BRATISLAVA, Slovakia – Calen Addison (Brandon, Man./Lethbridge, WHL), Nolan Foote (Kelowna, B.C./Kelowna, WHL) and Jack McBain (Toronto, Ont./Toronto Jr. Canadiens, OJHL) all scored power-play goals, leading Canada’s National Men’s Summer Under-18 Team to its first win at the 2017 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Cup, a 5-1 victory over Finland on Tuesday.
Joe Veleno (Kirkland, Que./Saint John, QMJHL), Ryan Merkley (Mississauga, Ont./Guelph, OHL) and Barrett Hayton (Peterborough, Ont./Sault Ste. Marie, OHL) added two assists apiece for the Canadians, who temporarily moved atop Group B with the win.
The opening goal came just past the five-minute mark; Jared McIsaac (Truro, N.S./Halifax, QMJHL) threw the puck in front for Benoît-Olivier Groulx (Gatineau, Que./Halifax, QMJHL), whose redirection gave the Canadians an early 1-0 lead.
Penalty trouble doomed the Finns in the second period.
With Canada enjoying a two-man advantage, Addison jumped in off the blue-line and finished off a feed from Merkley to make it 2-0 at 7:45.
After the Canadians survived a Finnish five-on-three, Foote wired a wrist shot past Justus Annunen at 14:40, popping the water bottle behind the goaltender to put Canada up 3-0 after two periods.
McBain pushed the lead to four goals seven minutes into the third, camping out on the doorstep and knocking in a centering pass from Veleno, before Fortier jammed in a rebound off the end-boards with five minutes to go for the fifth and final Canadian goal.
Canada held Finland without a shot for more than 18 minutes in the third period, but the Finns ruined the shutout with 1:41 left when Matias Maccelli buried a rebound past Olivier Rodrigue (Chicoutimi, Que./Drummondville, QMJHL).
The preliminary round ends Wednesday, with Canada taking on Slovakia (1 p.m. ET/10 a.m. PT). A win over the tournament co-hosts would send the Canadians to the semifinals on Friday.
“I thought it was a good rebound performance by our team [following the shootout loss to Russia in the opener]. We were aggressive in all three zones, and showed improvement as the game progressed. Our next game will be against Slovakia in front of their home crowd, so it’s important that we continue to maintain great habits.”
– Head coach Brent Kisio’s impressions following the win against Finland, and keys to success heading into Wednesday’s tilt against co-hosts, Slovakia
“I thought we were really hard to play against, really tough in the offensive zone. We played some good, solid defence. I though we really improved from last night, we’re getting better as it goes on, and we [just want to] keep it going in the next game.”
– McBain, who has found the back of the net in each of Canada’s first two tournament games
Canada has won gold 20 times in 25 years of summer under-18 competition and plays in Group B this year with Finland, Russia, and Slovakia; Group A consists of the Czech Republic, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United States.