CANADA EDGES FINNS FOR SECOND PRE-WORLDS WIN
JASON LA ROSE
CHELYABINSK, Russia – Alexis Lafrenière (Saint-Eustache, Que./Rimouski, QMJHL) and Ty Smith (Lloydminster, Alta./Spokane, WHL) scored 1:23 apart in the second period, and Canada’s National Men’s Under-18 Team held off a third-period push to earn a 3-2 pre-tournament win over Finland on Monday ahead of the 2018 IIHF U18 World Championship.
The Canadians finished their two-game exhibition schedule with a perfect record; they blanked Slovakia 5-0 in their opener Sunday.
Cameron Hillis (Oshawa, Ont./Guelph, OHL) got the scoring started just past the midway mark of the first period, finding the back of the net for the second time in as many days to send Canada to the dressing room up one after one.
Lafrenière doubled the lead at 10:14 of the second period off a set-up from Ty Dellandrea (Port Perry, Ont./Flint, OHL), and Smith made it 3-0 at 11:37.
The Finns, who have won gold and silver at the last two U18 world championships, made it interesting in the third, getting goals from Jesperi Kotkaniemi and Niklas Nordgren to make it a one-goal game with just under 14 minutes to go, but Canadian goaltender Colten Ellis (Port Hawkesbury, N.S./Rimouski, QMJHL) closed the door the rest of the way.
Canada will make the 312-kilometre trip south to Magnitogorsk for the preliminary round; it opens up against the United States – the defending gold medallist – on Thursday (10:30 a.m. ET/7:30 a.m. PT).