Team Canada is back on top of the junior hockey world capturing the gold medal at the Ivan Hlinka tournament. Canada defeated the Czech Republic 6-2 to capture the gold at the U-18 tournament.
To say Canada dominated at this years tournament would be a fair assessment. They won all 5 of their games outscoring opponents a combined 32-10 throughout the tournament. Lawson Crouse scored two goals in the finals, while goaltender Zach Sawchenko made 17 saves to bring home Canada’s seventh straight title at the Ivan Hlinka tournament.
They smoked their rivals the United States in the semi-finals in a 11-5 game booking their ticket to the gold medal. The Americans did bounce back, beating Sweden 5-4 to notch the bronze medal.
With Canada’s success at the U-18 Ivan Hlinka tournament, it leads one to question what is going wrong between the U-18 and the U-20 World Junior Championships where Canada has not been up to par as of late. Perhaps its the fact that most of Canada’s young players are snatched up by the NHL at a young age and as a result aren’t available for the U20′s. Who knows, but hopefully soon Canada’s success at the U-18 will translate to the World Juniors.
The Czechs swept through the United States, Finland, Sweden and Russia, outscoring their opponents 19-7 en route to their gold medal match against Canada. The home town Czech’s celebrated the tournament in honour of their own former hockey standout Ivan Hlinka, ten years after his death.
This is the 6th time the Czech’s have finished the tournament with silver and is a strong follow-up from their silver medal effort at the 2014 World Juniors.
En route to capturing their seventh straight title Canada was able to defeat Switzerland, Sweden, the U.S. and Slovakia while getting help from Dylan Strome, Travis Konency and Mitchell Marner. Remarkable, Canada has won the tournament 19 of 24 times since the games began in 1991.