Cal Foote (Kelowna, B.C./Kelowna Rockets, WHL) diving behind Canada’s National Junior Team goalie to stop the puck from crossing the line during Tuesday’s 2018 IIHF World Junior Championship opening game against Finland. Photo courtesy of the World Junior Championship

Canada wins opener at IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship

Kelowna’s Cal Foote makes highlight reel diving save

Canada scored three times in the first 13 minutes enroute to a 4-2 win over over Finland in its opener Tuesday at the 2018 IIHF World Junior Championship.

“Everyone was excited; but the first two periods, I don’t think we played that well – that could have been nerves or whatever you want to call it. As the game went on, we definitely got better as a team and collectively it was a pretty decent effort against a very good hockey club. I know a few guys (on Finland), they’re great players, they’re a deep team who can score but obviously the big thing for us was penalties which kind of hurt us,” said assistant captain, and Penticton Vees alumni, Dante Fabbro (Coquitlam, B.C./Boston, HE).

The Canadian team, which is captained by forward Dillon Dubé (Cochrane, Alta./Kelowna Rockets, WHL) and features defenceman Cal Foote (Kelowna,B.C./Kelowna Rockets, WHL), rode stand-out penalty killing and the strong play of goaltender Carter Hart (Sherwood Park, Alta./Everett, WHL), who finished with 29 saves.

Related: Rockets’ Dube named Team Canada captain

Boris Katchouk (Waterloo, Ont./Sault Ste. Marie, OHL) and Taylor Raddysh (Caledon, Ont./Erie, OHL) paced the offence with a goal and an assist each.

“I think it was huge to get a couple of goals early. Whenever you score that first goal it’s always big for us and big for momentum. To grab it early like we did is huge and we built off that the rest of the game,” said Hart.

Canada quickly jumped out to a 2-0 lead; Katchouk scored first at 5:34, going to the net and tucking a shot around Finnish netminder Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen, and Sam Steel (Sherwood Park, Alta./Regina, WHL) buried a Raddysh rebound on the power play just 27 seconds later.

Aleksi Heponiemi got one back for Finland at 12:19, but Drake Batherson (New Minas, N.S./Cape Breton, QMJHL) one-timed a feed from Jonah Gadjovich (Whitby, Ont./Owen Sound, OHL) past Luukkonen only 33 seconds after that to restore the two-goal advantage after 20 minutes.

Related: Speed and depth key to Canada’s junior team ahead of world championship

Finland got within a goal again at 7:31 of the second period when a point shot from Henri Jokiharju deflected off the leg of Gadjovich and bounced past Hart, but that would be it for offence from the Finns, who managed just the single man-advantage goal on six chances.

“We had too many turnovers. We can be checking better and the penalties we took was because we didn’t use our legs and our speed, so we were reaching with our stick. Those are things we know and guys did a good job in the two exhibition games, but today now it’s all about getting into the tournament and getting in rhythm. With the first game behind us, we can now keep building throughout the tournament,” said Team Canada head coach Dominique Ducharme.

Foote saved what looked like was going to be a sure thing goal for Finland in the third period. With the puck bouncing behind Hart and headed across the goal line, Foote dove behind the goalie and managed to swat it out of the net within millimetres of the puck making it over the red line.

Raddysh, who scored five goals in seven games at the 2017 World Juniors, got his first of the 2018 tournament at 12:47 of the middle frame, corralling a bouncing puck and beating Luukkonen with a knuckleball from the high slot.

Canada carried the play in the scoreless third period, outshooting Finland 15-8 for a 32-31 edge overall.

The Canadians are right back to action Wednesday night, taking on Slovakia (7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT).

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Teach your kids to protect themselves from abuse

Two weeks ago The Spotlight published a story about a child sex… Continue reading

‘Schools are healthy’: IH medical health officer

Children have a low risk of catching and spreading COVID-19

2020 overdose death toll rises to 73 in the Okanagan

Just under half of the deaths occurred in Kelowna

COVID-19 picture ‘much clearer,’ says Interior Health president

As fall routines set in, IH CEO Susan Brown reminds public to be vigilant in preventative practices

BC Liberal Leader talks drug addiction in the Lower Mainland

Drug addiction and public safety a top priority says Andrew Wilkinson

Kamloops Mounties happened upon alleged gang-related robbery, kidnapping

Michael Mathieson is charged with armed robbery, unlawful confinement and kidnapping

Pandemic derails CP Holiday Train

Canadian Pacific will work to get donations to food banks while also producing an online music concert

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Interior Health reports five new COVID-19 cases

Across the region, 34 cases are active

Vanderhoof’s Brian Frenkel takes on top job in tough times

We can get through this, new local government leader says

Penticton quadruple murder trial begins in Kelowna next month

John Brittain, 69, is facing three counts of first-degree murder and one count of second-degree murder

Historic BC Tree Fruits head office in Okanagan for sale

The company’s CEO said the decision was necessary due to a fickle fruit market

Most Read