Cal Foote (Kelowna, B.C./Kelowna Rockets, WHL) diving behind Canada’s National Junior Team goalie to stop the puck from crossing the line during Tuesday’s 2018 IIHF World Junior Championship opening game against Finland. Photo courtesy of the World Junior Championship

Canada wins opener at IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship

Kelowna’s Cal Foote makes highlight reel diving save

Canada scored three times in the first 13 minutes enroute to a 4-2 win over over Finland in its opener Tuesday at the 2018 IIHF World Junior Championship.

“Everyone was excited; but the first two periods, I don’t think we played that well – that could have been nerves or whatever you want to call it. As the game went on, we definitely got better as a team and collectively it was a pretty decent effort against a very good hockey club. I know a few guys (on Finland), they’re great players, they’re a deep team who can score but obviously the big thing for us was penalties which kind of hurt us,” said assistant captain, and Penticton Vees alumni, Dante Fabbro (Coquitlam, B.C./Boston, HE).

The Canadian team, which is captained by forward Dillon Dubé (Cochrane, Alta./Kelowna Rockets, WHL) and features defenceman Cal Foote (Kelowna,B.C./Kelowna Rockets, WHL), rode stand-out penalty killing and the strong play of goaltender Carter Hart (Sherwood Park, Alta./Everett, WHL), who finished with 29 saves.

Related: Rockets’ Dube named Team Canada captain

Boris Katchouk (Waterloo, Ont./Sault Ste. Marie, OHL) and Taylor Raddysh (Caledon, Ont./Erie, OHL) paced the offence with a goal and an assist each.

“I think it was huge to get a couple of goals early. Whenever you score that first goal it’s always big for us and big for momentum. To grab it early like we did is huge and we built off that the rest of the game,” said Hart.

Canada quickly jumped out to a 2-0 lead; Katchouk scored first at 5:34, going to the net and tucking a shot around Finnish netminder Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen, and Sam Steel (Sherwood Park, Alta./Regina, WHL) buried a Raddysh rebound on the power play just 27 seconds later.

Aleksi Heponiemi got one back for Finland at 12:19, but Drake Batherson (New Minas, N.S./Cape Breton, QMJHL) one-timed a feed from Jonah Gadjovich (Whitby, Ont./Owen Sound, OHL) past Luukkonen only 33 seconds after that to restore the two-goal advantage after 20 minutes.

Related: Speed and depth key to Canada’s junior team ahead of world championship

Finland got within a goal again at 7:31 of the second period when a point shot from Henri Jokiharju deflected off the leg of Gadjovich and bounced past Hart, but that would be it for offence from the Finns, who managed just the single man-advantage goal on six chances.

“We had too many turnovers. We can be checking better and the penalties we took was because we didn’t use our legs and our speed, so we were reaching with our stick. Those are things we know and guys did a good job in the two exhibition games, but today now it’s all about getting into the tournament and getting in rhythm. With the first game behind us, we can now keep building throughout the tournament,” said Team Canada head coach Dominique Ducharme.

Foote saved what looked like was going to be a sure thing goal for Finland in the third period. With the puck bouncing behind Hart and headed across the goal line, Foote dove behind the goalie and managed to swat it out of the net within millimetres of the puck making it over the red line.

Raddysh, who scored five goals in seven games at the 2017 World Juniors, got his first of the 2018 tournament at 12:47 of the middle frame, corralling a bouncing puck and beating Luukkonen with a knuckleball from the high slot.

Canada carried the play in the scoreless third period, outshooting Finland 15-8 for a 32-31 edge overall.

The Canadians are right back to action Wednesday night, taking on Slovakia (7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT).

Just Posted

B.C. Interior free from measles

Vancouver measles outbreak hasn’t spread to the B.C. Interior

Christina Lake welcomes new fire chief

Joe Geary made the move to the Boundary from Sidney.

Man injured in police shooting near Nelson has died

The death follows an incident in Bonnington on Feb. 13

B.C. BUDGET: Surplus $374 million after bailouts of BC Hydro, ICBC

Growth projected stronger in 2020, Finance Minister Carole James says

What’s happening for Family Day in the Boundary

Activities in and around Grand Forks offer something for everyone.

Students give two thumbs up to no more B.C. student loan interest

Eliminating the loan interest charges could save the average graduate $2,300 over 10 years

Ontario man accused of killing 11-year-old daughter dies in hospital, police say

Roopesh Rajkumar had been hospitalized with what police described as a self-inflicted gunshot wound

Manitoba ‘pauses’ link with ex-B.C. premier Gordon Campbell after allegations

Campbell had been hired to review two major hydro projects

Heritage minute features Japanese-Canadian baseball team, internment

The Vancouver Asahi baseball team won various championships across the Pacific Northwest

UPDATE: Woman, off-duty cop in critical condition after stabbing outside B.C. elementary school

The officer was interceding in an alleged assault when he and the woman were stabbed

$10-a-day child care not in 2019 budget, but advocate not irked

Sharon Gregson with the Coalition of Child Care Advocates of B.C. says NDP on track to deliver promise

B.C. Seniors Advocate questions labour shortage in care homes

Are there really no workers, or are care aide wages too low?

B.C. business groups worry about looming economic decline in wake of NDP budget

The party’s second government budget focused on plenty of spending, business advocates say

Missing Surrey snowshoer caught in avalanche found dead on Vancouver mountain

North Shore Rescue resumed its search today after efforts were temporarily halted Tuesday due to snowstorm

Most Read