GROPP SCORES WINNER LATE, CANADA BEATS GERMANY
JASON LA ROSE
IMATRA, Finland – Ryan Gropp (Kamloops, B.C./Seattle, WHL) broke a 2-2 tie with 5:36 to go, propelling Canada’s National Men’s Under-18 Team to a 5-2 win over Germany on Saturday at the 2014 IIHF Ice Hockey U18 World Championship.
The win keeps Canada atop Group A with an unblemished 2-0 record, and improves its all-time record against Germany at the world championship to a perfect 8-0.
Daniel Audette (Blainville, Que./Sherbrooke, QMJHL), Conner Bleackley (High River, Alta./Red Deer, WHL), Travis Konecny (Clachan, Ont./Ottawa, OHL) and Jared McCann (London, Ont./Sault Ste. Marie, OHL) had the other Canadian goals.
Jake Virtanen (Abbotsford, B.C./Calgary, WHL) was the lone Canadian skater to record multiple points, picking up two assists.
Canada doubled up the Germans in shots on goal in the first period, holding a 14-7 advantage, but led only 1-0 on Audette’s goal at 6:37.
Germany tied the game 13:09 into the second period, off the stick of captain Andreas Eder, but Bleackley restored the Canadian advantage just 80 seconds later.
Maximilian Kammerer brought the Germans even once again 3:20 after Bleackley’s goal, capping a busy final seven minutes of the middle frame and sending the two teams to the second intermission tied 2-2.
The third period was all Canada, which outshot the Germans 20-5 in the final 20 minutes but couldn’t beat goaltender Daniel Fiessinger until Gropp converted a feed from Virtanen just past the 14-minute mark.
Konecny added insurance less than two minutes later, and McCann provided the final margin of victory, scoring with 35 seconds left.
Julia Billia (St-Léonard, Que./Chicoutimi, QMJHL) earned the win in his first start in the Canadian goal, making 21 saves.
Canada is right back to action Sunday in Imatra, taking on Slovakia (9 a.m. ET/6 a.m. PT).