Russia claims 2019 Hlinka Gretzky Cup title with win over Canada

Quinton Byfield, the OHL’s rookie of the year, skates during an intersquad game at Hockey Canada’s men’s under-18 hockey camp in Calgary, Alta., Monday, July 29, 2019. Gifted hands on a six-foot-five, 214-pound frame at age 16 - he turns 17 on Aug. 19 - powered by a high-revving engine, Byfield will be a sought-after prospect by NHL teams. (Jeff McIntosh/CP)

BRECLAV, Czech Republic — Alexandr Pashin’s second goal of the game proved to be the winner and Yaroslav Askarov made 35 saves as Russia defeated Canada 3-2 on Saturday in the final of the 2019 Hlinka Gretzky Cup under-18 hockey tournament.

Vasili Ponomaryov also scored and added an assist for Russia, which hadn’t won the tournament since 1995.

Quinton Byfield, on a power play, and Jean-Luc Foudy scored for Canada, which had won the last two Hlinka Gretzky Cup titles and 10 of the last 11.

Canada defeated Sweden 3-2 in a shootout to advance to Saturday’s final. Sweden downed Finland 5-1 in the bornze-medal game.

"We played some tough opponents in the medal round and really had to dig deep," Canada captain Jamie Drysdale said. "The semifinal was obviously a big test for us, but we came out today and gave everything we had in the final game. Unfortunately it just did not go our way."

Canada outshot Russia 37-13 but was frustrated time and again by Askarov.

Dylan Garland made 10 saves for the Canadians.

"(Russia) was able to convert their opportunities and we were not, and I think that was the difference," Canada head coach Michael Dyck said.

The event is not sanctioned by the International Ice Hockey Federation, which holds its own U18 championship in April. The sanctioned tournament conflicts with the Canadian Hockey League playoffs, so the Hlinka Gretzky Cup has traditionally served as a more reliable measuring stick to gauge how Canada’s up-and-coming talent stacks up internationally.

Canada has won the tournament 22 times.

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