Saturday, August 6 | 4 p.m. MT | Red Deer, Alberta | Gold Medal Game


TV: TSN | Stream: TSN Direct

Canada’s National Men’s Summer Under-18 Team has won its way to the gold medal game at the 2022 Hlinka Gretzky Cup, facing off with Sweden in a rematch of the 2018 final with a chance to claim its 23rd summer U18 gold.


Canada skated to a 4-1 victory over Finland in its semifinal on the back of a 23-save performance from Scott Ratzlaff, who has allowed just a single goal on 59 shots through his three starts. After a slow start, Ethan Gauthier danced around the Finnish defence and went upstairs on the backhand to get the Canadians going. Calum Ritchie made it 2-0 with his tournament-leading ninth point, banking in a shot off the end boards, and Matthew Wood and Denver Barkey scored 19 seconds apart in the third period to send Canada through to the final.

The Swedes held off a spirited push from Czechia in their semifinal, scoring three times in the final 3:16 to pull away for a 6-2 win. Otto Stenberg scored twice, and Axel Sandin-Pellikka and David Edstrom added a pair of assists each for Sweden, which finished with a 39-30 advantage in shots on goal.


Canada capped a perfect preliminary round against the Swedes on Wednesday night, coming away with a 3-0 win. Ratzlaff secured his second shutout of the tournament, turning away all 18 shots he faced, while Brayden Yager and Calum Ritchie had a goal and an assist each.


While Canada has impressed offensively, its blue-liners have made scoring opportunities few and far between for opposing teams. The Canadians have allowed only 79 shots in four games (an average of 19.75 per contest), with the 24 shots Finland managed in the semifinal the most Canada has given up. Captain Cameron Allen has anchored the penalty-killing crew, which has not allowed a goal in 20 man-advantages against.

The Swedes need to have a short memory. They were stymied in their prelim matchup with the Canadians, managing just 18 shots on goal and going goalless on four power plays. Stenberg has been the offensive catalyst for the Scandinavians; his eight points are tied for second in tournament scoring, even with Yager and one back of Ritchie, and his five goals leave him level with Gauthier for the tournament lead.


Canada and Sweden have met 21 times in summer U18 play since 2001, including three gold medal games—all of them wins for the Canadians. Brendan Gaunce had a goal and an assist in a 4-1 victory in 2011, Pierre-Luc Dubois scored twice in a four-goal first period in a 7-3 win in 2015, and Alexis Lafrenière and Sasha Mutala scored two goals apiece in a 6-2 home-ice triumph in Edmonton in 2018.

All-time record: Canada leads 18-3-0 (1-1 in OT/SO)
Canada goals: 89
Sweden goals: 43

Canada and Sweden will play for gold at the Hlinka Gretzky Cup At 3pm PST


By STEVEN ELLIS thehockeynews.com

In a rematch of the final Group A contest on Wednesday, Canada and Sweden will play for gold at the Hlinka Gretzky Cup after winning on semifinal Friday.

This will be the third time the two teams have met for gold since 2015 and fourth time overall dating back to 2011. Sweden is guaranteed a medal for the fifth straight tournament, tying the team’s previous record from 2008-12. This will be Canada’s fourth gold medal game in a row, having not participated in 2021.

Canada will play for gold for the 26th time in the 29 times they’ve participated. Canada is the all-time leader in medals with 22 gold and 26 overall, while Russia, who is not participating this year, is second with five gold and 18 overall. Sweden won gold back in 2007, breaking up a 12-year gold medal run by Canada.

From an overall statistical perspective, this was Canada’s closest game of the tournament. Canada only outshot Finland 27-24, but all five goals in the game managed to come at 5-on-5. Ethan Gauthier scored the lone goal of the first period, with Calum Ritchie doubling the advantage at 28:54. 

Matthew Wood and Denver Barkey scored 19 seconds apart before the halfway point in the third to put the game far out of reach, but Arttu Alasiurua managed to beat Scott Ratzlaff for the first time all tournament to end the goaltender’s shutout with time running out. Still, Canada managed to hang on for the 4-1 win.

Later in the evening, Sweden and Czechia played a close match of their own. Sweden had two two-goal leads, started off with goals to Zeb Forsfjall in the first and Noel Nordh early in the second. Jakub Stancl cut Sweden’s lead to just one at 32:56 after Swedish netminder Noah Erliden misplayed the puck to make it 2-1. 

Czechia wasn’t able to build upon that goal, though, and with 1:14 left in the second, Noah Dower Nilsson’s wrist shot beat 6-foot-6 Czechia netminder Michael Hrabal up high to make it 3-1 Sweden. But at 45:46 while shorthanded, Jiri Felcman was sprung on a breakaway by Jan Kucera and made no mistake, making it a one-goal game once more. Otto Stenberg scored twice more and Lucas Kling had an empty-netter to make it 6-2, ending Czechia’s comeback attempt.

Czechia and Finland will play for bronze at 2:00 PM ET, with the gold medal game starting four hours later. Earlier on Friday, USA secured fifth place with a 4-2 win over Slovakia, while Switzerland’s first win of the tournament gave them seventh ahead of Germany.

Source: hockeynews.com