ZDAR, CZECH REPUBLIC -- Simon Gagné of the Quebec Remparts scored twice to lift Canada's National Under-18 Team into a 4-4 tie with Slovakia on Friday, sending the Canadian team into the tournament final on Sunday.
Canada's opponent in the three-nations tournament will be decided today when Slovakia plays the Czech Republic in the final round-robin game. Canada has the day off on Saturday.
Justin Papineau of Ottawa, who plays for the Belleville Bulls of the Ontario Hockey League, scored a goal and assisted on two others, while Vincent Lecavalier of the Rimouski Oceanic of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, also scored for Canada.
Lecavalier and Papineau were the stars for Canada in their 7-3 victory over the Czech Republic on Thursday in the tournament opener, as well.
In that game, Papineau and Christian Chartier of St-Lazare, Man., both scored twice, while Lecavalier had a goal and an assist. Norm Milley of Toronto, and Jonathan Girard of St-Charles, Que., also scored for Canada against the Czech Republic.
The Under-18 team heads into the tournament final with a victory and a tie after posting a won-lost-record of 1-1-1 in three pre-tournament games, two against the Czech Republic and one against Slovakia.
Canada's Under-18 team is coached by Claude Julien, head coach of the Hull Olympiques of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, along with assistants Stan Butler, who coached the Prince George Cougars of the Western Hockey League in 1996-97, and Geoff Ward, head coach of the Kitchener Rangers of the Ontario Hockey League.