After 10 days of games, the 2018 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge has wrapped up in Saint John and Quispamsis, N.B., with Russia taking home gold, Finland capturing silver and Sweden winning bronze.
In the gold medal game, Eero Niemi opened the scoring for Finland less than five minutes in when he fired a rebound past Russian goaltender Yaroslav Askarov. Russia answered with a shorthanded goal from Daniil Gushchin just under five minutes in to the second period, and Ignat Kokhanin supplied the game-winner late in the middle frame, securing a fourth U17 gold medal for Russia.
Askarov backstopped the Russians to victory, making 22 saves.
Following the gold medal game, the 2018 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge all-star team was announced:
- Goaltender: Yaroslav Askarov (Russia)
- Defence: Yan Kuznetsov (Russia)
- Defence: Ryan O’Rourke (Team Canada Black)
- Forward: Connor McClennon (Team Canada White)
- Forward: Vasili Ponomaryov (Russia)
- Forward: Lucas Raymond (Sweden)
Team Canada Red finishes fourth after falling to Sweden in shootout
In the bronze medal game earlier Saturday, Team Canada Red overcame a two-goal deficit to force overtime before falling to Sweden 4-3 in a shootout.
“This is my first time playing against countries like Sweden and Russia and Finland,” said Justin Sourdif (Surrey, B.C./Vancouver, WHL) following the game. “It was a great experience to play against those teams and to play against that level of competition.”
Jake Murray (Oakville, Ont./Kingston, OHL) opened the scoring just under seven minutes in on a shot from the point, but Sweden answered with goals by Daniel Ljungman, Zion Nybeck and Elliot Ekmark.
On a delayed penalty with under six minutes remaining in the second period, William Dufour (Quebec City/Rouyn-Noranda, QMJHL) was credited for Team Canada Red’s second goal after and errant pass by the Swedes found the back of their own net. Jacob Perreault (Hinsdale, Ill./Sarnia, OHL) evened the score in the opening minutes of the third period, eventually sending the game into overtime. Lucas Raymond sealed the win and a bronze medal for Sweden with the lone goal in the shootout.
“We knew we had a special group and we didn’t want to end on a bad note. I think that turning point in the second period gave us a little bit of life and the crowd got into it,” said Louis Robitaille (Montreal/Victoriaville, QMJHL), head coach for Team Canada Red. “We battled hard and we need to be really proud of these young men.”
Dylan Garand (Victoria, B.C./Kamloops, WHL) stopped 45 shots in the loss.