The Vancouver Canucks are well represented at the 2018 IIHF World Junior Championship in Buffalo, New York. Four Vancouver draft picks have helped their respective countries reach the elimination stage.
Elias Pettersson, a 6-2, 161-pounder from Sweden was selected fifth overall by the Canucks in this past year’s NHL Entry Draft. The forward amassed four goals and six points in five games during the tournament so far. Pettersson is currently playing with Vaxjo HC of the Swedish Elite League and leads his team in scoring with 11 goals and 35 points in 26 games.
Olli Juolevi of Finland, another fifth overall pick by the Canucks but in 2016, saw his country eliminated yesterday by the Czech Republic. However, the 6-3, 182-pound defenseman scored one goal and earned three points in five games. He has played 69 international games as a defenseman and has produced 43 points. Juolevi will return to competing in the Finnish Elite League with TPS Turku.
Jonah Gadjovich, a 2017 second round pick, made his mark for Team Canada during their 6-0 bout with Slovakia during the group stage. The Whitby, Ontario native scored two goals and earned Player of the Game honors. In five games, the Owen Sound Attack product has tallied three points this season. Over the past four seasons in the OHL, Gadjovich has notched 79 goals.
American Will Lockwood isn’t a stranger to international play. The Canucks 2016 third round pick has appeared in four different international tournaments, including this year’s, and has tallied 30 goals. This year, the University of Michigan forward has appeared in the three games during the group stage.
Playing in the World Junior Championship is promising for Utica fans, as former Comet and Canucks regular Jake Virtanen appeared in the 2015 and 2016 tournaments, winning gold in 2015.
Pettersson and Lockwood will face-off tomorrow afternoon at 4:00 p.m. in the semi-finals as Team USA plays Team Sweden.
Gadjovich and Team Canada play Team Czech Republic tomorrow at 8:00 p.m.
The winners will advance to the gold medal game on January 5.