Veleno captained Team Canada to a 4-1 victory over the Czech Republic in the tournament's gold medal game on Saturday. The Saint John Sea Dogs forward scored what proved to be the game-winning goal early in the second period.
Jared McIsaac, Kevin Bahl and Jack McBain also scored for the Canadians, who suffered just one loss - a shootout defeat to Russia - during the tournament. Olivier Rodrigue made 18 saves in the win.Kanada utökar till 2-0, mål av Joe Veleno. #HlinkaMemorial #J18gifs #CanU18 #CzeU18 pic.twitter.com/msAcfMrSVV— Anton Johansson (@antonj85) August 12, 2017
Veleno, who became the first player to play for Canada twice at the Ivan Hlinka, finished the tournament with two goals and five assists in five games. He had four assists in four games last year.
The strong performance by Veleno will likely help boost his stock for the 2018 NHL Draft and increase his chances of making Canada's world junior team. But there's a lot of time between now and when those events take place.
You also have to think Veleno is a strong candidate to wear the captain's 'C' for Saint John this year. It seems weird given his age, but Veleno will be one of the most experienced players on the Sea Dogs' roster 2017-18 season.
"Obviously I picked up a little bit of a leadership role here," Veleno said after the game. "Hopefully I'll get that chance again in Saint John and be part of that leadership group."
Veleno also thanked the Sea Dogs fans who followed the tournament back home.
"Saint John is a great city. There's no place I'd rather play junior hockey. It's a remarkable and great city and thanks for all their support. Thank you, Saint John."