CRNKOVIC HAT TRICK LEADS BLACK TO FIFTH AT U17 CHALLENGE
JASON LA ROSE
QUISPAMSIS, N.B. – Kyle Crnkovic (Chestermere, Alta./Saskatoon, WHL) finished his hat trick into an empty net, helping Canada Black to a 5-3 win over Canada White in the fifth-place game at the 2018 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge on Friday night.
James Hardie (Innisfil, Ont./Mississauga, OHL) added the game-winning goal with 2:39 to go for Black, which gained a small measure of revenge for its 5-4 overtime loss to White in the opening prelim game for both last Sunday.
Garin Bjorklund (Grande Prairie, Alta./Calgary Buffaloes, AJHL) starred in his second start of the week in the Black goal, finishing with 35 saves to record the victory.
The first period belonged to White, which outshot Black 14-5 and netted a pair of goals.
Cameron Tolnai (Oakville, Ont./Ottawa, OHL) opening the scoring just shy of the seven-minute mark, finishing a behind-the-net feed from Colby Ambrosio (Welland, Ont./Tri-City, USHL), before Cole Perfetti (Whitby, Ont./Saginaw, OHL) doubled the advantage late in the opening frame.
Crnkovic counted twice in less than five minutes in the second period to get Black even; he beat White goaltender Sebastian Cossa (Fort McMurray, Alta./Edmonton, WHL) with a quick shot over the pad at 13:11, and went short-side from a sharp angle at 17:32 to send the teams to the dressing room tied 2-2 after two.
Black took its first lead of the game when Ryan O’Rourke (Pickering, Ont./Sault Ste. Marie, OHL) hammered a one-timer past Cossa just four minutes into the third, but Connor McClennon (Wainwright, Alta./Kootenay, WHL) went bar-down for his tournament-leading eighth goal at 8:31 to tie the game again.
McClennon scored a goal in all five games, and finished with the most goals by a Canadian at the tournament in at least the last eight years.
With another overtime between the Canadian sides looming, Hardie let go a quick shot from the high slot that went post-and-in past the glove of Cossa to put Black ahead for good before Crnkovic iced the win with Cossa on the bench.