CANADA BEATS CZECHS TO WIN HLINKA MEMORIAL GOLD
JASON LA ROSE
BRECLAV, Czech Republic – Jack McBain (Toronto, Ont./Toronto Jr. Canadiens, OJHL) led the way with a goal and two assists, and Canada’s National Men’s Summer Under-18 Team claimed its ninth gold medal in 10 years at the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Cup with a 4-1 win over the Czech Republic on Saturday.
It is the 21st time in 27 summer U18 tournaments Canada has finished atop the podium, dating back to 1991.
Joe Veleno (Kirkland, Que./Saint John, QMJHL), the first player to represent Canada twice at the tournament, scored the game-winning goal, while Noah Dobson (Summerside, P.E.I./Acadie-Bathurst, QMJHL) and Akil Thomas (Toronto, Ont./Niagara, OHL) chipped in with two assists apiece.
Canada was all over the Czechs in the first period, holding a decided 19-4 advantage in shots on goal, but only one found the back of the net; Jared McIsaac (Truro, N.S./Halifax, QMJHL) wired a wrist shot past Czech goaltender Lukas Dostal late in the opening frame to send the Canadians to the intermission up 1-0.
Veleno doubled the lead just over two minutes into the second, finding a loose puck at the side of the Czech net and slipping in the 2-0 goal.
Dominik Arnost got one back for the Czech Republic at the seven-minute mark of the middle frame, poking in a rebound after Olivier Rodrigue (Chicoutimi, Que./Drummondville, QMJHL) couldn’t handle a rebound, but Kevin Bahl (Mississauga, Ont./Ottawa, OHL) got a point shot through a maze of bodies and past Dostal in the final minute of the middle frame to restore the two-goal advantage.
McBain finished the scoring in the third period, crashing the net and jamming in the rebound of a Ty Smith (Lloydminster, Alta./Spokane, WHL) shot.
Canada dominated on the shot clock, holding a 46-19 edge.
The Canadians will try to make it 22 summer gold medals when the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Cup comes to home ice for the first time in 2018; Edmonton will host next August, the first time a major summer U18 tournament is played in Canada since the 1996 Air Canada Pacific Cup in Nelson and Castlegar, B.C.