1). 

After the preliminary round is completed, the top four teams from each group advance to the playoffs 

The fifth-place team in each group moves to the Relegation Round.

From there, the top four placed teams from the preliminary will play a cross-over quarterfinal game.

For example 1A will play 4B, 1B lines up against 4A, 2A will meet 3B and 2B has a date with 3A. 

The winner of each quarterfinal will then move on to the semi-finals.

The winner of each semi-final game will move onto the Gold medal game, while the losers will play in the Bronze medal contest.

 

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By Mike Beasley| April 18, 2017
Categories:  Events

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