The 2018 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge drew to a close on Saturday as Russia skated to its fourth gold medal finish while Sweden claimed bronze in a shootout over Team Canada Red. Canada Red would settle for fourth place while Canada Black finished fifth and Canada White placed sixth. Here’s a look at Saturday’s tournament-concluding action.
GOLD MEDAL GAME: RUSSIA 2, FINLAND 1
Daniil Gushchin and Ignat Kokhanin scored goals as Russia claimed its fourth gold medal at the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge, defeating Finland 2-1 at Harbour Station in Saint John. The gold medal finish follows other Russian conquests in 2000, 2012 and 2014, giving them their seventh medal in the last eight years at the tournament. Eero Niemi scored Finland’s lone marker as Russian netminder Yaroslav Askarov went on to stop 22 of the 23 shots he faced. One CHL player in Guelph Storm rookie blueliner Daniil Chayka won a gold medal as a member of Team Russia.
BRONZE MEDAL GAME: SWEDEN 4, CANADA RED 3 – SO
Jesper Wallstedt and Dylan Garand (Kamloops Blazers) put on a goaltending clinic, each making 45 saves before Sweden’s Lucas Raymond netted the shootout winner to win bronze for his country in Saint John. Canada Red’s Jake Murray (Kingston Frontenacs) opened the scoring before goals from Daniel Ljungman and Zion Nybeck gave Sweden a 2-1 lead after one. Elliot Ekmark put Sweden up 3-1 in the second, but William Dufour (Rouyn-Noranda Huskies) pulled Canada Red to within a goal just over a minute later. Jacob Perreault (Sarnia Sting) scored the game-tying goal 2:40 into the third period in a game that would require a shootout before things were settled. Raymond’s shootout marker was the only goal out of nine total attempts as both goaltenders were tremendous on Saturday. Team Canada Red settles for fourth while Sweden wins its eighth bronze at the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge.
McCLENNON, O’ROURKE NAMED TO TOURNAMENT ALL-STAR TEAM:
CHL players Connor McClennon (Kootenay ICE) of Team Canada White and Ryan O’Rourke (Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds) of Team Canada Black were named to the 2018 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge Tournament All-Star Team.
McClennon led the tournament in scoring with 11 points (8-3–11) over five games. The 16-year-old native of Wainwright, Alta. had points in all five of his outings, with a five-point (3-2–5) showing against the United States on November 5th headlining his week. The second overall pick of the 2017 WHL Bantam Draft, McClennon has nine points (2-7–9) over 13 games with Kootenay this season.
A 16-year-old defenceman from Pickering, Ont., O’Rourke finished tied with Canada White’s Jérémie Poirier (Saint John Sea Dogs) for the tournament lead in scoring among defencemen with six points (3-3–6). O’Rourke’s week was highlighted by a three-point showing (2-1–3) against the United States on November 6th that included him scoring the game winner inside the final two minutes of the third period. The 20th overall pick of the 2018 OHL Priority Selection, O’Rourke has five points (2-3–5) over 16 games with the Soo Greyhounds this season.
Other prominent CHL performers in New Brunswick this past week included Canada White’s Cole Perfetti (Saginaw Spirit) who led all players with seven assists and finished second in tournament scoring with nine points (2-7–9), Canada White forward Theo Rochette (Chicoutimi Saguenéens) who recorded seven points (2-5–7) as well as Canada Red goaltender Dylan Garand (Kamloops Blazers) who was among the tournament leaders with a 2.33 goals-against average and a .930 save percentage.
For news, stats and scores from the 2018 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge, visit hockeycanada.ca.