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

Last of southern Selkirk caribou relocated to Revelstoke area

One cow from the South Selkirk herd and two from the Purcells were moved this week

How to stay safe in the Nakusp backcountry: BCSARA

The B.C. Search and Rescue Association recommends planning, training and taking the essentials

Skier caught in backcountry avalanche near Rossland

‘The man was lucky he had the ‘A-Team’ of ski patrol people able to respond as quickly as they did,’ says Rossland rescue spokesperson

Kootenays unemployment rate best in B.C.

In one year, the region has gone from highest unemployment rate to lowest, at 3.1 per cent

Nakusp search and rescue group seeks volunteers

Senior Nakusp SAR member Ross Shkuratoff says the group is on the lookout for new members

VIDEO: U.S. Congress to probe whether Trump told lawyer Cohen to lie

At issue is a BuzzFeed News report that about negotiations over a Moscow real estate project

Charges upgraded against mother of murdered B.C. girl

Kerryann Lewis now faces first- rather than second-degree murder in the death of Aaliyah Rosa.

Explosion sends B.C. firefighter to hospital

Kelowna fire crews responded to a blaze at Pope’sGallery of BC Art & Photography on Friday

Rare ‘super blood wolf moon’ takes to the skies this Sunday

Celestial event happens only three times this century

Arrest made after historic B.C. church hit by arson

The fire at the 150-year-old Murray United Church in Merritt was considered a possible hate crime

B.C. dangerous offender in court for violating no-contact order, sends letter to victim

Wayne Belleville was shocked to see a letter addressed to him from his shooter, Ronald Teneycke

Crowsnest Pass RCMP seek help locating missing man

58-year-old Stuart David Duff was last seen on Jan. 6, 2019.

Man blames his loud car radio, sirens for crash with B.C. ambulance

Tribunal rejects bid to recoup ICBC costs after crash deemed 100-per-cent his fault

RECALL: Salmon Village maple salmon nuggets

Customers warned not to eat product due to possible Listeria contamination

Most Read