CANADA FALLS IN SHOOTOUT, CLINCHES FIRST AT U18 WORLDS
IMATRA, Finland – Travis Konecny (Clachan, Ont./Ottawa, OHL) and Mathew Barzal (Coquitlam, B.C./Seattle, WHL) scored goals, but Canada’s National Men’s Under-18 Team dropped a 3-2 shootout decision to Russia in the preliminary round finale for both Tuesday at the 2014 IIHF Ice Hockey U18 World Championship.
Despite the loss, Canada clinched first place in Group A with the single point it earned for reaching overtime, and will face the fourth-place team from Group B in the quarter-finals on Thursday.
The Canadians’ opponent will either by Switzerland or the United States, depending on the result of Tuesday’s final preliminary round game between the Americans and Finland.
Canada had a glorious chance to open the scoring late in the first period when Russian defenceman Daniil Vovchenko was given a checking from behind major and a game misconduct, but it couldn’t convert on the five-minute power play, and the game went to the first intermission scoreless.
Konecny wasted no time in opening the scoring in the second period, beating Russian netminder Maxim Tretiak – the grandson of legendary goaltender Vladislav Tretiak – just 1:49 into the middle frame.
That stood up as the lone goal through two periods, despite the Russians outshooting Canada 17-13 through 40 minutes.
Russia finally solved Mason McDonald (Halifax, N.S./Charlottetown, QMJHL) just 27 seconds into the third period, but Barzal restored the Canadian lead seven minutes later.
Canada looked to be on its way to a perfect preliminary round for the second year in a row, but a late penalty and Tretiak on the bench gave the Russians a six-on-four advantage, and Vladislav Kamenev tied the game with just 35 seconds to go.
A scoreless overtime led to a shootout, with the Russians replacing Tretiak with Alexander Trushkov.
The goaltending switch worked; Trushkov turned away Conner Bleackley (High River, Alta./Red Deer, WHL), Jared McCann (London, Ont./Sault Ste. Marie, OHL) and Jake Virtanen (Abbotsford, B.C./Calgary, WHL), and Kirill Pilipenko’s goal on Russia’s first shot was enough for the win.
Travis Sanheim (Elkhorn, Man./Calgary, WHL) was in on both Canadian goals, picking up two assists.
The Russians finished with a 31-25 advantage in shots on goal.