Aaron
Vickers
August 7, 2022

Ratzlaff stars as Canada takes gold at the Hlinka Gretzky Cup

Canada is golden at the Hlinka Gretzky Cup, and its thanks in large part to the work of goaltender Scott Ratzlaff.

Ratzlaff kicked aside 25 shots to help Canada to its first Hlinka gold since 2018 and a record 23rd first-place finish in a 4-1 win against Sweden to lay claim to under-18 summer supremacy. He was aided by goals from Tanner Howe, Ethan Gauthier, Calum Ritchie, and Brayden Yager. Hugo Pettersson countered for Sweden.

Canada, who has won 17 championships in the past 22 tournaments, outscored opponents 34-3 in five games.

Finland topped Czechia 3-1 to claim bronze. Jesse Kiiskinen had a goal and an assist, including an empty-netter, and Aron Kiviharju scored to help Finland to victory. Eemil Vinni made 21 saves.

The bronze is Finland’s first medal since capturing silver in 2012.

Third Star: Ethan Gauthier – Canada

Gauthier led the Hlinka Gretzky Cup with six goals in five games, and his scoring prowess didn’t dry up in a crucial gold-medal match against Switzerland. He scored in the first period, sniping past Swedish goaltender Noah Erliden with what eventually served as the tournament-winner. In all, Gauthier, who plays for the Sherbrooke Phoenix in the QMJHL, finished the tournament with seven points (six goals, one assist).

“After Canada had a goal disallowed in the second period, Gauthier got it right back the very next shift, rifling a perfect shot top corner to give his team a 2-1 lead,” FCHockey scout Derek Neumeier said. “The goal would hold up not only as the game-winner, but also the gold-winner.”

Second Star: Aron Kiviharju – Finland

Kiviharju, eligible for the 2024 NHL Draft, was buzzing in the bronze medal match and picked an excellent time to score his first of the Hlinka, opening the scoring against Czechia. It wasn’t his sole contribution, either, helping out at both ends of the ice in showcasing a mature game that helped his club leave with some hardware.

“Beyond scoring a highlight-reel goal to kick things off, Kiviharju was good all over the ice, including making a late defensive stop on top Czechia forward Eduard Sale,” Neumeier said.

First Star: Scott Ratzlaff – Canada

Ratzlaff closed out an impressive Hlinka performance with a near-perfect outing, surrending just one goal — to Pettersson midway through the first period — before closing the door the rest of the way. The game mirrored his tournament effort where he allowed just two goals in four starts for a 0.50 goals-against average. In all, he stopped 83 of 85 shots for a .976 save percentage.

“Canada received a lot of good performances from its skaters, but Ratzlaff’s consistently steadying performance between the pipes kept Sweden from generating momentum in their favor,” Neumeir said. “He also made some especially tantalizing saves later on in the game to preserve his team’s lead.”


DAY ONE: WHITELAW SHINES ON DAY ONE OF HLINKA GRETZKY CUP
DAY TWO: SALE CONTINUES STRONG PLAY ON DAY TWO AT HLINKA GRETZKY CUP
DAY THREE: THEO LINDSTEIN SHOWS STRONG PLAY ON DAY THREE OF HLINKA
DAY FOUR: HRABAL COMES UP BIG ON DAY FOUR OF HLINKA GRETZKY CUP
SEMIFINAL: NORDH SHINES AS SWEDEN ADVANCES TO FINAL AT HLINKA GRETZKY CUP
FINAL: RATZLAFF STARS AS CANADA TAKES GOLD AT THE HLINKA GRETZKY CUP


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