BUFFALO, N.Y. – Boris Katchouk (Waterloo, Ont./Sault Ste. Marie, OHL) and Taylor Raddysh (Caledon, Ont./Erie, OHL) paced the offence with a goal and an assist each, sending Canada’s National Junior Team to a 4-2 win over Finland in its opener Tuesday at the 2018 IIHF World Junior Championship.
The Canadians scored three times in the first 13 minutes and rode stand-out penalty killing and the strong play of goaltender Carter Hart (Sherwood Park, Alta./Everett, WHL), who finished with 31 saves.
Canada quickly jumped out to a 2-0 lead; Katchouk scored first at 5:34, going to the net and tucking a shot around Finnish netminder Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen, and Sam Steel (Sherwood Park, Alta./Regina, WHL) buried a Raddysh rebound on the power play just 27 seconds later.
Aleksi Heponiemi got one back for Finland at 12:19, but Drake Batherson (New Minas, N.S./Cape Breton, QMJHL) one-timed a feed from Jonah Gadjovich (Whitby, Ont./Owen Sound, OHL) past Luukkonen only 33 seconds after that to restore the two-goal advantage after 20 minutes.
Finland got within a goal again at 7:31 of the second period when a point shot from Henri Jokiharju deflected off the leg of Gadjovich and bounced past Hart, but that would be it for offence from the Finns, who managed just the single man-advantage goal on six chances.
Raddysh, who scored five goals in seven games at the 2017 World Juniors, got his first of the 2018 tournament at 12:47 of the middle frame, corralling a bouncing puck and beating Luukkonen with a knuckleball from the high slot.
Canada carried the play in the scoreless third period, outshooting Finland 15-8 for a 32-31 edge overall.
The Canadians are right back to action Wednesday night, taking on Slovakia (7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT).