CANADA FALLS IN SHOOTOUT, WILL PLAY FOR U18 BRONZE
JASON LA ROSE
GRAND FORKS, N.D. – Jordan Kyrou (Toronto, Ont./Sarnia, OHL) tied the game with 5:16 to cap a wild third period, but Canada’s National Men’s Under-18 Team came up one goal short in a 6-5 shootout loss to Sweden in a Saturday semifinal at the 2016 IIHF U18 World Championship.
The loss means the Canadians will meet the United States, which was upset by Finland in the other semifinal, for the bronze medal on Sunday (4 p.m. ET/1 p.m. PT).
Jakob Chychrun (Toronto, Ont./Sarnia, OHL) led the way offensively for the Canadians, scoring once and adding two assists in regulation time, while Brett Howden (Oakbank, Man./Moose Jaw, WHL) had Canada’s lone goal in the shootout.
The Swedes struck first in the shootout, with Lias Andersson beating Canadian goaltender Evan Fitzpatrick (Lower Sackville, N.S./Sherbrooke, QMJHL) after Tyson Jost (Kelowna, B.C./Penticton, BCHL) had missed the net on Canada’s first attempt.
After Will Bitten (Ottawa, Ont./Flint, OHL) and Jesper Bratt both failed to score in Round 2, Howden kept the Canadians alive, only for Linus Lindstrom to beat Fitzpatrick for the winner.
It’s the third year in a row the Canadians have fallen in the semifinals; they rebounded to win the bronze medal in 2014 and 2015.
Canada got the start it wanted in the first period, with Pascal Laberge (Ste-Martine, Que./Victoriaville, QMJHL) pouncing on his own rebound for a 1-0 lead on the power play just 2:20 in.
But Tim Wahlgren tipped in the tying goal at 16:35, and Oskar Steen gave Sweden the lead just 77 seconds into the second period, marking the first time in the tournament Canada had trailed.
David Quenneville (Edmonton, Alta./Medicine Hat, WHL) snuck a shot through Swedish netminder Filip Gustavsson to bring Canada even at 8:11, but Tim Soderlund restored the Swedish advantage just 1:31 later, setting up a busy final 20 minutes.
Andersson put Sweden up by two at 7:50 of the third, but Chychrun knocked in a centering pass from Jost 44 seconds later to make it 4-3.
The assist gave Jost 15 points in the tournament (six goals, nine assists), passing Connor McDavid (14 in 2013) for the most by a Canadian at one U18 world championship.
Elias Pettersson looked to have put the final nail in the Canadian coffin with a goal that needed video review at 12:28, but Bitten and Kyrou scored 1:59 apart to force overtime, and cap a five-goals-in-6:54 stretch.
Canada finished with a massive 59-34 edge in shots on goal.