QUICK START HELPS CANADA TO FIRST YOUTH OLYMPICS WIN
JASON LA ROSE
LILLEHAMMER, Norway – Aidan Dudas (Parry Sound, Ont./North Central, OMHA) and Connor Roberts (Owen Sound, Ont,/Grey Bruce, OMHA) scored within the first three minutes, giving Canada an early lead in an eventual 5-1 win over Finland on Monday at the 2016 Winter Youth Olympic Games.
The victory evened Canada’s record at 1-1, and dropped the Finns to 1-2 in preliminary-round play.
Luka Burzan (Surrey, B.C./Valley West, BCMML) and Benoît-Olivier Groulx (Gatineau, Que./Gatineau, LHMAAAQ) finished with a goal and an assist each for the Canadians, and captain Ty Smith (Lloydminster, Alta./Lloydminster, AMHL) netted his second goal in as many games.
Alexis Gravel (Mississauga, Ont,/Mississauga Senators, GTHL) made 24 saves to record the win in his first start.
Canada took advantage of an early power play to open the scoring, with Carson Focht (Regina, Sask./Regina, SMAAAHL) setting up Dudas just 1:46 in, and Roberts doubled the lead just 34 seconds after that.
Toni Utunen cut the Canadian lead in half late in the first period on a Finnish two-man advantage, pulling the defending gold medallists within a goal after the opening 15 minutes.
Burzan wasted no time restoring the two-goal lead in the second period, scoring on an unassisted effort just 63 seconds into the middle frame for the period’s lone goal.
Gravel and Finnish counterpart Justus Annunen starred in the second, combining to turn away 20 of 21 shots.
The Finns started the third period with a full two minutes on the power play, but Groulx made sure there would be no momentum swing, scoring shorthanded just 50 seconds into the stanza.
Smith capped the scoring on the power play with 6:08 to go.
Canada is right back to action Tuesday, taking on the unbeaten United States (8 a.m. ET/5 a.m. PT).