Virtanen, Team Canada win bronze at U18 Worlds

Jake Virtanen, an Abbotsford native who plays for the WHL
Jake Virtanen, an Abbotsford native who plays for the WHL's Calgary Hitmen, was Team Canada's leading scorer at the World U18 Championship in Finland.
— image credit: Brad Watson / Calgary Hitmen

Jake Virtanen of Abbotsford helped Team Canada to bronze at the World U18 Hockey Championship in Finland.

The Canadians lost a heartbreaker in the semifinals, rallying from a three-goal deficit vs. the Czech Republic only to lose 4-3 in overtime. They bounced back to beat Sweden 3-1 for bronze on Sunday.

Virtanen, a 6’1”, 210-pound left winger, notched an assist vs. Sweden and finished with a team-high six points (three goals, three assists) in seven games at the U18 tourney. It's the second time he's worn the Maple Leaf in less than a year – he was part of Canada's gold medal-winning team at the U18 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament last summer.

The 17-year-old is coming off a terrific season with the WHL’s Calgary Hitmen, posting a team-leading 45 goals and 26 assists in 71 games with a +23 rating and 100 penalty minutes. He’s one of the top prospects for the upcoming NHL entry draft, and is ranked No. 6 among North American skaters in the Central Scouting rankings.

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