Edmonton, Alta. – Playing their first summer under-18 contest on home ice in 22 years, the Canadians charged out of the gate, overwhelming Switzerland in a 10-0 victory to begin their 2018 Hlinka Gretzky Cup schedule at Rogers Place.
Former WHL Bantam Draft first overall pick Peyton Krebs (Kootenay ICE) led the offence with two goals and an assist while defenceman Matthew Robertson (Edmonton Oil Kings) and forward Ryan Suzuki (Barrie Colts) had a goal and two helpers each.
Graeme Clarke (Ottawa 67’s), Suzuki and Jakob Pelletier (Moncton Wildcats) gave Canada a 3-0 lead after one period before Dylan Cozens (Lethbridge Hurricanes), Xavier Parent (Halifax Mooseheads), Robertson, Maxence Guennette (Val-d’Or Foreurs) and Krebs exploded for a five-goal second frame to extend the lead to 8-0. Kirby Dach (Saskatoon Blades) scored shorthanded 1:38 into the third period before Krebs tallied his second of the night to cap-off the scoring summary in a lopsided victory.
“It’s good for your momentum, going into the tournament, but at the end of the day, that game’s over with and we just have to focus on the next one,” said Suzuki post-game. “Anytime you put the 22 best Canadians on the ice, things come together. We have a lot of talent on this team, [and] to see these fans wearing the Canadian jersey and come out to support you, it’s just amazing. I got chills every time I stepped on the ice.”
Nolan Maier (Saskatoon Blades) recorded the shootout, stopping all 15 shots he faced as Canada outshot Switzerland 48-15 while going 3-for-5 on the power play.
The win marks the first time Canada has hit double digits in a game since an 11-5 win over the U.S. in 2014, and the first time it has won by at least 10 since a 12-2 victory over Slovakia in 2000.
Canada is back in action on Tuesday night against Slovakia (0-1). The puck drops at 7:00pm MT/9:00pm ET at Rogers Place.
OTHER SCORES FROM DAY 1:
United States 6, Czech Republic 0
Sweden 4, Slovakia 2
Russia 7, Finland 2
Team Canada includes 21 players from the Canadian Hockey League including eleven from the Western Hockey League, six from the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League and four from the Ontario Hockey League.
For more information on Hockey Canada and Canada’s National Men’s Summer Under-18 Team, please visit www.hockeycanada.ca, or follow along through social media at www.facebook.com/hockeycanada, www.twitter.com/hockeycanada and www.twitter.com/hc_men.