Canada cruises past Czechs to win gold at Ivan Hlinka tournament

Joseph Veleno. (David Connell/Saint John Sea Dogs)

BRECLAV, Czech Republic — Jack McBain had a goal and two assists as Canada beat the Czech Republic 4-1 in the final of the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Cup under-18 hockey tournament.

Joe Veleno scored the winner early in the second period, while Jared McIsaac and Kevin Bahl had the other Canadian goals.

Noah Dobson and Akil Thomas each added two assists.

Dominik Arnost had the only goal for the co-host Czechs, who were the defending Ivan Hlinka champions.

Olivier Rodrigue had a relatively quiet night in the Canadian goal, stopping 12 of 13 shots he faced.

Lukas Dostal made 32 saves for the Czechs.

Canada has now won 21 Ivan Hlinka gold medals since the elite summer U18 tournament was founded in 1991, including nine of the last 10 titles.

"It’s exciting. There are a lot of great teams and a lot of great countries, and to come out on top is pretty special," said head coach Brent Kisio. "The place was rocking; it was a great atmosphere, and it was a lot of fun.

"We (told the players) to enjoy it; it’s a pretty special experience playing over here, with these fans (who were) awesome. A lot of credit goes to (the fans) for the atmosphere of the game tonight."

The tournament is not sanctioned by the International Ice Hockey Federation, which has its own U18 championship. But the IIHF’s championship conflicts with the CHL major junior playoffs, so the Ivan Hlinka traditionally represents Canada’s chance to field its best U18 team in international play.