MAGNITOGORSK, Russia – Olivier Rodrigue (Chicoutimi, Que./Drummondville, QMJHL) got the shutout, turning away all 17 shots he faced to lead Canada’s National Men’s Under-18 Team to a 5-0 win over Switzerland on Sunday at the 2018 IIHF U18 World Championship.
With the win, Canada moves to a perfect 3-0 in preliminary play, tied for top spot in Group B with Sweden ahead of a first-place showdown on Tuesday (10:30 a.m. ET/7:30 a.m. PT).
It was a dominant performance for Canada from start to finish, jumping out to a 13-4 lead in shots through the first period, and finishing the game with 39-17 advantage.
Rodrigue wasn’t busy, but was sharp when he needed to be to preserve the shutout, including two fantastic kick saves while the Swiss were pressuring on the power play in the second period.
Allan McShane (Collingwood, Ont./Oshawa, OHL) finished with a goal and an assist, while Alexis Lafrenière (Saint-Eustache, Que./Rimouski, QMJHL), Aidan Dudas (Parry Sound, Ont./Owen Sound, OHL), Chase Wouters (Lloydminster, Alta./Saskatoon, WHL), and Raphaël Lavoie (Chambly, Que./Halifax, QMJHL) had the other goals for Canada.
Serron Noel (Nepean, Ont./Oshawa, OHL) had two assists, and leads the Canadians in scoring with six points through three games.
Canada struck early the first, scoring the only goal it would need at 4:44 of the opening frame. Ty Dellandrea (Port Perry, Ont./Flint, OHL) forced a turnover in the offensive end, and Lafrenière tipped the puck past Swiss goaltender Akira Schmid off a pretty pass in front of the net from Noel.
The Canadians continued to pour on the pressure in the second, scoring three more goals in the middle stanza.
With Switzerland on the power play, Dudas finished off the shorthanded rush started by McShane, who found the scoresheet again less than 10 minutes later, this time on the power play when he tucked a shot top corner over Schmid’s shoulder. It was the first power-play goal of the tournament for Canada and broke an 0-for-11 drought with the man advantage.
Wouters swiped home the 4-0 goal after a scramble in front shortly before the second intermission.
The power play found the back of the net again in the third period, with Lavoie finishing the scoring.
“We knew we were going to be a four-line team upfront; we’re not going to need one or two lines to do it all. It’s going to be a long tournament, and teams are going to start to wear down, so having that four-line hockey group is something really important moving forward. Everyone did a great job today. We’re getting closer off the ice, and that’s been translating on the ice too. That’s going to help us a lot in the long run.”
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“We really stuck with it. It’s a hard game to play when you have the puck as much as we did. We didn’t get frustrated [when we weren’t scoring]; we found a way to get a short-handed goal, we scored on the power play. It’s important that you have everyone at the top of their game. I thought we did a lot of good things, and we didn’t do anything to shoot ourselves in the foot.”
Head coach Don Hay shares his thoughts on Sunday’s game