Celebrini's OT winner leads Canada past Slovakia for bronze at men's U18 worlds

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BASEL, Switzerland — Macklin Celebrini scored the game-winning goal 7:51 into overtime and Canada topped Slovakia 4-3 to earn bronze at the men's under-18 world hockey championship on Sunday.

Celebrini also netted the game's opening goal and had an assist. Colby Barlow and Matthew Wood, with a goal and three assists, added the others for Canada.

Gabriel D'Aigle made 26 saves as he became the first 16-year-old goaltender to ever start a game at the tournament.

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“This win means everything to us,” Celebrini said. “It’s not the colour we wanted, but we showed a lot of character in this game, pushed through and found a way. I’m real proud of this team.”

Celebrini, 16, finished the tournament with a team-leading 15 points, equaling Tyson Jost (2016) for the most by a Canadian at a single U18 worlds.

“There have been some special 16-year-olds play in this tournament, and Macklin is no exception,” said Canada head coach Jeff Truitt. “He is a dynamic player, and he wants the spotlight.

"He has been a clutch guy for us all tournament, and especially today. He has a bright future ahead of him.”

Dalibor Dvorsky, Peter Cisar and Daniel Jencko replied for Slovakia. Samuel Urban stopped 37-of-41 shots.

After a scoreless first period, Canada took a 2-1 lead thanks to Barlow's goal with 13 seconds remaining in the second.

In the third, Slovakia took a 3-2 edge on Jencko's marker with 4:27 left in regulation. However, Wood scored the tying goal with 1:10 remaining to send the game to overtime.

Ryan Leonard capped a U.S. comeback with the game-winning goal in overtime to beat Sweden 3-2 in the gold-medal game later Sunday.

Canada fell 7-2 to Sweden on Saturday in the semifinals.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 30, 2023.

The Canadian Press