BRECLAV, Czech Republic -- Cole Perfetti had a game to remember for Canada in its 3-2 win against Sweden in the semifinals of the Hlinka Gretzky Cup on Friday.
A potential top five pick in the 2020 NHL Draft, Perfetti scored two game-tying goals and then three times in the shootout to help Canada reach the final of the U-18 tournament against Russia, which it lost 3-2 on Saturday.
With the teams even after five shooters each, Canada could use only one player for the rest of the shootout (sudden death), and Perfetti scored on his final two of three attempts against Sweden goalie Jesper Wallstedt.
"I have two moves that I always go to, almost every time," said Perfetti, who was the only Canada player to score during the first five rounds. "But after the third breakaway I was kind of just getting a little stuck and I did not know what to do. So I just came down, I tried to make a move and shoot. And it worked."
The 17-year-old had 74 points (37 goals, 37 assists) in 63 games for Saginaw in his first Ontario Hockey League season.
"And the end of practice with my club team, we usually do a shootout," he said. "It's something I've always kind of loved and always kind of watched them on YouTube and stuff like that, new moves and new tricks. It's something I focus on too much, but I feel like it's one of my stronger suits."
Perfetti tied the game 1-1 35 seconds into the second period and 2-2 with 5:42 left in the period. He leads the tournament with 12 points (eight goals, four assists).
"It's been really eye-opening," Perfetti said. "It kind of shows how the world is good at hockey and how good everyone is. It's been a lot of fun. I've learned so much. A lot of life lessons away from the game that I'm [going to] take home, not just about hockey. It's been a life experience and something I'll cherish forever."