Canada beats United States 6-4 to win under-18 men's world hockey championship

ESPOO, Finland — Gavin McKenna put Canada on his back to win its fifth-ever under-18 men's world hockey championship.

McKenna scored three times, finishing his hat trick with an empty-net goal, and added an assist as Canada rallied past the United States 6-4 on Sunday in the international tournament's final. McKenna, from Whitehorse, Yukon, gave credit to his teammates.

"I couldn’t have done it without them, there were so many guys that stepped up when we needed it and it all paid off in the end," said McKenna, a 16-year-old forward with the Medicine Hat Tigers. "There was never a doubt in our room. We have built unbelievable friendships that we’ll have for a lifetime."

Cole Beaudoin and Tij Iginla also scored in the third period as Canada overcame an early 3-1 deficit with four goals in the final frame. Ryder Ritchie added a goal in the second period.

Goalie Carter George made 31 saves for the win in net.

Cole Hutson had a goal and two assists for the U.S. Christian Humphreys, Cole Eiserman, and Brodie Ziemer also scored.

Nicholas Kempf stopped 19-of-24 shots in net for the Americans.

The American racked up 31 minutes of penalties while the Canadians took just eight.

"The U.S played really well, but with the penalty—the power play is something we practiced all tournament, it came up big today and that was the key to our win," said McKenna.

Earlier Sunday, Love Harenstam stopped all 36 shots he faced as Sweden shut out Slovakia 4-0 to win bronze.

Lucas Pettersson scored 9:16 into the third period to break a scoreless tie for Sweden.

Melvin Fernstrom, Alfons Freij and Victor Eklund rounded out the attack for the Swedes.

Alan Lendak stopped 25 shots in net for Slovakia.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 5, 2024.

The Canadian Press