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Hlinka Gretzky Preview: Canada vs. United States

Friday, August 4 | 1 p.m. ET | Trencin, Slovakia | Semifinal

Jonathan Yue
August 4, 2023

Riding the momentum of back-to-back wins to claim top spot in Group B, Canada’s National Men’s Summer Under-18 Team takes on the United States on Friday for a spot in the gold medal game at the 2023 Hlinka Gretzky Cup.

Last Game

Canada is coming off a crucial 5-0 victory over Switzerland on Wednesday to catapult itself into the semifinals. Berkly Catton scored twice and Cole Beaudoin added a goal and an assist, while Ryder Ritchie and Michael Misa tallied a pair of helpers apiece to lead Canada to the victory. Carter George won his second-straight start in the Canadian crease, recording the 12-save shutout.

The U.S. closed its preliminary round Wednesday with an 8-1 win over Germany . Trevor Connelly scored a hat trick and Will Zellers added a pair of goals as the Americans rode a four-goal first period – and 43 shots on goal – to the victory.

Last Meeting

The North American rivals last met in the semifinals of the 2018 Hlinka Gretzky Cup, a thrilling 6-5 overtime victory for Canada . Dylan Cozens tied the game with a buzzer-beater before Josh Williams scored his second of the game 1:44 into the extra frame. Alexis Lafrenière and Xavier Parent finished with a goal and an assist each.

What to Watch

Ever since the Canadian coaching staff shuffled the lines following a tournament-opening loss to Finland, Ryder Ritchie and Michael Misa have been on a tear. With eight points apiece to share the scoring lead with Finland’s Tuomas Suoniemi, the duo have been all over the scoresheet. In the last two games, both Canadian wins, Ritchie has three goals four assists, while Misa has contributed two goals and six helpers.

For the Americans, the offence has come through Connelly, who has three goals and four assists to leave him even with Catton for fourth in tournament scoring. The Tustin, CA native has committed to Providence College for the 2025-26 season, following a season where he scored 47 points (24-23—47) in 57 games with the Tri-City Storm of the USHL.

A Look Back

The neighbours have met 19 times at the Hlinka Gretzky Cup, with Canada holding a 12-4-3 (W-L-T) advantage.

Canada is riding a six-game win streak dating back to 2003, and has outscored the U.S. 29-10, including four shutouts in a row between 2004 and 2013. In the 2014 semifinals, three-point performances from Dylan Strome (3-0—3), Jansen Harkins (1-2—3) and Mitchell Stephens (1-2—3) led Canada to an 11-5 victory en route to a gold medal in Breclav.

All-time record: Canada leads 12-4-3

Canada goals: 78

United States goals: 44

For more information:

Esther Madziya
Manager, Communications
Hockey Canada

(403) 284-6484 

[email protected] 

Spencer Sharkey
Manager, Communications
Hockey Canada

(403) 777-4567

[email protected]

Jeremy Knight
Manager, Corporate Communications
Hockey Canada

(647) 251-9738

[email protected]

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