Elkhorn’s Travis Sanheim and Brandon Wheat King forward Jayce Hawryluk picked up their first points at the world under-18 hockey championship in Finland on the weekend as Team Canada took control of its preliminary round group.
Sanheim assisted on Brendan Perlini’s power-play goal with seven seconds left in the second period on Sunday as Canada edged Slovakia 2-1. Perlini netted the game-winner late in the third as Canada improved to 3-0-0-0 in the event, grabbed a five-point lead over the second-place Slovakians (1-0-1-1) and clinched a spot in the quarter-finals.
Sanheim, a defenceman who plays with the Western Hockey League’s Calgary Hitmen, had five shots on goal in the game.
John Quenneville of the Wheat Kings had a shot on goal and won five of his 12 faceoffs, while fellow Wheat King forward Jayce Hawryluk won his lone faceoff and took three minor penalties.
Slovakia, which opened the scoring with a short-handed goal in the first period by Juraj Mily, pushed the Canadians but Canada head coach Kevin Dineen liked the way his team battled back.
“We got down one, but I liked our composure. I thought it was a good learning experience, because as the game wore on things got a little bit tight and (the Slovakians) were still generating chances ...,” he told the Canadian Press. “But at the end of it this is a really fun group and they keep finding ways to have success.”
Mason McDonald stopped 21 shots for Canada.
On Saturday, Canada got goals from five different players in its 5-2 win over Germany (0-0-0-2). Hawryluk, in his tournament debut, set up Daniel Audette’s first-period marker that opened the scoring. Hawryluk also had a shot on goal and a plus/minus of +1. Sanheim had a plus/minus of +2 was named Canada’s player of the game, while Quenneville had a shot, a plus/minus of +1 and won seven of his 10 faceoffs.
Conner Bleackley, Jared McCann, Ryan Gropp and Travis Konecny also scored for Canada, while Julio Billia stopped 21 of the 23 shots he faced.
Andreas Eder and Maximilian Kammerer replied for Germany.
Wheat Kings defenceman Ryan Pilon missed both games for Canada with an undisclosed injury he suffered in the tournament opener against Sweden. He is listed as day-to-day.
Canada has today off before closing out the round robin on Tuesday against Russia (0-1-1-0).
“We’ll certainly be very respectful of their team,” Dineen said of the archrival Russians. “Canada-Russia should have the makings, as always, of a very good hockey game.”
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