Day 1 of the 2016 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont. featured four games on the schedule. Team Canada White came away as the lone Canadian team to win on Sunday while Finland, Russia and the United States were also victorious.
FINLAND 3 CANADA RED 2
Ryan Merkley (Guelph Storm) and Riley Stotts (Swift Current Broncos) each had goals, but Canada Red was narrowly defeated 3-2 at the hands of Finland at the Essar Centre. Canada Red outshot their Finnish counterparts 24-18, but a pair of goals from Arttu Nevasaari led the Finns to victory to start the 2016 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge. Kevin Mandolese (Cape Breton Screaming Eagles) made 15 saves in the loss.
CANADA WHITE 4 CANADA BLACK 1
A pair of Canadian squads went head-to-head at the Essar Centre to start the tournament as Tristen Nielsen (Calgary Hitmen) came through for Team Canada White, netting a hat-trick in a 4-1 win over Team Canada Black. Team White remains unbeaten in three all-time preliminary-round meetings with its Canadian counterparts; it earned a 5-4 overtime win in 2014 before a 5-3 victory last year en route to a gold medal. Raphael Lavoie (Halifax Mooseheads) added an empty netter for Canada White to seal the deal while Owen Lalonde (Sudbury Wolves) provided the lone goal for Canada Black in the loss. A 32-save performance from Olivier Rodrigue (Drummondville Voltigeurs) backstopped Canada White to victory as Canada Black took the shooting column 33-23.
RUSSIA 4 SWEDEN 3 OT
Alexander Khovanov scored 2:47 into overtime as Russia narrowly defeated Sweden 4-3 at the John Rhodes Community Centre. Pavel Gogolev (Peterborough Petes) had a goal for Russia while Grigori Denisenko had a goal and an assist. Adam Bokvist was a bright spot for Sweden, scoring a pair of goals in the loss.
UNITED STATES 3 CZECH REPUBLIC 2 OT
Joel Farabee scored 29 seconds into overtime as the United States edged the Czech Republic 3-2. The Americans trailed late in the third period until Patrick Giles found the back of the net with 4:38 remaining to force overtime. Blueliner Bode Wilde also scored for Team USA while Jakub Lauko and Tomas Dajcar provided goals for the Czechs.
For more information on the 2016 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge, please visit hockeycanada.ca.