Sault Ste. Marie, Ont.
CANADA BLACK WINS SHOOTOUT THRILLER TO ADVANCE TO U17 FINAL
JASON LA ROSE
SAULT STE. MARIE, Ont. – Jacob Ingham (Barrie, Ont./Mississauga, OHL) stopped three of the five Russian shooters he faced, his teammates scored on their first three attempts, and Canada Black moved into the gold medal game at the 2016 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge after a 2-1 semifinal shootout win on Friday.
The Canadians will face Sweden on Saturday night (7:30 p.m. ET) in search of their first U17 gold.
Black had to twice erase one-goal deficits, including one entering the third period, just to reach overtime, and took over in the shootout when Nolan Foote (Kelowna, B.C./Kelowna, WHL), Allan McShane (Barrie, Ont./Erie, OHL) and Luka Burzan (Surrey, B.C./Moose Jaw, WHL) made good on their attempts.
Russia was first to the scoreboard five-and-a-half minutes in when Andrey Svechnikov wired a wrist shot by Ingham right off the face-off, but it took just 34 seconds for the Canadians to respond, when Chase Wouters (Lloydminster, Alta./Saskatoon, WHL) knocked his own rebound by netminder Amir Miftakhov to tie the game.
Svechnikov struck again at the 7:31 mark of the second period; Grigorii Denisenko blindly threw the puck from the blue-line towards the Canadian goal, where Svechnikov deftly redirected it out of mid-air and past Ingham for his second of the game and a 2-1 Russian lead.
That lead would hold only until the opening minutes of the third. Declan Chisholm (Bowmanville, Ont./Peterborough, OHL) did the work, stick-handling his way down the left wing dishing across the ice to Adam McMaster (Beamsville, Ont./North Bay, OHL), who had a wide-open net to bring Black even for the second time and eventually force overtime.
The game included plenty of shots on goal – Canada Black had a 42-39 advantage through regulation and overtime – but few goals, a testament to the work of Ingham and Miftakhov.
But the Russians made a curious decision to open the shootout, replacing Miftakhov with Daniil Isaev. That experiment lasted only two shooters, with both Foote and McShane going five-hole.
Svechnikov got one back for the Russians before Burzan answered back, burying the first chance against Miftakhov, only for Maksim Denezhkin to beat Ingham with a silky deke to finish Round 3.
With his team up a goal, Ingham stopped Denisenko on the Russians’ fourth shot before denying Maksim Shabanov on their final attempt, clinching the victory.
The loss sends Russia to the bronze medal game; it will face Canada White on Saturday afternoon (3:30 p.m. MT), looking to keep alive its streak of medalling at five-consecutive U17 tournaments.