Canada’s pursuit of gold at the 2018 IIHF U18 World Championship began with a 6-4 win over the defending champion from the United States of America Thursday in Russia.
Defenceman Ty Smith (Spokane Chiefs) represented Canada as the team’s captain during the game, finishing with a pair of shots and a plus-one rating in the contest.
A three-goal second period helped Canada secure the victory Thursday. Raphael Lavoie led Canada with a pair of goals while Kevin Bahl and Liam Foudy each recorded a goal and an assist.
In addition to Smith, WHL players competing at the tournament included forward Cole Fonstad (Prince Albert Raiders), Chase Wouters (Saskatoon Blades), and defencemen Bowen Byram (Vancouver Giants) and Matthew Robertson (Edmonton Oil Kings). Fonstad had a pair of shots and Robertson added a shot in the third period.
Tied 1-1 after 20 minutes, the USA went ahead 2-1 early in the second, only to have Canada respond with three goals in the period to make it a 4-2 score after 40 minutes.
The United States came back in the third with a pair of goals to tie up the score at 4-4, but a goal from Canada midway through the period and an empty-net goal provided the two-goal cushion to victory.
Goaltender Colten Ellis stopped 31 of 35 shots in the victory.
Canada will continue round-robin play against Belarus Friday.
In other round-robin play, Gillian Kohler (Kootenay ICE) began his tournament with Switzerland, being held to no shots in a 3-1 loss to Sweden.
Egor Zamula (Calgary Hitmen) scored a goal, added four shots and plus-three rating in Russia’s tournament-opening victory against France by a 7-1 score.