WOO SCORES LATE WINNER, SENDS WHITE TO U17 SEMIFINALS
JASON LA ROSE
SAULT STE. MARIE, Ont. – Jett Woo (Winnipeg, Man./Moose Jaw, WHL) broke open a tie game with just 89 seconds remaining, leading Canada White to the semifinals at the 2016 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge with a 3-2 quarter-final win over Canada Red on Thursday afternoon.
White is back in the semifinals for the second year in a row and will face a familiar foe; it will take on Sweden on Friday afternoon (3:30 p.m. ET), after beating the Swedes in the semis last year in Dawson Creek, B.C.
With overtime looming, White worked the puck around to Jared McIsaac (Truro, N.S./Halifax, QMJHL), whose shot hit a body in front and ricocheted to Woo; the Canadian captain quickly got off a backhand that found its way through traffic and past Red goaltender Carl Stankowski (Calgary, Alta./Seattle, WHL).
Akil Thomas (Toronto, Ont./Niagara, OHL) and Elijah Brown (Edmonton, Alta./Seattle, WHL) had the other goals for White, which watched a two-goal lead evaporate in the dying minutes of the second period before the Woo winner saved the day in the third.
Coming off a disappointing 8-2 loss to the Czech Republic to wrap up the preliminary round on Wednesday afternoon, White came out with jump and took an early lead when Thomas snuck a wraparound by Stankowski.
Red carried the play in the first, outshooting White 14-8, but White netminder Olivier Rodrigue (Chicoutimi, Que./Drummondville, QMJHL) made almost half of his 30 saves in the opening 20 minutes.
Brown didn’t waste time doubling the advantage once the puck dropped to start the second period, squeezing a backhand though Stankowski along the ice to make it 2-0 at 2:28.
But Riley Damiani (Mississauga, Ont./Kitchener, OHL) got the comeback started at 14:13, burying the rebound of an Eric Guest (Kilworth, Ont./Kitchener, OHL) shot, and Shawn Element (Victoriaville, Que./Baie-Comeau, QMJHL) roofed a shot past Rodrigue less than four minutes later to tie the game.
Red held a 25-12 advantage in shots on goal through two periods, but the third was an evenly-matched slugfest, with both teams getting their chances and both goaltenders keeping the game tied before the late game-winner.
The loss means Canada Red will play Friday in the fifth-place game, with the time and opponent to be determined.