FRISCO, TX – Kingston Frontenacs star Shane Wright found the back of the net twice as Canada’s National Under-18 Team defeated Russia 5-3 to claim their first gold medal since 2013.
A total of 13 OHL players will return from the Lone Star State with gold medals for their efforts as Canada played to a perfect 7-0 record, outscoring opponents 51-12 in the process.
Russian sniper Matvei Michkov kicked off a back-and-forth opening 20 minutes with his tournament-leading 12th goal. Just over a minute after a denied penalty shot, exceptional talent Connor Bedard (Regina Pats) beat Sergei Ivanov on the backhand to tie things up as Chase Stillman (Sudbury Wolves) picked up a secondary assist. Russia quickly responded with a snipe from Dmitri Buchelnikov before Wright ripped home a wrist shot on the power play to make it 2-2.
A tight-angle snipe from Brennan Othmann (Flint Firebirds) off a feed from Ethan Del Mastro (Mississauga Steelheads) gave Canada their first lead of the game nearly five minutes into the middle frame and Logan Stankoven (Kamloops Blazers) delivered a wrist shot to double their lead near the period’s end as Brandt Clarke (Barrie Colts) and Wright pitched in with assists.
Following a scoreless nine minutes, Vladimir Grudinin brought Russia back within one on the power play. Wright ultimately struck on the empty net with 40 seconds remaining off an impressive pass from Bedard to seal an undefeated tournament for Team Canada. With 14 points to his name, Bedard tied Connor McDavid’s record for points in this tournament by a 15-year-old.
Ben Gaudreau (Sarnia Sting) amassed 31 saves in net for Canada as the shots ended an even 34-34.
Wright finished the tournament tied for second in scoring with fellow exceptional status forward Bedard, racking up 14 points (9-5–14) in just five games, two back of tournament-leader Michkov of Russia who wound up with 16 points. Clarke finished tied for second in scoring by defencemen with seven points (2-5–7) in as many games, being named to the tournament’s media all-star team. Between the pipes, Gaudreau paced all goaltenders with five wins, a 2.20 goals-against average and .919 save percentage over five games to be recognized as the tournament’s top goaltender by the IIHF directorate.
13 OHL PLAYERS WINNING GOLD WITH CANADA AT THE U18 WORLDS:
Ben Gaudreau (Sarnia Sting)
Brandt Clarke (Barrie Colts)
Ethan Del Mastro (Mississauga Steelheads)
Jack Matier (Ottawa 67’s)
Brett Harrison (Oshawa Generals)
Wyatt Johnston (Windsor Spitfires)
Mason McTavish (Peterborough Petes)
Brennan Othmann (Flint Firebirds)
Francesco Pinelli (Kitchener Rangers)
Chase Stillman (Sudbury Wolves)
Ryan Winterton (Hamilton Bulldogs)
Shane Wright (Kingston Frontenacs)
Danny Zhilkin (Guelph Storm)