MACEACHERN GETS LATE WINNER, EAST EDGES SWISS FOR FIRST WIN
JASON LA ROSE
TRURO, N.S. – Connor MacEachern tipped in the game-winning goal with 6:56 to go, and Canada East held off a third-period comeback attempt to earn its first win at the 2017 World Junior A Challenge, 4-3 over Switzerland on Monday night.
The Canadians led 3-1 entering the final frame before two Swiss goals in 59 seconds evened the score and set up the MacEachern winner – he parked himself to the left of goaltender Akira Schmid and got his stick on a shot from Tim Theocharidis, restoring the eastern advantage for good.
The line of MacEachern, Derek Dicaire and Colton Kalezic was the difference for Canada East; it scored all three even-strength goals and combined for seven points – MacEachern and Dicaire had a goal and an assist each, while Kalezic finished with a goal and two helpers.
Dicaire started the scoring less than five minutes in, squeezing a backhand under Schmid off the right wing, but Mathieu Vouillamoz knocked in a rebound less than three minutes later to equalize for the Swiss.
Jack McBain restored the Canadian lead late in the first period, one-timing in a cross-crease feed from Nick Campoli with East enjoying a two-man advantage.
Kalezic made it a two-goal game with just over three minutes to go in the second, jamming a Dicaire rebound under Schmid and sending East to the dressing room up 3-1.
The Swiss comeback started at 6:05 of the final stanza when Julian Mettler jumped on a turnover in the Canadian zone and beat netminder Jett Alexander with an unassisted effort, and Jeremi Gerber buried a rebound on the power play at 7:04 to tie the game.
The MacEachern winner helped East avoid just its second point-less preliminary round in tournament history, and first since 2013.
It will wait for the result of the Russia-Switzerland game on Tuesday afternoon to find out who and when it will play next; a Russian win or overtime result sends East to the quarter-finals, while a Swiss win in regulation would create a three-way tie atop Group A.