The Glinka Gretzky Cup final is scheduled as Canada and Sweden prepare to meet on Saturday.
The Canadians beat Finland in the semi-final game, while the Swedes defeated the Czechs. A full report of the day’s events can be found here.
These three players especially stood out for their high stakes:
First Star: G. Scott Ratzlaff, Canada.
The Canadian goalkeeper was a wall for the Canadians in the net and the game in the semi-final against the Finns was his best game so far. Despite conceding his first goal of the tournament with about 20 seconds left in a game in which the Finn was just slotted by the Canadian defense, Ratzlaff was the star player of Canada’s under-18s. In three games at the Glinka Cup, Gretzky Ratzlaff boasts a .983 save percentage, having saved 58 of 59 shots in three games. He hasn’t had a big workload, but so far he’s gotten the job done in every game.
Ratzlaff was solid as a rock, with quick and determined sideways movements and skilful tracking of the puck. The Seattle Thunderbirds goalkeeper isn’t the biggest at just 6ft 1in, but his athleticism helps him stay in the shooters and stretch for that desperate save, as he did several times against Finland. Ratzlaff helped Canada achieve penalty perfection with four opportunities.
The second period was one of his best performances, especially the first Finnish power play with the score 1-0 to the Canadians. Ratzlaff made four powerplay saves, three of which were played right and fast in a row. The Finns were able to get behind the Canadian penalty takers, moving from low to high, and Ratzlaff was ready to take on the challenge. The Canadian network operator showed great results after the integration, holding its ground and sealing the bottom of the mesh while remaining upright while also covering the top half. The Canadians are hoping for at least one more big Ratzlaff performance ahead of the gold medal match.
Second star: D Aksel Sandin-Pelikka, Sweden
Sometimes a simple game brings the best results; so Aksel Sandin-Pelikka influenced this game. The only mistake he made throughout the game was playing on the powerplay when he tried to keep the puck in the zone in the race for it on the blue line, and the Czech team took advantage of this and scored a goal in the shorthand, but the cover from his teammates the team was terrible. play, so it wasn’t all at Sandin-Pelikka. For the rest of the game, especially in the five-on-five game, the young Swedish goalkeeper defended all over the ice, using his four-way mobility and good stick to break the opposition’s pressure.
Offensively, Sandin-Pelikka was confident in possession of the puck, penetrating the offensive zone several times with the puck on his stick in an effort to create an attack. However, it was his simple games that brought the best results. Driving the point, Sandin-Pelikka was on the blue line and had a shot on goal at the end of the first period that hit Zeb Forsfjall, who deflected it just long enough to get the ball past the Czech goalkeeper. His second assist came on a good breakout pass, first supporting his defensive teammate who picked up the lost puck deep in the defensive zone before moving east to west to pass the puck to Sandin-Pelijka. It was then that Sandin-Pelikka saw the loophole and made a pass across the ice into the neutral zone that immediately sent the ice into Noel Nordf’s lane, who buried the puck.
Third star: RW Ethan Gauthier, Canada
On a day when there were no mass demonstrations, a moment or two can change the game. That is why Gauthier gets the third star. His late goal in the first period against the Finns was not only a flashy goal but also gave Canada an early lead in a rather tight game. Gauthier is tied for the lead in goals in the Glinka-Gretzky Cup and his finish on that goal was perfect.
With time running out in the first period, Gauthier raced to the blue offensive line as the Canadian defenders took the puck in their zone. Caden Price passes to Gauthier on the blue line, who enters slowly, looking at the pass and showing it with body position. As soon as the seam in the wall parted, he took it. Gaining speed quickly to beat the Finnish defender and then moving to the net at the bottom of the faceoff circle, Gaultier used his player as another Finnish defender’s choice and cut through his face to the front of the net on his own. backhand
By forcing Finnish goalkeeper Emil Vinny to move from the side, Gauthier covered a left hand to take the lead that Canada has never given up. Gauthier continued to be offensive throughout the game, using his puck power and off-puck reading to pressure the Finns.
It wasn’t a massive performance, but a couple of big moments helped the Canadians reach the final.