STANKOWSKI STARS AS CANADA RED TOPS AMERICANS
JASON LA ROSE
SAULT STE. MARIE, Ont. – Carl Stankowski (Calgary, Alta./Seattle, WHL) stole the show Thursday night, making 32 saves to lead Canada Red to a 3-1 win over the United States in pre-World Under-17 Hockey Challenge action.
The Canadians managed just 13 shots on goal, and only one in the third period, but got enough offence to support their goaltender and pick up the lone victory by a Canadian team in exhibition play.
Shawn Element (Victoriaville, Que./Baie-Comeau, QMJHL), Connor Roberts (Owen Sound, Ont./Hamilton, OHL) and Riley Stotts (Winnipeg, Man./Swift Current, WHL) did the offensive damage for Canada Red, scoring in a 15-minute span of the second period.
The U.S. carried the play in a scoreless first, holding a 10-4 advantage in shots on goal, but Stankowski turned them all away, including a sprawling breakaway stop, to keep the game without a goal after 20 minutes.
Element needed only 1:16 of the second to open the scoring, streaking down the left wing before snapping a shot over the glove of American goaltender Ryan Ullan, but Jonathan Gruden danced around a Canadian defender and beat Stankowski to tie the game just 66 seconds after that.
Roberts crashed the net to score the game-winning goal just shy of the seven-minute mark, poking the puck past Ullan after a Ryan Merkley (Mississauga, Ont./Guelph, OHL) shot had snuck through the U.S. netminder.
Stotts capped the scoring and provided a little insurance late in the middle frame, finishing off a perfect give-and-go with Cameron Hillis (Oshawa, Ont./St. Andrew’s College, CAHS) to make it a two-goal lead after two periods.
The American offence peppered Stankowski in the third, racking up 13 shots on goal, but the keeper kept his cool and kept the Canadians ahead, punctuating his performance with a swinging paddle stop in the dying minutes.
Canada Red will be back on the ice for the tournament opener Sunday afternoon, taking on Finland (12 p.m. ET), before the Americans get preliminary-round play underway against the Czech Republic (7:30 p.m. ET).