AMERICANS WORK OVERTIME TO BEAT CZECHS IN U17 OPENER
JASON LA ROSE
SAULT STE. MARIE, Ont. – Joel Farabee converted a breakaway just 29 seconds into overtime, giving the United States a come-from-behind 3-2 win over the Czech Republic on Sunday night to wrap up the first day of competition at the 2016 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge.
The Americans trailed 2-0 with 15 minutes to go before striking twice to force the extra period.
Very early in the three-on-three OT, Farabee took a stretch pass from Ty Emberson and tucked his shot underneath Czech goaltender Lukas Dostal to give the Americans their 17th straight preliminary-round win.
Medallists at nine consecutive U17 tournaments before last year’s sixth-place finish, the Americans came out flat against the underdog Czechs, recording just a single shot on goal in the first period.
Jakub Lauko gave the European side the lead less than three minutes in, taking advantage of a turnover in the neutral zone before hammering a slap shot over the glove of U.S. goaltender Keegan Karki.
The Americans picked up the offence in the second period, outshooting the Czechs 16-8, but Dostal kept them at bay, and Tomas Dajcar doubled the lead midway through the middle frame, jumping into a two-on-one with Tomas Koblizek and tucking a backhand around Karki.
But the momentum continued to shift into the third period, with the Czechs throwing themselves at shot after shot in an attempt to hold on to their two-goal lead.
Bode Wilde finally broke through for the U.S., guiding a shot through traffic and past Dostal at 4:57, and Patrick Giles jammed in the rebound of a Jacob Semik shot with 4:38 left to tie the game and force overtime.
The U.S. improved to 7-1 all-time against the Czechs in U17 play, and has won five in a row; the lone win for the Czechs was a 2-1 semifinal victory at the 1998 tournament in Kitchener, Ont.
Preliminary-round play continues Monday for both teams; the Czechs are right back to action in the first game of the day, taking on Canada Black (12 p.m. ET), while the Americans meet Canada White in a battle of Day 1 winners (4 p.m. ET).