Canada opens under-18 championship with 12-1 win over Sweden

FRESNO, Texas — Captain Shane Wright had a hat trick and Brandt Clarke added two goals and two assists as Canada toppled Sweden 12-1 on Tuesday at the under-18 men's hockey championship.

Wright opened the scoring early in the first before Clarke, Brett Harrison and Francesco Pinelli potted goals in a 2:46 span to blow the game open midway through the period.

Nolan Allan, Ryan Winterton, Mason McTavish, Wyatt Johnston and Logan Stankoven supplied the rest of the offence for Canada (1-0-0), which will face Latvia Wednesday in its second round-robin game.

Pinelli tacked on two helpers for a three-point night, while Thomas Milic made 28 saves for the Canadian squad.

"We know we are not going to dominate every game, but I think we followed our systems very well tonight," said Pinelli.

"We need to stick to our game plan, keep playing well and communicating with each other, and that will go a long way. We did that tonight, and we are going to have to continue doing those things game in and game out."

Simon Forsmark kept Sweden (1-1-0) from getting blanked.

Carl Lindbom stopped 10-of-14 shots in 13 minutes of action for the Swedes before getting yanked for Viggo Andren, who made 25 saves in relief.

Canada's 24-man roster includes 23 players from the Canadian Hockey League, with defenceman Corson Ceulemans of the Brooks Bandits junior-A squad being the lone skater not coming out of Canada's major junior league.

Also on Tuesday, Finland edged Russia 4-3 in a shootout, Belarus downed Switzerland 7-1 and the United States beat Germany 5-3.

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This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 27, 2021.

The Canadian Press