Two goals from McKenna led Canada to 6-3 win over Sweden at U18 worlds

VANTAA, Finland — Gavin McKenna scored twice in the span of one minute and 45 seconds in the first period as Canada opened with a 6-3 win over Sweden on Thursday at the world men's under-18 hockey championship.

Jett Luchanko had a goal and an assist and Malcolm Spence, Matthew Schaeffer and Carson Wetsch also scored for Canada. Porter Martone added two assists.

Carter George made 26 saves to pick up the win.

Canada made it difficult on themselves by racking up 51 penalty minutes, but limited Sweden to one power play goal.

"Our penalty kill was outstanding even though we had to use it more than we wanted to," said Canada head coach Gardiner MacDougall. "Any time you play your first game there’s a lot of emotions between the two teams, a lot of good hockey and things to clean up, but overall, it’s a great start for the group."

Alexander Zetterberg led Sweden with two goals and an assist. Melvin Fernstrom also scored. Love Harenstam made 20 saves.

Canada had a 4-1 lead after the frst period, but two goals from Zetterberg in the second cut the lead to one goal.

Schaefer scored a minute after Zetterberg's second goal to kill Sweden's momentum, and George made nine saves in the third period to help cement the win.

“I think it was a good game for us to get a win in the first game of the tournament," said forward Tij Iginla, who had an assist. "We talked about the penalties, and we know it’s tough to get going offensively when we’re in the box.”

Canada next faces Czechia on Friday.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 25, 2024.

The Canadian Press