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).

Just Posted

Mountain biking draws increasing number of tourists to B.C.

Study shows numbers are up, way up, for bike-related visits to the province

Thief posing as Revenue Canada staff gets iTune cards

Victim provides fraudster with $3,000 in cards

Salmon Arm multi-family development gets nod

Councillors send proposal for 97-unit multi-family development to first and second reading.

115 new wildfires burning across B.C. due to 19,000 lightning strikes

More fires expected to start today, says BC Wildfire Service officials

Severe thunderstorm watch issued for the Okanagan

Possible rainfall rates of up to 25 milimetres in one hour.

Humans locked in for love at Kelowna Shelter

BC SPCA Lock-In for Love hopes to raise $25,000

Fireworks and fires over a half-metre banned Friday in Kamloops centre

B.C. Wildfire Service banning to category 2 and 3 fires in Kamloops Fire Centre at noon Friday

Rescued Oregon family simply unprepared for adventure, RCMP say

Agencies now helping the group of four get to their destination in Alaska

Large B.C. tree dies after possible poisoning

Police and District investigate after large chestnut tree’s rapid decline

Canucks release 2018-19 season schedule

Vancouver to face Calgary Flames on Wednesday, Oct. 3, for home opener

VIDEO: Luxury Home and Design Show opens with Italian flare

Event set to run Friday to Sunday at BC Place in Vancouver

Small new charge on BC Hydro bills goes toward new crisis fund

The new fund aims to help customers who find themselves in financial emergencies

UPDATED: Crown appeals B.C. polygamous leader’s acquittal in child bride case

James Oler had been charged with taking his underage daughter to the U.S. to marry her off

Fake cops ‘arrest’ woman, steal $6,000 in latest CRA scam

Vancouver police urge people not take calls from anyone saying they’re from the Canada Revenue Agency

Most Read