GAME STATS: CANADA 12, SWEDEN 1
FRISCO, Texas – They haven’t played in HOW long?
Right from puck drop, you could sense the urgency in the skates of Canada’s
National Men’s Under-18 Team to make up for lost time in the last 14
Led by a hat trick from captain Shane Wright (Burlington, Ont./Kingston,
OHL) and two goals and two assists from defenceman Brandt Clarke (Ottawa,
Ont./Barrie, OHL), Canada opened the floodgates and its 2021 IIHF U18 World
Championship account with victory on Tuesday in a dominating 12-1
performance against reigning gold medallist Sweden.
While the offence might have overshadowed his good night, goaltender Thomas
Milic (Coquitlam, B.C./Seattle, WHL) was excellent in the Canadian crease,
making 28 saves. Only a well-placed shot from Swedish blueliner Simon
Forsmark with the game well out of reach at 10-0 in the third period eluded
Wright uncorked a wrister from the top of the circle on the power play to
open the scoring 5:19 into the opening frame before goals from Clarke,
Brett Harrison (Dorchester, Ont./Oshawa, OHL) and Francesco Pinelli (Stoney
Creek, Ont./Kitchener, OHL) had the Canadians firmly in control just 14
Viggo Andren relieved Carl Lindbom in the Swedish goal after the Pinelli
marker in the first period, and he was beaten by Wright just 30 seconds
into the second after Brennan Othmann (Pickering, Ont./Flint, OHL) took a
hit at the blueline to set up his former Don Mills Flyers teammate.
A shorthanded tally for Wright with just 63 seconds left in the middle
frame marked an all-situations hat trick, as the 17-year-old marked his
official U18 debut with shorthanded, even-strength and power-play goals.
Mason McTavish (Carp, Ont./Peterborough, OHL) went upstairs on Andren 3:52
into the final frame before Clarke took up an advanced position near the
goalmouth and banged home his second of the night to make it double digits
for Canada – up 10-0 with over 10 minutes left in the contest.
Relentless pressure helped Canada earn all the bounces too, with Wyatt
Johnston (Toronto, Ont./Windsor, OHL) the benefactor of a friendly
deflection off a Swedish skate in front that found its way just 40 seconds
after Sweden finally found the scoreboard through Forsmark.
Logan Stankoven (Kamloops, B.C./Kamloops, WHL) rounded out the scoring five
minutes from time as Canada put the stamp on a deserved and commanding
It’s an impressive win for Canada after coming together in Texas after a
long layoff, where a number of players pursued playing time overseas or
were left without hockey completely during the Canadian Hockey League (CHL)
It can only come as a relief, and a motivator, as Canada continues prelim
play Wednesday against Latvia (9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT).