Who says Canada’s National Junior Team can’t handle adversity?
Down by three goals midway through the first period, the Canadians dug deep and rallied to beat the United States 7-4 in the final preliminary round game at the 2009 IIHF World Junior Championship on Wednesday night.
“This just shows how much character this team has,” said defenceman P.K. Subban.
Canada’s fourth straight victory moved them directly into the semifinals on Saturday against the winner of the quarter-final between Russia and the Czech Republic.
The Americans will play Slovakia in the quarter-finals on Friday, with the winner playing Sweden in Saturday’s semifinals.
The highly-anticipated match had something for everyone – goals, hard hits, brilliant saves and tons of emotion.
John Tavares, with a hat trick, led one of the most memorable rallies by a Canadian team ever at the World Juniors. His third goal into an empty net in the last minute of regulation time was his 12th for Canada at the tournament, tying him with Eric Lindros and Jeff Carter for the most goals ever by a Canadian.
“I just want to play well,” said Tavares. “We learned a lot about ourselves and what we can do.”
The Canadians found themselves in a deep hole shortly after the 12-minute mark of the first period, trailing 3-0 on goals by Kevin Shattenkirk, Jimmy Hayes and Jim O’Brien.
But two goals from Tavares and one from Jordan Eberle had the Canadians even by the end of the period, and had a WJC-record crowd of 20,203 rocking during the intermission and early in the second period.
During a timeout after the third American goal, Tavares tried to calm his teammates down.
“I just said we should play our game,” he said. “I thought our emotions were getting the better of us. I said to the guys to relax and it was nice to get those back-to-back (goals) to get us back in.”
Zach Boychuk put the Canadians ahead for the first time just 37 seconds into the second period, only to see American captain Jonathon Blum draw the U.S. even just three minutes later.
Canada’s vaunted power play, which is operating at a ridiculous 60% success rate through four games (18-for-30), connected for its fourth of the contest, and the eventual game-winner, when Cody Hodgson got a shot from the face-off circle past American goaltender Thomas McCollum.
Both teams traded chances in the final period before Tavares and Tyler Ennis both scored into an empty net to provide the final margin of victory for the Canadians.
Canadian goaltender Tokarski shook off a shaky start and made a couple of brilliant saves to help his team earn the all-important bye into the semis.
Tokarski made perhaps the best save of the entire tournament late in the second period to send Canada to the dressing room up 5-4.
A breakdown in the Canadian end left Colin Wilson alone in front and the American forward deked Tokarski and went to his backhand, but Tokarski wasn’t fooled by the move and snagged the puck with his trapper, leaving Wilson on his knees in disbelief.
“You’re supposed to make those saves,” said Tokarski. “The guys bailed me out and I did my job.”
The win moved Canada to 27-5-3 all-time against the United States at the IIHF World Junior Championship. The Canadians have won the last five meetings.
03:49 – 🇺🇸 GOAL – Shattenkirk
04:15 – 🇨🇦 PEN – DiDomenico, hooking
05:51 – 🇨🇦 PEN – Goloubef, hooking
06:18 – 🇨🇦 PEN – Myers, roughing
07:15 – 🇺🇸 PP2 GOAL – Hayes (Palushaj, Tangradi)
12:35 – 🇺🇸 GOAL – O’Brien (Shattenkirk, Bowman)
12:43 – 🇺🇸 PEN – Rust, hooking
14:36 – 🇺🇸 PEN – Kessel, delay of game
14:55 – 🇨🇦 PP GOAL – Tavares (Hodgson, Subban)
15:43 – 🇨🇦 GOAL – Tavares
16:40 – 🇺🇸 PEN – team, too many players
18:10 – 🇨🇦 PP GOAL – Eberle (Hodgson, Subban)
18:43 – 🇨🇦 PEN – Della Rovere, checking from behind minor + 10 min. misconduct
19:17 – 🇺🇸 PEN – van Riemsdyk, slashing
20:37 – 🇨🇦 PP GOAL – Boychuk (Hickey, DiDomenico)
22:27 – 🇨🇦 PEN – Hickey, cross checking
23:40 – 🇺🇸 PP GOAL – Blum (Schroeder, Fairchild)
25:54 – 🇺🇸 PEN – Hoeffel, checking to the head minor + 10 min. misconduct
26:56 – 🇨🇦 PP GOAL – Hodgson (Ellis, Subban)
29:34 – 🇺🇸 PEN – Fairchild, slashing
48:39 – 🇺🇸 PEN – Palushaj, interference
59:13 – 🇨🇦 EN GOAL – Tavares (Esposito)
59:50 – 🇨🇦 EN GOAL – Ennis (Kane)
W: 🇨🇦 Tokarski (23-27)
L: 🇺🇸 McCollum (22-27)
SHOTS ON GOAL
🇨🇦 9+10+10 = 29
🇺🇸 9+9+9 = 27
🇨🇦 Goaltenders: Chet Pickard, Dustin Tokarski. Defence: Keith Aulie, Ryan Ellis, Cody Goloubef, Thomas Hickey, Tyler Myers, Alex Pietrangelo, P.K. Subban, Colten Teubert. Forwards: Jamie Benn, Zach Boychuk, Patrice Cormier, Stefan Della Rovere, Chris DiDomenico, Jordan Eberle, Tyler Ennis, Angelo Esposito, Cody Hodgson, Evander Kane, Brett Sonne, John Tavares.
🇺🇸 Goaltenders: Thomas McCollum, Josh Unice. Defence: Jonathon Blum, Ian Cole, Cade Fairchild, Blake Kessel, Ryan McDonagh, Teddy Ruth, Kevin Shattenkirk. Forwards: Drayson Bowman, Jimmy Hayes, Mike Hoeffel, Tyler Johnson, Danny Kristo, Jim O’Brien, Aaron Palushaj, Matt Rust, Jordan Schroeder, Eric Tangradi, James van Riemsdyk, Mitch Wahl, Colin Wilson.
|🇨🇦 CANADA (C)||vs.||UNITED STATES 🇺🇸|
(since 05 Jan 2008)
|Last Title||29 Dec 2004|
(+ 1 tie)
|First IHLC Meeting (CAN vs. USA)
🇨🇦 CAN 5-2 USA 🇺🇸 – 29 Dec 1985 – WJC – Hamilton 🇨🇦
|Previous IHLC Meeting (CAN vs. USA)
🇨🇦 CAN 2-1 USA 🇺🇸 (SO) – 03 Jan 2007 – WJC – Leksand 🇸🇪
|Last IHLC Game
🇨🇦 CAN 5-1 GER 🇩🇪 – 29 Dec 2008 – WJC – Ottawa 🇨🇦
|Next IHLC Game
🇨🇦 CAN 6-5 RUS 🇷🇺 (SO) – 03 Jan 2009 – WJC – Ottawa 🇨🇦
Article Credit: Hockey Canada