RED DEER, Alta. – Canada won its 23rd summer under-18 gold medal, downing Sweden 4-1 in the gold medal game Saturday night at the 2022 Hlinka Gretzky Cup.
The home crowd at the Peavey Mart Centrium was ignited by Tanner Howe just over five minutes into the first period when he went upstairs from a harsh angle to start the scoring.
Hugo Petterson answered back for Sweden when he found a seam through the neutral zone and wired a wrister upstairs on goaltender Scott Ratzlaff to make it 1-1 at 11:57.
After a disputed no-goal call, Canada got its second when Ethan Gauthier went bar-down from the slot to make it a 2-1 game with 5:45 remaining in the opening frame. Gauthier finished even with Swedish sniper Otto Stenberg for the most goals in the tournament, netting six in five games.
A Swedish giveaway resulted in an odd bounce off the end boards which Calum Ritchie corralled and buried to stretch the lead by two at the 5:54 mark in the second. Ritchie scored in Canada’s last four games and finished as the tournament leader with 10 points (4-6—10).
Zach Benson wound up with the puck after a hard forecheck and found Brayden Yager from below the goal-line to add a little bit of insurance late in the third period.
Ratzlaff impressed again, holding the Swedes to only one goal on 26 attempts. The Irma, Alta., native got the start in four of five games for Canada and allowed only two goals on 85 shots.
The game was a rematch of the 2018 final in Edmonton, Alta., also a win for the Canadians. The unbeaten run in Red Deer improved Canada's all-time summer U18 record to 116-16-6 since 1991.
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