Canada opened the 2024 World Junior Hockey Championship with a victory on Tuesday in Gothenburg, Sweden, defeating Finland 5-2.
Canada has won twice in the previous tournament.
The Canadian squad includes Saskatoon native Braden Jaeger of the WHL’s Moose Jaw Warriors, Moose Jaw defenseman Denton Matejczuk and Saskatoon Blades center Fraser Minten.
Minten was named Team Canada’s captain before the tournament.
Blades defenseman Tanner Molendyk was originally selected for the team, but injured his wrist in Friday’s pre-tournament game against Switzerland and will not play in the event.
On Tuesday, the Canadians took the lead at 16:24 of the first period on a point shot that was deflected off Nate Danielson’s goal.
Matejczuk assisted on the goal less than a minute after Canadian goalie Matthijs Rousseau made a spectacular glove save to break Finland up 2-0.
Danielsson also contributed to Canada’s second goal, setting up Owen Allard’s goal in front of the Finnish net at 13:41 of the second period.
However, the two-goal lead did not last long as Aleksanteri Kaskimäki targeted the Finnish national team at 15:56 in the center slot.
The Canadians regained their two-point advantage at 6:38 of the third when Maclin Chebrini, the projected No. 1 overall pick in the 2024 NHL Draft, pushed the puck under Finnish netminder Niklas Kokko and across the goal line. .
After Matt Poitras’ empty goal at 17:34 of the third put Canada up 4-1, Finland cut the lead back to two points with Jere Lasila’s goal at 18:56. But Maverick Lamoureux sealed the deal for Canada with another empty-netter at 19:54 of the third.
Yeager and Minten were taken off the scoresheet.
Rousseau made 24 saves in Canada’s goal, and Kokko stopped 26 shots for Finland.
The Canadians play Latvia on Wednesday. Live coverage on 980 CJME and 650 CKOM begins with a pregame show at noon, followed by puck drop at 12:30 p.m.