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Hlinka Gretzky Cup Preview: Canada vs. Finland

Friday, August 5 | 5 p.m. MT | Red Deer, Alberta | Semifinal

August 5, 2022
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GAME STATS

TV: TSN | Stream: TSN Direct

Off an undefeated preliminary performance, Canada’s National Men’s Summer Under-18 Team is just one win away from another summer under-18 appearance in a gold medal game, facing Finland at the Hlinka Gretzky Cup on Friday night.

LAST GAME

Canada faced its toughest competition in Group A on Wednesday night, coming away with a 3-0 win over Sweden to cap off a perfect preliminary round. Scott Ratzlaff secured his second shutout of the tournament, turning away all 18 shots he faced. Brayden Yager and Calum Ritchie had a goal and assist each, giving them a tournament-leading eight points apiece through three games.

Finland took the ice last on Tuesday, earning a 4-1 win over Germany after downing the Americans by the same margin the day before. Aron Kiviharju assisted three of the four Finnish goals, giving the standout defenceman five helpers in the tournament. The Finns outshot Germany 35-15 as it finished the prelims with two wins and a shootout loss.

LAST MEETING

Canada’s lone pre-tournament matchup was a fruitful one, shutting out Finland 6-0 on Friday night. The Canadians got goals from six different players, with Mathieu Cataford and Tanner Howe finishing with a goal and an assist each. Carson Bjarnason and Scott Ratzlaff split goaltending duties and turned away 15 and 10 shots, respectively, to blank the Finns.

WHAT TO WATCH

With only one goal against in three games, the question will be which goaltender will get the start against Finland. Ratzlaff has two shutouts, going perfect on 35 shots, Bjarnason allowed only one goal on 20 tries in his lone start. Both netminders had solid seasons in the WHL – Ratzlaff had a .904 save percentage in 22 games with the Seattle Thunderbirds, and Bjarnason finished with .882 mark in 23 games with the Brandon Wheat Kings.

Despite not finding the back of the net, Kiviharju leads the Finns in scoring with five assists. The 16-year-old is one of three 2006-born defencemen on the Finnish roster and has caught the eye of the hockey world already as an early favourite to go No. 1 in the 2024 NHL Draft. Kiviharju could be the spark that lights the Finnish fire.

A LOOK BACK

Canada holds an historic advantage over Finland at the Hlinka Gretzky Cup, winning eight of nine games played since 1996 (with the other finishing in a tie).

Only one of those meetings has been for gold – Nathan MacKinnon scored a hat trick and Zach Fucale made 23 saves for the shutout as Canada posted a 4-0 victory in 2012, winning its fifth of what would be eight consecutive gold medals.

All-time record: Canada leads 8-0-1
Canada goals: 42
Finland goals: 11

For more information:

Esther Madziya
Manager, Communications
Hockey Canada

(403) 284-6484 

[email protected] 

Spencer Sharkey
Manager, Communications
Hockey Canada

(403) 777-4567

[email protected]

Jeremy Knight
Manager, Corporate Communications
Hockey Canada

(647) 251-9738

[email protected]

Videos
Photos
2022-23 NWT: USA 2 – CAN 1 (Game 2)
Campbell finished with 32 saves, but Canada was edged in Kamloops.
2022-23 NWT: USA 4 – CAN 3 SO (Game 1)
Clark gave Canada a third-period lead, but it dropped a shootout decision.
2022 U17: Day 10 – Saturday, November 12
The U.S. won gold, Canada Red took silver and Finland earned bronze.
2022 U17: Day 9 – Friday, November 11
Canada Black, Canada Red and Canada White all earned wins on Friday.
Schedule