RED DEER, Alta. – Canada won its 23rd summer under-18 gold medal, downing Sweden 4-1 in the gold medal game Saturday night at the 2022 Hlinka Gretzky Cup.
The home crowd at the Peavey Mart Centrium was ignited by Tanner Howe just
over five minutes into the first period when he went upstairs from a harsh
angle to start the scoring.
Hugo Petterson answered back for Sweden when he found a seam through
the neutral zone and wired a wrister upstairs on goaltender Scott Ratzlaff
to make it 1-1 at 11:57.
After a disputed no-goal call, Canada got its second when Ethan
Gauthier went bar-down from the slot to make it a 2-1 game with 5:45
remaining in the opening frame. Gauthier finished even with Swedish sniper Otto Stenberg for the most goals in the tournament, netting six
in five games.
A Swedish giveaway resulted in an odd bounce off the end boards which Calum
Ritchie corralled and buried to stretch the lead by two at the 5:54 mark in
the second. Ritchie scored in Canada’s last four games and finished as the
tournament leader with 10 points (4-6—10).
Zach Benson wound up with the puck after a hard forecheck and found Brayden
Yager from below the goal-line to add a little bit of insurance late in the third period.
Ratzlaff impressed again, holding the Swedes to only one goal on 26
attempts. The Irma, Alta., native got the start in four of five games for Canada and
allowed only two goals on 85 shots.
The game was a rematch of the 2018 final in Edmonton, Alta., also a win for the Canadians. The unbeaten run in Red Deer improved Canada's all-time summer U18 record to 116-16-6 since 1991.