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Canada and the USA will compete for gold at the 2024 Men’s U-18 World Championship

ESPOO, Fin. – Canada and the United States are set to renew hostilities at the U-18 Men’s World Championship in Finland after winning their respective semi-finals on Saturday.

Puck drop for the championship game will take place just after 11:00 a.m. ET at the Metro Arena in Espoo.

This will be the first time the two teams have competed for the tournament title since the 2013 tournament, with Canada taking home gold. The Americans are hoping to go back-to-back, while Canada will look to keep the momentum going after winning the Hlinka Gretzky Cup in August with many of the same players as in Espoo.

In the early game, the Americans were in control from the start. The first period was close (2-1), but a three-goal second period helped the Americans pull away. They finished with a 7–2 win, with James Hagens breaking the record for most points in a single tournament after scoring his 22nd point. Cole Eiserman also tied Cole Caufield’s USA Hockey National Team Development Program record with his 126th goal, with a chance to break that in Sunday’s final.

In the later match, Canada took revenge on Sweden after the Tre Kronor defeated them in the semi-finals in 2023 in Basel, Switzerland. Canada took a 5-1 lead at one point, but in the second half the Swedes were the much better team. Canada held on for the 5-4 victory, keeping their perfect record alive and sending them to the finals for the first time since 2021.

This is what the schedule looks like for Sunday in Espoo:

Slovakia vs Sweden: 7:00 AM ET
Canada vs USA: 11:00 AM ET


Canada

#9 Gavin McKenna, LW (2026): McKenna now owns Team Canada’s all-time points record with 16 – and he did it in style. Like Connor McDavid in the NHL, McKenna defeated four players before sending the player home in one of his best plays of the tournament. That’s what he does, honey.

#24 Tide Iginla, LW: This was Iginla’s best match, period. He scored it 3-0 and then had one of the best forecheck attempts I have seen at this tournament. His energy and fearlessness really stood out for a team that found themselves outworked towards the end.

#3 Matthew Schaefer, D: (2025): Schaefer had two assists today, including the primary pass to Iginla that made it 3-0. The underage defender looked calm under pressure and made some excellent passes throughout the match, which is what I preferred to see in this tournament. He has honestly been one of the better defenders in the U-18s.

#30 Carter George, G: George was there today and played his best match of the tournament. He couldn’t do much on the two Nordlund goals, but he made some great cross-crease stops and tracked the puck as well as I’ve seen him this year. While Love Harenstam struggled in the Swedish net, George was ultimately perhaps the biggest reason for Canada’s success.

#25 Caleb Desnoyers, C (2025): I thought this was Desnoyers’ best match since the pre-tournament performance against Norway. He made an excellent pass that made it 5-1 and was the real fighter on the top line. His defensive play was also among the best of any forward, moving into dirty areas to make things happen.

#28 Cole Beaudoin, C: I’ll keep this one short, but I thought Beaudoin was excellent again. This tournament was a prime example of what he is capable of beyond putting pucks in the net. He blocks shots, chases guys down and uses his seed to generate chances with Malcolm Spence and Carson Wetsch. I love it.

Sweden

#17 Viggo Nordlund, RW (2025): Nordlund tried to single-handedly carry the Swedes on his back, scoring two goals and registering an assist to give the team some life. It also proved difficult to take the puck away from him while in the offensive zone, using the sheer strength of his upper body to win virtually every battle. With Alex Zetterberg out of the lineup again, Nordlund stood up big.

#24 Linus Eriksson, C: Eriksson had a pair of assists on Nordlund’s goals as he brought out his mix of speed and tenacity. He was the two-way brain for the line that generated all the chances for Sweden and I thought Canada’s defenders had a hard time getting him out of his game.

#12 Melvin Fernstrom, RW: Fernstrom didn’t get a point, but I thought he worked his ass off. He had a few nice opportunities from close range, which showed how well his hands can move, but he also backchecked like crazy.


USA

#10 James Hagens, C (2025): I’m not sure I’ve seen Hagens work or skate as hard as he did today. It was clear that the win was important to him, but whether he wanted to admit it or not, he wanted to overtake Nikita Kucherov for the all-time highest score in the tournament. Mission accomplished thanks to his three-point night. He skated so hard, moved so well and generated a high-quality shot almost every time he hit the ice. Hagens was special.

#26 Max Plante, RW: Plante felt it tonight and recorded four points. He made it 2-0 for Cole Eiserman before scoring his first of the tournament to make it 3-1 in the second. A pair of assists in the second earned him a career-best effort. I wanted to see more of Plante’s shot because there have been positive steps forward in recent months, but it’s still a weak spot for him. His appearance today was his first of the tournament, ending a streak of finishing goalless at a major international tournament dating back to the 2022 U-17 World Hockey Challenge.

#34 Cole Eiserman, LW: After a few goalless games, Eiserman seemed determined to chase Cole Caufield’s USNTDP scoring record today. He tied the record with two goals, including the 2-0 power play goal and again to make it 6-1 just 33 seconds into the third. He also had some big hits in what felt like his most energetic game of the tournament. It was one of the better live viewings of him I’ve had this year.

Slovakia

#22 Adam Nemec, LW (2026): Nemec scored the 2-1 to give the Slovaks some life, but he also just played an overall good game. He almost scored a second goal in the middle stanza and scored a few good strikes as well. Simon Nemec’s brother Adam is a tail-around-the-net fighter, so it was good to see him rewarded today.

#8 Michal Liscinsky, RW: The 6-foot-1 spark plug was involved in a lot today, including forcing some turnovers across the net. Liscinsky isn’t an overly skilled player and clearly doesn’t have the size, but he isn’t worried about bigger, stronger competition. He is competitive and today he has earned the distinction of top player for that.


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