RED OFFENCE EXPLODES IN BIG WIN OVER SWEDEN
JASON LA ROSE
FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – Seven different players scored goals to pace Canada Red to its first win at the 2017 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge, a 7-2 triumph over Sweden on Monday night at North Peace Arena.
The seven goals are the most scored since Canada went from a regional team format to a national team set-up in November 2014; the last team to score that many in a game was Pacific in a 7-3 win over Russia in the semifinals of the January 2014 tournament in Cape Breton, N.S.
Xavier Parent (Blainville, Que./Halifax, QMJHL) and Ryan Suzuki (London, Ont./Barrie, OHL) led the way with a goal and two assists apiece, while Dylan Cozens (Whitehorse, Y.T./Lethbridge, WHL), Nick Wong (Orton, Ont./Oshawa, OHL), Xavier Simoneau (Saint-André-Avellin, Que./Drummondville, QMJHL) and Keean Washkurak (Waterloo, Ont./Mississauga, OHL) added a goal and a helper each.
The scoring started early, with Cozens knocking in a loose puck on a Red power play at 6:57.
Parent made it 2-0 just past the 15-minute mark, surprising Swedish netminder Matteus Ward with a shot from a sharp angle.
The floodgates opened for Red in the second period.
Dylan Holloway (Bragg Creek, Alta./Okotoks, AJHL) tapped in a rebound at the top of the crease to make it 3-0 just two minutes into the frame, and Suzuki converted a centering pass from Parent for a four-goal advantage only 63 seconds after that.
Wong, on the power play, and Washkurak added goals 34 seconds apart to push the lead to 6-0 before Arvid Costmar made good on a Swedish man advantage at 17:21 to get the defending gold medallists on the board.
Simoneau netted the seventh Canadian goal early in the third period, jamming the puck past Ward after Cozens drove hard to the net.
Tobias Björnfot capped the scoring with 2:45 left when his point shot changed direction and beat Red netminder Luke Cavallin (Greely, Ont./Flint, OHL), who finished with 29 saves to record his first victory of the tournament.
The Canadians close out the preliminary round Tuesday night against unbeaten Russia (7 p.m. MT), while the Swedes take on Finland in search of their first win (2:30 p.m. MT).