Canada Defeats USA In Shootout

(above) It was a sea of Canada red on New Year's Eve in Saskatoon

by Chris Stanford

It was perhaps fitting that it went all the way to a shootout as Canada battled back from a two-goal deficit and triumphed 5-4 in an absolute thriller of a game against Team USA in the round-robin of the IIHF World Junior Hockey Championships in Saskatoon Thursday night. Two players with University of Denver connections played well but did not figure in the scoring.

In front of a sea of red jerseys worn by the home-town crowd, Jordan Eberle had a pair for Canada and made good on his shootout attempt, but Canadian turnovers, US shorthanded goals and stellar goaltending were really the story on the night.

Although Team Canada got on the board first, as they have done in every game so far in the tournament, their sloppy powerplay proved to be their own undoing and the USA took advantage of their opportunities.

Stefan Della Rovere got Canada up quickly with his second of the tournament, banging a rebound in the low slot past American goaltender Jack Campbell at the 2:03 mark of the first, but Team USA had a reply for that a minute and a half later.

With Canada's Brayden Schenn in the box for boarding, Philip McRae snapped a loose puck past Jake Allen to even it up with only 3:40 played in what may have been the theme of the game.

The two evenly-matched teams played to a stalemate for some 20-plus minutes until Jordan Schroeder of a short-handed Team USA grabbed a puck as center ice and streaking in alone, went five-hole on Allen to put Canada down one, Canada’s best player on the night,Jordan Eberle, made sure that didn’t last long as he took a Schenn pass and beat Campbell at the 11:15 mark of the frame.

Allen stood on his head to keep Canada in it, causing Team USA’s Chris Kreider to shoot wide on a penalty shot past midway and then burning Kyle Palmieri on a breakaway three minutes after that.

Canada’s troubles continued and Tyler Johnson got the second shorthanded Team USA goal of the night, putting in a rebound off a Jerry D’ Amigo shot with 11 second left in the second to put the USA ahead for the second time in the game.

With another Team Canada powerplay just expired, Danny Kristo’s solo effort on a Canadian neutral-zone turnover put USA up 4-2 with a minute gone in the third, but Team Canada and the drama was not done yet.

With Brandon McMillan moved back onto defense, when his point shot went off Eberle at the halfway mark of the third, the comeback was on. Alex Pietrangelo sent the crowd into ecstasy when he added his own shorthanded goal to tie it up a few minutes later and Team Canada looked to have pulled ahead wirth 2:10 left as Travis Hamonic’s point shot beat Campbell, but it was disallowed with Brayden Schenn having been judged to have interfered with the goalie.

After the four-on-four five-minute overtime proved nothing, other than that the WHL should seriously look at doing that for the excitement alone, it was left to the dramatic goaltender-shooter showdown to decide matters.

The first five shooters, including Eberle, Nazim Kadri and Brandon Kozun for Canada, along with Kristo and Morin for USA all made good on their attempts, so when Allen closed the five-hole on Schroeder, who had to make his, the arena in Saskatoon erupted.

The #2 seed USA will face #3 Finland in the Medal round.


Amy said...

Great game for both teams. Lets hope we get a USA vs Canada rematch.

puck swami said...

Great game of up and down hockey, but very frustrating for Team USA to really outplay Canada for the first 50 minutes, but then to get schooled in the last 10 minutes, the overtime and the shootout.

This loss is psychologically damaging and I can easily see Team USA getting bounced from the medal round in the crossover game against Finland.

vizoroo said...

I'm hoping Team USA now knows they can play at the favorite, Canada's level. And we see them in medal round playing Canada again, but with a different outcome.

Donovan and Zucker have gotten a lot of attention for DU hockey.

TopDog said...

puck swami,

I disagree. This loss will only fuel the fire and they WILL see Canada again in the Finals ! Go USA

Twister said...

It's going to be a major, major disappointment if our guys don't come out and play their tails off and try to beat Finland. I'm sure losing to Canada they way they did was tough, but our guys still have a lot to play for, including a possible rematch in the gold medal game. Getting past Finland and Sweden will be a big challenge, but this team has already proven to be an elite one. Go USA!