Canada, US in New Year's Eve Thriller!
Canada defeated the United States 5 to 4 in a shoot out at the World Junior Hockey Championships in a classic game before a raucous New Year's Eve crowd at Saskatoon.
Both teams have moved through the preliminary round with ease and there was much grumbling about blow outs, so this match up between the undefeated North American sides was eagerly anticipated by junior hockey fans, and it was hoped both would finally be put to the test.
With play at a break-neck pace, Canada opened the scoring at 2:03 of the first period when Stefan Della Rovere scored on a rebound. The speedy American team replied less than 2 minutes later when Philip McRae tied the game on a power play.
The second period was, with out a doubt, Canada's worst of the tournament. Defensive break downs, an endless string of turn overs , and a short circuited power play led to 2 short-handed goals by Jordan Schroeder and Tyler Johnson giving the US a 3 to 2 lead at the end of the second period. As a result of one Canadian give away Chris Krieder was awarded a penalty shot, but he was stopped by Canadian goaltender Jake Allen.
The Americans were full value for their lead. Their quick transitional game, accurate passing, and sheer speed caught the Canadian defence flat-footed many times. Jordon Eberle scored for Canada at 11:05 to keep the game close.
Danny Kristo banged one in 1 minute into the third period for a 4 to 2 US lead, and it looked like Canada would be taking the long route to the gold medal. But with 10 minutes left in the third period Eberle's second goal drew Canada to within one, and momentum switched to the Canadian side. The American defence began to waver under relentless Canadian attack. Alex Pietrangelo, with Canada short handed, wheeled into to the US zone and roofed a shot behind goalie Jack Campbell to tie the game. Canada appeared to score the go ahead goal with 2 minutes left in the game, but it was disallowed because of a crease violation. The irate crowd littered the ice with debris.
The game was tied 4 to 4 at the end of regulation time, and there was no scoring in the five minute overtime period, so a shoot out would decide the game.
Eberle, Nazem Kadri and Brandon Kozun all scored for Canada. The first two American shooters scored, but Canadian goaltender Jake Allen stopped Jordan Schroeder on their third attempt giving Canada the win.
The Americans on this night, for much of the game, were the better team and probably deserved a better fate, but it was the Canadians who, once again, found a way to win.
“It seems like always we find a way to battle back," said Jordon Eberle, who led the Canadian comeback. "We have something on all the other teams and that's the will to win, the Canadian heart. We want to win so bad, and that just wins us games. It happened last year and it definitely happened in this game."
Canadian coach Willie Desjardins told the Canadian Press, "Maybe people will say we didn't play well, but we did, it's just that the U.S. played unreal...”We were lucky tonight.”
With the win Canada gets a bye to the semi-finals and will play the winner of the Russia/Switzerland quarter-final.
Canada 5, United States 4 (Shootout)
1. Canada - Della Rovere (Adam, Caron), 2:03.
2. United States - McRae (D'Amigo) PP, 3:40.
3. United States - Schroeder (Johnson) SH, 7:08
4. Canada - Eberle (Schenn, Scandella) 11:15
5. United States - Johnson, (D'Amigo) SH, 19:49
6. United States - Kristo (Stepan), 1:01
7. Canada - Eberle (Schenn, McMillan), 10:03
8. Canada - Pietrangelo, SH, 15:45
Overtime: No scoring
Canada - Eberle, Goal
United States - Kristo, Goal
Canada - Kadri, Goal
United States - Morin, Goal
Canada - Kozun, Goal
United States - Schroeder, Save
Canada - Jake Allen
USA - Jack Campbell
Most Recommended Comment
Redwater, Alberta, Canada