RECORD-SETTING THIRD PERIOD HELPS WEST TO WJAC GOLD MEDAL GAME
JASON LA ROSE
COBOURG, Ont. – Tyson Jost (Kelowna, B.C./Penticton, BCHL) tied a tournament record with four points in a wild third period, sparking Canada West to a back-and-forth 8-5 win over Canada East on Thursday night in semifinal action at the 2015 World Junior A Challenge.
The victory sends Canada West back to the gold medal game for the first time since 2012; the Canadians will face Russia in Saturday’s final (4 p.m. ET/1 p.m. PT on TSN), in search of their fourth gold medal.
Liam Finlay (Kelowna, B.C./Vernon, BCHL) had a goal and two assists, and Joseph Nardi (Edmonton, Alta./Whitecourt, AJHL) added a goal and a helper, all in the final 20 minutes; the two teams combined for a record-setting nine goals in the period, and Canada West became the fourth team to score six times in a single stanza.
Both teams started quickly; Brandon Biro (Sherwood Park, Alta./Spruce Grove, AJHL) poked in a loose puck on a Canada West power play to open the scoring at 2:48, but Owen Grant (Stittsville, Ont./Carleton Place, CCHL) knocked a rebound past Matthew Murray (St. Albert, Alta./Spruce Grove, AJHL) just 69 seconds later.
Adam Smith (Sharon, Ont./Newmarket, OJHL) jumped on another rebound to give Canada East its first lead at 11:08, but Bobby McMann (Bonnyville, Alta./Bonnyville, AJHL) replied 24 seconds later for West.
That would be it for scoring until the third period, and when it came, it came fast and furious.
Cale Makar (Calgary, Alta./Brooks, AJHL) snuck a change-up past Colton Point (North Bay, Ont./Carleton Place, CCHL) on a West power play at 3:38, and Finlay tapped in another goal with the man advantage at 6:14.
But Brett Murray (Bolton, Ont./Carleton Place, CCHL) scored right off the face-off at 7:23, and Luc Brown (Napanee, Ont./Wellington, OJHL) swept in shot at 11:23 to tie the game once again.
Jost restored the West lead 16 seconds later, shaking off an East defencemen before ripping a slap shot over Point’s glove, only to see Josh Kosack (Oakville, Ont./Oakville, OJHL) bat a rebound past Murray at 14:50.
Nardi finally gave West the lead for good at 16:51, going to the net to redirect a Finlay feed, and Tyler Busch (Lloydminster, Alta./Spruce Grove, AJHL) and Noah Bauld (Halifax, N.S./Lloydminster, AJHL) both hit the empty net in the final minute.
Canada East will be right back on the ice Friday night, returning to Whitby, Ont., where it played its preliminary round games and quarter-final, to face the United States in the bronze medal game (7 p.m. ET).