Saturday’s gold medal final is set after Finland and Russia both took semi-final victories at the 2018 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge. Canada Red will play Sweden for bronze on Saturday while Canada Black placed fifth and the Czech Republic placed seventh. Here’s a closer look at Friday’s developments.
FINLAND 5, CANADA RED 2
Team Canada Red’s run for a gold medal came to an end in Saint John on Friday as Finland scored five unanswered for a 5-2 decision at Harbour Station. Kyle McDonald (Windsor Spitfires) and Evan Vierling (Flint Firebirds) put Canada Red up 2-0 before Luka Nyman, Valtteri Karnaranta, Veeti Korkalainen, Iivari Sakkinen and Aatu Raty countered for the Finns. Joel Blomqvist turned aside 29 saves in the Finnish goal to help his team advance to Saturday’s gold medal matchup against Russia. William Villeneuve (Saint John Sea Dogs) picked up two assists for Canada Red as they will face Sweden for bronze on Saturday at 2:30pm AT.
CANADA BLACK 5, CANADA WHITE 3
Kyle Crnkovic (Saskatoon Blades) completed a hat-trick into the empty net to secure fifth place for Team Canada Black at the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge. The 5-3 win over Team Canada White saw Canada Black rebound from a 2-0 deficit as Ryan O’Rourke (Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds) and James Hardie (Mississauga Steelheads) also found the back of the net. Ozzy Wiesblatt (Prince Albert Raiders) and Jamie Drysdale (Erie Otters) picked up two assists in the win while Medicine Hat Tigers prospect Garin Bjorklund made 35 saves in goal. Canada White’s Connor McClennon (Kootenay ICE) wrapped up a tremendous tournament with another goal in the loss while Cameron Tolnai (Ottawa 67’s) and Cole Perfetti (Saginaw Spirit) joined him on the scoresheet. Mclennon leads the tournament in scoring with 11 points (8-3–11) entering Saturday’s action.
RUSSIA 6, SWEDEN 4
A four-goal second period propelled Russia into Saturday’s gold medal game as Vasili Ponomaryov starred with four points in a 6-4 win over Sweden. Ponomaryov had two goals and two assists while Daniil Gushchin had two goals and a helper and Alexandr Pashin added one of each. Marat Khusnutdinov also scored for Russia while goaltender Yaroslav Askarov made 27 saves. Anton Johanneson and Alexander Holtz both had a goal and assist for the Swedes who will face Team Canada Red for bronze on Saturday.
CZECH REPUBLIC 2, UNITED STATES 1
Nick Malik made 38 saves and Jan Mysak had a goal and assist as the Czech Republic secured seventh place with a 2-1 win over the United States in Quispamsis. The win is the first of the tournament for the Czechs and just the second in 10 all-time meetings with the U.S. Michal Gut also scored in the victory as the Czechs prevailed despite being outshot 39-26. Matthew Berniers scored the lone U.S. goal as the Americans placed eighth, becoming the second-straight defending champ to finish at the bottom of the standings after Sweden did so in 2017.
For news, stats and scores from the 2018 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge, visit hockeycanada.ca.