UMEA, Sweden – Latvia certainly made a game of things but in the end Canada prevailed, getting a pair of goals from captain Peyton Krebs (Winnipeg ICE) in a 3-1 victory.
Taylor Gauthier (Prince George Cougars) stood tall in the crease with a 38-save performance, fending off a determined Latvian squad that didn’t quit until the final buzzer.
“Don’t underestimate any teams,” said Canada’s Brayden Tracey (Moose Jaw Warriors) post-game. “I think if we play hard and play the way we do and how we can, we will be successful.”
Defenceman Braden Schneider (Brandon Wheat Kings) put Canada on the board 13:48 into the first period before Krebs stretched the lead to two with an unassisted marker 7:34 into the second period.
Latvian netminder Arturs Silovs kept his team within striking distance, providing some huge saves before Harijs Brants cut Canada’s lead in half midway through the third period.
Canada buckled down and held-off Latvia for the win, getting an empty netter from Krebs as Connor Zary (Kamloops Blazers) and Schneider gathered assists.
The win pushes Canada into Saturday’s semi-final where they’ll travel to Ornskoldsvik to take on host Sweden who comes off a 4-2 quarter-final victory over the Czech Republic.
“We are moving on to the next game against Sweden,” said head coach Brett Gibson. “I’m hoping we learn from this game and realize that it was not good enough. Adversity is never bad unless it breaks you, and tonight we cracked but did not break. The most important thing is we have an opportunity to avenge this game and be at our best on Saturday.”
OTHER WU18 SCORES FROM THURSDAY:
Russia 6 – Belarus 0 (Quarter-Final)
United States 6 – Finland 0 (Quarter-Final)
Sweden 4 – Czech Republic 2 (Quarter-Final)
CZE: Marcel Barinka (Halifax Mooseheads) – 1A
CZE: Martin Lang (Kamloops Blazers) – 1A
Switzerland 4 – Slovakia 1 (Relegation Game 1)
SVK: Maxim Cajkovic (Saint John Sea Dogs) – 1A
SVK: Oliver Turan (Acadie-Bathurst Titan) – 1A
For full coverage of the 2019 IIHF World Under-18 Hockey Championship, visit IIHF.com.