July 31, 2022

Whitelaw shines on Day One of Hlinka Gretzky Cup

And we’re off. 

The 2022 Hlinka Gretzky Cup kicked off with as much fanfare and anticipation as expected, and that reflected in a few lopsided outcomes. Still, there were several prospects who put their best skate forward and showed well in their first real competitive game in months, giving way to a fair bit of anticipation that’s built up prior to the start of the weeklong tournament in Red Deer, Alberta. 

It was Jakub Stancl of Czechia who got things started in the tournament, scoring a shorthanded goal 2:36 into the tournament to stake his country to an early 1-0 lead that would pace the country to an eventual 4-3 shootout win despite being outshot 36-22 by Finland. Highly-regarded Finnish forward Kasper Halttunen didn’t disappoint in his return to the tournament. Halttunen, who was pointless in five games as a 16-year-old last year, scored to set his tournament off this go-round. It was Eduard Sale, however, who capped things with the shootout winner.

Team USA will be satisfied with their tournament debut, an 8-1 drubbing of Germany in the day’s second game. William Whitelaw scored 5:07 into the first period with a pickoff before a nifty slip by the pad of goalie Nico Pertuch, and the lead was doubled on a goal by Carey Terrance just over two minutes later. Team USA never looked back, scoring eight times on 49 shots in the opener. 

Canada was equally inhospitable to Switzerland to open the tournament, drubbing their opponent to the tune of a 14-0 score. Colby Barlow put the Canadians on the board with a shorthanded marker just 2:02 into their tournament, and six goals — including another from Barlow and additional markers from Matthew Wood and Brayden Yager — followed before the opening 20 minutes were out. Four more goals in the second period and two more in the third capped a productive day for the hosts. 

Third star: Colby Barlow – Canada 

Barlow showed why he’s considered to be a potential first-round pick in the lopsided victory, piling up three points (two goals, one assist) on the evening. The Owen Sound Attack forward, who models his shot after Auston Matthews of the Toronto Maple Leafs and grit game after Matthew Tkachuk of the Florida Panthers, showed some sniping ability and silky mitts in the win. 

Second star: Eduard Sale – Czechia

Though he was held off the scoresheet, somewhat, Sale was an absolute standout for Czechia in their shootout win over Finland, and provided the game-clinching snipe in the sixth round of the shootout to put his country in the win column early in the Hlinka. His performance was undeniable of mention, and he showed why he’s worth of keeping tabs on in the tournament. 

First star: William Whitelaw – Team USA

He started and finished the scoring for Team USA in their lopsided tournament opener against Germany, and mixed in a helper to boot. Whitelaw, who FCHockey scout Austin Broad described as the potential surprise standout of the Hlinka, constantly displayed his quick feet, elite motor, and snap of a release in his debut at the Hlinka. 

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