On Wednesday morning, a Canadian team featuring 17 of the country’s best hockey players aged 15-18 took home a bronze medal following a third place finish over Team Finland at the Youth Olympics from Lausanne, Switzerland.
Running from January 9-22, nearly 1,200 of the world’s greatest youth athletes converged on Switzerland’s fourth-largest city for the hosting of eight international events, including: skiing/snowboarding, debutante sport ski mountaineering, skating, luge, curling, bobsleigh/skeleton, biathlon and hockey.
Manitoba product Denton Mateychuk, Winnipeg ICE forward Matthew Savoie and Brandon Wheat Kings draft pick Nate Danielson highlighted the 17-man Canadian roster consisting of three forward lines, three defensive pairs and two netminders. Danielson and Savoie each put up three points for the Canadians overseas, while Mateychuk had a goal and an assist in the Games.
After losing a tight 2-1 semifinal matchup to North American rival USA on Tuesday, Team Canada fought back rather valiantly Wednesday morning in the Bronze Medal Game at Vaudoise Arena. Jumping out to a 3-0 lead less than 10 minutes into the game’s 15 minute opening period, Canada kept its collective foot on the gas, ultimately Finnishing off its Scandinavian opponent by a count of 4-2.
Danielson scored the second goal for the Canadians, just 2:48 into the game on a rebound, Cedrick Guindon found two goals, while goaltender Vincent Fillion stopped 18 of 20 shots that came his way for the win Wednesday.
Savoie received a two minute minor for boarding and a 10 minute misconduct midway through the first period, bring his penalty minutes total to 28 in the four-game tournament. Despite giving the Finns two power play goals, Canada held on as Guindon potted an empty net marker in the game’s final minute, sealing the deal.
Mateychuk, the lone Manitoban representing Canada, ended the tournament with two points, while skating primarily alongside Ty Nelson on the team’s third defence pairing. This is the third-straight year that Canada has medalled in the Youth Olympics dating back to 2012 (bronze in Austria 2012, silver in Norway 2016).