RED ROLLS PAST FINNS IN PRELIM FINALE
JASON LA ROSE
SWIFT CURRENT, Sask. – Nathan Gaucher (Richelieu, Que./Quebec, QMJHL) scored twice, both in a four-goal second period, and added two assists to pace Canada Red to a 7-2 win over Finland to close out the Group B schedule Tuesday at the 2019 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge.
The victory puts Red in second place in its group, and means it will face either Canada White or the Czech Republic in the quarter-finals on Thursday. The Canadians and Czechs met later Tuesday in the Group A finale.
Zachary Bolduc (Bécancour, Que./Rimouski, QMJHL) also had a pair of goals for Red, which did all its damage in the final 40 minutes.
The lone goal of the first period came off the stick of Niko Huuhtanen, who spun in the slot and beat Canadian goaltender Thomas Milic (Coquitlam, B.C./Burnaby Winter Club, CSSHL) at the 12:09 mark.
Gaucher got Red even three minutes into the second period, crashing the net and batting in an Olivier Nadeau (Lac-Etchemin, Que./Shawinigan, QMJHL) rebound, but Viljami Juusola got a point shot through traffic and past Milic to restore the Finnish advantage.
A three-goals-in-four-minutes spurt put the Canadians in control, starting with Logan Stankoven (Kamloops, B.C./Kamloops, WHL) redirecting in a set-up from Joshua Roy (Saint-Georges, Que./Saint John, QMJHL) at 7:36.
Bolduc got his first at 8:57, snapping a quick shot past the blocker of Finnish netminder Juuso Helomaa, and Gaucher walked into the high slot and wired a shot upstairs on Helomaa at 11:31 to make it a 4-2 game after 40 minutes.
The offensive onslaught continued for Red in the third; Wyatt Johnston (Toronto, Ont./Windsor, OHL) stretched the lead at three at 5:48, catching Helomaa looking the wrong way, and Bolduc jumped on a loose puck after a Finnish defender fanned on a clearing attempt to net his second on the power play with just over five minutes left.
Conner Roulette (Winnipeg, Man./Seattle, WHL) finished the scoring into an empty net in the final minute.
Both goaltenders were busy; Milic made 39 saves to record the victory, while Heloma stopped 32 of 38 in a losing cause.