USA UPSETS PACIFIC IN SEMIFINAL
By Keith Borkowsky
REGINA — The United States is off to the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge gold medal game after handing favoured Pacific an 8-4 semifinal loss Tuesday in Regina.
Pacific ended its streak of four consecutive World Under-17 Hockey Challenge gold medal appearances with its first loss at the 2006 tournament.
USA coach Ron Rolston’s squad went from barely making the medal round to being in the gold medal game, which he said was a credit to the character of his hockey club.
“We didn’t expect … how the game unfolded. We played Pacific in an exhibition game and they won it,” Rolston said. “They are a terrific hockey club with a lot of skill and speed. Tonight we just got some fortunate bounces.”
Colton Grant shot a knuckleball at USA goalie Brad Phillips from a bad angle, and gave Pacific a 1-0 lead.
But the Americans responded with five-straight goals to take a commanding four-goal lead.
Pacific tried to rally the troops during a timeout, but it only seemed to help the Americans. Colin Wilson added his second of the night at seven minutes into the second frame, giving them a 5-1 advantage.
It seemed Pacific may start a comeback when Dana Tyrell hammered home a rebound at the 12:43 mark, but those hopes quickly evaporated. A 90-foot shot from Ryan Hayes beat Sexsmith stick side, giving the Americans a coffin-nailing 6-2 lead.
Pacific coach Craig Bedard said he thought a comeback was still possible after Tyrell’s goal, but noted the Hayes counter was a killer.
Tyler Ennis and Nick Ross tried to claw away at the American lead, but it was too late to stop the flooding.
Americans James van Riemsdyk scored twice and added an assist. Justin Vaive added three assists. Matt Rust, C.J. Severyn and Cade Fairchild also added goals.
Bedard said Pacific must play with “Canadian pride” when it comes to the bronze medal showdown against the Czech Republic in Regina at 3 p.m. Ross agreed with his coach, saying while they came to play for gold, a bronze medal will have to do.
The USA will play Quebec in the gold medal game in Regina at 7:30 p.m.
|Game Information/Renseignements sur le match|
|Game #/No. de match||25||Round/Ronde||Semi-Final|
|Arena/Aréna||Brandt Centre||Location/Lieu||Regina, Sask., Canada|
|Date||Tues. Jan. 3, 2006||Time/Heure||19:30|
|Goals & Penalties/Buts et pénalités|
|First Period/Première période|
|Second Period/Deuxieme Période|
|Third Period/Troisième Période|
|Shots on Goal/Tirs au but||1||2||3||Total|
|Players of the Game/Joueur(se) du match|
|PAC||18 Tyler Ennis|
|USA||66 Justin Vaive|
|Lines People/Juges de lignes||Derek Fox, Darryl Wolfe|