CANADA BLANKS FINNS TO OPEN HLINKA GRETZKY CUP
JASON LA ROSE
BRECLAV, Czech Republic – Cole Perfetti (Whitby, Ont./Saginaw, OHL) and Seth Jarvis (Winnipeg, Man./Portland, WHL) scored two goals apiece, Tristan Lennox (Cambridge, Ont./Saginaw, OHL) made 17 saves for the shutout and Canada’s National Men’s Summer Under-18 Team started the 2019 Hlinka Gretzky Cup with a 6-0 win over Finland on Monday.
Will Cuylle (Toronto, Ont./Windsor, OHL) and Ridly Greig (Lethbridge, Alta./Brandon, WHL) also found the back of the net for Canada, which ran its winning streak at the tournament to 10 games.
An early power play got the Canadian offence started; Hendrix Lapierre (Gatineau, Que./Chicoutimi, QMJHL) went cross-ice for Perfetti, who found room upstairs on the short-side on Finnish netminder Joel Blomqvist for a 1-0 lead just 5:52 in.
Cuylle doubled the advantage less than two minutes later, powering down the left wing before beating Blomqvist with a quick shot, and Jarvis was the recipient of a pretty no-look pass from Quinton Byfield (Newmarket, Ont./Sudbury, OHL) to make it 3-0 in the final minute of the opening frame.
Greig had the lone goal in the second period, burying his own rebound just past the two-minute mark.
Canada smothered the Finns in the third, allowing just two shots on goal and adding its final two goals before the period was three minutes old.
Jarvis was first, taking advantage of a turnover at the Finnish blue-line and beating Blomqvist just inside the far post with an unassisted effort, and Perfetti finished a two-on-one with Lapierre 32 seconds after that to cap the scoring.
Lennox was solid if unspectacular in the Canadian goal, making the saves when called upon to backstop Canada to its second tournament-opening shutout in as many years. Nolan Maier made 15 saves in a 10-0 win over Switzerland last year in Edmonton, Alta.
The game marked just the eighth all-time summer U18 meeting between the long-time hockey rivals. Canada improved its record against the Finns to seven wins and a tie.
Preliminary-round action continues Tuesday when the Canadians take on Switzerland (9:30 a.m. ET/6:30 a.m. PT, TSN).