Red Deer, Alta. – Canada confirmed its place as Group A winners following a 3-0 victory over Sweden Wednesday at the Hlinka Gretzky Cup.
Winnipeg ICE forward Zach Benson and Moose Jaw Warriors forward Brayden Yager both scored, while Seattle Thunderbirds netminder Scott Ratzlaff stopped 18 shots to earn his second shutout of the tournament.
The Canadians took the lead 3:29 into the first period and held a 1-0 advantage through 20 minutes, outshooting the Swedes 17-6.
Benson extended the lead to 2-0 with just over nine minutes to play in period two, converting on a backhand attempt from just outside the Swedish crease.
Yager scored his fourth goal of the tournament on a Canadian power play just over six minutes later, extending his goal-scoring streak to three games in the process.
Ratzlaff was solid between the pipes, making half of his saves in a third period that included two power plays for Sweden.
The final shot tally was 43-18 in Canada’s favour.
Benson was named Canada’s player of the game.
Yager finished with a goal and an assist, while Kelowna Rockets forward Andrew Cristall chipped in with a helper.
Canada now advances to a semi-final matchup versus Finland Friday night (5:00 p.m. MT, Peavey Mart Centrium). The other semi-final pits Group B winner Czechia versus Sweden.