Brayden Yager’s great start at the Hlinka Gretzky Cup world under-18 hockey championship has now become a great tournament in general.
And in no small part thanks to the Moose Jaw Warriors forward’s play through the round robin, Canada is off to the tournament semifinal.
Yager had a goal and an assist as Canada took a 3-0 victory over Sweden on Wednesday night, locking down first place in their pool with a 3-0 record. As a result, they’ll take on Finland in their first game of the playoff round on Friday night.
Canada got on the board quickly on a goal by Calum Ritchie (OHL Oshawa) only 3:29 into the contest, with the tournament hosts turning that into a 1-0 lead after the first.
Yager picked up his first point of the game 10:55 into the second, drawing an assist on Zach Benson’s (WHL Winnipeg) goal to give Canada a 2-0 edge.
A power play led to some nifty puck movement in the zone late in the frame, and Yager would be the beneficiary, taking a feed from Ritchie and wheeling into the low right face-off circle before beating Sweden netminder Eric Olsson with a shot low blocker side.
There was no scoring in the third period, and Canada had their comfortable win.
Scott Ratzlaff (WHL Seattle) picked up his second shutout of the tournament but wasn’t all that busy, turning aside 18 shots. Olsson faced 43 shots in Sweden’s net.
Yager now holds the tournament lead with four goals and is tied in points with eight with teammate Ritchie.
Warriors goaltender Jackson Unger is also in Red Deer with Team Canada but has yet to see action.
Canada faces Finland at 5 p.m. on Friday, with the winner advancing to face the winner of Czechia and Sweden for gold on Saturday at 4 p.m.