Milic backstops Canada to victory to open 2021 IIHF U18 World Championship

Ryan McCullough/HHOF-IIHF Images

Seattle Thunderbirds goaltender Thomas Milic made 28 saves, backstopping Canada to a 12-1 victory over Sweden to open the 2021 IIHF U18 World Championship on Tuesday night in Plano, Texas.

Kamloops Blazers forward Logan Stankoven contributed a goal and an assist as Canada opened the tournament with a bang. Captain Shane Wright of the OHL’s Kingston Frontenacs led the scoring parade with three goals, and a handful of WHL players found their way onto the scoresheet as well.

Edmonton Oil Kings forward Dylan Guenther contributed a pair of assists, including a secondary helper on Wright’s game-opening marker followed by a primary assist on a goal from Prince Albert Raiders defenceman Nolan Allan early in the second period of play.

Regina Pats phenom Connor Bedard executed a nice setup off a strong zone entry, connecting with Oshawa Generals forward Brett Harrison to make it 3-0 midway through the first period. A little more than a minute later, Stankoven and Seattle Thunderbirds forward Conner Roulette combined to set up Kitchener Rangers forward Francesco Pinelli to make it a 4-0 game.

Roulette collected his second assist of the night midway through the third period, setting up Windsor Spitfires forward Wyatt Johnston to make it 11-1.

Stankoven put the icing on the cake, making the most of a turnover late in the third period.

Between the pipes, Milic took care of business, as it took Sweden until the 11:17 mark of the third period to beat the product of Coquitlam, B.C.

Milic, a third-round pick (51st overall) of the Thunderbirds at 2018 WHL Draft, was solid in Seattle this season prior to departing for Texas. In nine appearances, the 6-foot, 170-pound puckstopper went 5-4-0 with a 2.74 goals-against average, .913 save percentage, and one shutout.

Stankoven, the fifth-overall selection in the 2019 WHL Draft, has been a goal-scoring machine since arriving in the WHL in 2019-20. The product of Kamloops recorded 29 goals in his rookie season, before adding another seven goals in six games in 2020-21 ahead of his departure for Texas.

Canada returns to action on Wednesday, April 28 at 7 p.m. MT when they take on Latvia.

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