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Warriors set for Easter Sunday clash at World Under-18 Hockey Championship

Tribe standouts Tracey, Hunt, Team Canada to do battle with Buyalski, Belarus with first place in pool on the line
A trio of Moose Jaw Warriors will be going head-to-head with first place in their World Under-18 Hockey Championship pool on the line on Easter Sunday.

Tribe forward Brayden Tracey and defenceman Daemon Hunt will take the ice for Canada and will do battle with Yegor Buyalski of Belarus in the third game for both teams at the tournament in Ornskoldsvik, Sweden, with both teams sporting 2-0 records.

For Canada, that’s not necessarily a surprise as they picked up a come-from-behind 5-3 win over Finland in their opener Thursday before downing Switzerland 7-4 on Saturday.

Belarus, on the other hand, has stunned their first two opponents: they opened the tournament by downing the Czech Republic 4-3 before taking a 4-3 win over Finland in their second game.

Canada 5, Finland 3

Team Canada got off to a rough start in their opening contest, but like the Warriors all through the past Western Hockey League season, never gave up and pulled off a massive comeback – with Tracey playing a key role.

Finland roared out to a 3-0 lead by the 1:01 mark of the second period, but a shorthanded goal by Jamieson Rees of the OHL’s Sarnia Sting kicked off a turnaround in momentum that wouldn’t shift again.

Alex Newhook from the Victoria Grizzlies of the BCHL scored at the 9:42 mark of the second to pull Canada within one and set the stage for Tracey’s late-game heroics.

The WHL Eastern Conference rookie-of-the-year nominee first tied the game 3:57 into the third, finishing off a nifty give-and-go with Peyton Krebs of the Kootenay Ice before slashing across the front of the net and beating the Finnish goaltender far side.

Tracey then scored the game winner, taking a pass from Kamloops’ Connor Zary on a two-on-one and burying the shot with 5:29 to play.

Krebs added an empty net goal to close out scoring.

Hunt didn’t find the scoresheet but finished plus-one.

Canada 7, Switzerland 4

Canada almost found themselves with the shoe on the other foot against Switzerland, as they stormed to a 3-0 lead in the first period, only to see the Swiss come back and tie the game in the second.

Tracey finished the game with three points, again scoring the game-winning goal, this time 5:38 into the third period with Newhook and Thomas Harley of the Mississauga Steelheads drawing assists.

Tracey also figured into the first two goals for Canada, assisting Zary’s opening marker 3:40 into the game and adding one of this own at the 7:04 mark, with Zary and Rees picking up helpers.

Harley, Krebs, Lethbridge’s Dylan Cozens and Dylan Holloway of the AJHL’s Okotoks Oilers also scored for Canada.

Hunt was again a solid presence on the blueline, finishing plus-two.

Buyalski a force for Belarus

With Tracey lighting it up for Canada, Buyalski has been a similar revelation for Belarus in their impressive start to the tournament.

The Tribe rookie import scored his team’s third goal in their opening game against the Czech Republic, as they built a 4-2 lead through two periods and held on for the win.

Buyalski was back at it again against the defending gold medalists from Finland on Saturday, as he scored the eventual game-winning goal 3:48 into the third period, giving Belarus 4-0 lead before Finland staged a furious rally in the final 10 minutes. He also added an assist on Dmitri Kozorez’ game-opening goal 7:45 into the contest.

The World Under-18 hockey championship round robin continues through Tuesday, with the playoffs beginning Thursday with the quarter-finals.

Click right here for more from tournament including full stats, scoring information and highlights from each game.

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