CANADA BEATS U.S. IN NEW YEAR’S EVE THRILLER TO CLINCH FIRST IN GROUP
MONTREAL, Que. – Sam Reinhart (West Vancouver, B.C./Kootenay, WHL) scored a goal and added two assists to take over the tournament scoring lead, and Canada’s National Junior Team beat the United States 5-3 on Wednesday afternoon to finish atop Group A at the 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship.
The Canadians will face Denmark in Friday’s last quarter-final (8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT) at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Ont.
Max Domi (Toronto, Ont./London, OHL) found the back of the net twice, while Curtis Lazar (Vernon, B.C./Ottawa, NHL) and Josh Morrissey (Calgary, Alta./Kelowna, WHL) contributed a goal apiece.
Canadian goaltender Eric Comrie (Edmonton, Alta./Tri-City, WHL) made 25 saves to record the win, outdueling his American counterpart, Thatcher Demko, who took the loss despite 38 saves.
The Canadians outshot the U.S. 43-28 overall.
After the North Americans rivals combined for 30 shots in a busy, but scoreless, first period (Canada held a 17-13 advantage), Domi opened the scoring at 7:07 of the second when Reinhart picked up a Domi rebound and fed it back to the Phoenix Coyotes prospect.
Just over three minutes later, Nic Petan (Delta, B.C./Portland, WHL) found Morrissey for a one-timer that beat Demko beneath the glove on a Canadian power play, pushing the lead to 2-0.
But the Americans got one back on a power play of their own, off the stick of Anthony DeAngelo, to make it a 2-1 game in favour of Team Canada after 40 minutes.
Lazar gave Canada some insurance midway through the third, crashing the net and knocking in the rebound of a Connor McDavid (Newmarket, Ont./Erie, OHL) shot, but Dylan Larkin scored with less than three minutes to go to cut the lead to one again.
Reinhart intercepted a pass from DeAngelo and found the empty net with 54 seconds left for a 4-2 lead, but Larkin answered 12 seconds later with his second of the period, setting up a wild finish.
The U.S. buzzed around the Canadian net with Demko on the bench for an extra attacker, but Reinhart picked off a pass and sprung Domi, who slid the clinching goal, his second of the game, into the empty net.
Neither team had many chances on the power play, but both converted with the man advantage; Canada had a goal in two chances, while the Americans finished one-for-three.