GAME STATS: CANADA 7, SWITZERLAND 0
PLANO, Texas - It was just the kind of response game Canada needed.
After a winning result against Latvia might not have matched the effort on
Wednesday, Canada’s National Men’s Under-18 Team responded with a complete
performance in a 7-0 shutout win over Switzerland on Friday to preserve its
unbeaten record and secure top spot in Group A at the 2021 IIHF U18 World
Francesco Pinelli (Stoney Creek, Ont./Kitchener, OHL) recorded two goals and two assists, while Corson Ceulemans (Beaumont, Alta./Brooks, AJHL) chipped in with a goal and two helpers.
Though he wasn’t troubled most of the night, Thomas Milic (Coquitlam,
B.C./Seattle, WHL) stopped all 11 shots sent his way to secure the shutout
and his second victory after backstopping Canada in its 12-1
tournament-opening rout of Sweden on Tuesday.
The Canadians looked relentless in the offensive zone, peppering Swiss
netminder Mathieu Croce with 39 shots, but penalties continued to be the
downfall of the Swiss, who entered the game as the most-penalized team in
the tournament (76 infractions) and with a penalty kill operating at only a
53.3 per cent success rate.
Canada went 5-for-9 on the power play, opening the scoring with the man
advantage when Dylan Guenther (Edmonton, Alta./Edmonton, WHL) wired his
second of the tournament into the top-right corner over the shoulder of
Croce just past the midway point of the first frame.
Connor Bedard (North Vancouver, B.C./Regina, WHL) had to think he was due after tallying three assists but failing to
find the back of the net in Canada’s opening two games. But the exceptional
15-year-old got off the mark to double the lead, uncorking a wicked
one-timer from the slot off a behind-the-net feed from Logan Stankoven
(Kamloops, B.C./Kamloops, WHL) with six minutes left before intermission.
Pinelli was on target and well-placed twice in the second period — first
off a puck rebounding off the post 1:48 into the frame and again on an
unassisted marker three-and-a-half minutes later.
He was on hand with the helper with 10 minutes left on the clock in the
third period to connect with Brennan Othmann (Pickering, Ont./Flint, OHL)
in the slot, who put his shot through traffic while falling and made it a
Ceulemans got in on the action with his first of the tournament, hammering in a one-timer on a 5-on-3, and Chase Stillman (Peterborough, Ont./Sudbury, OHL) pushed the lead to seven just 40 seconds later on another two-man advantage, batting in a loose puck after a Pinelli shot ticked off Croce and trickled towards the goal line.
The Canadians were once again without the services of captain Shane Wright,
who missed out on a second-straight game due to precautionary reasons not
related to COVID-19. He’ll hope to draw back into the line-up when Canada
closes out its group-stage schedule against Belarus on Saturday night (9
p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT).