The Americans faced the favored Canadian squad despite the USA having a 1-0 record over the Canadians in round robin play. Canada came to play to start the game and brought it to the Americans. Canada stormed out to an early 2-0 lead in the first period of play with goals by Thomas Chabot (OTT) and Jeremy Lauzon (BOS). Lauzon’s goal was a great display of hockey sense as he jumped into the play with limited space and wired a hard wrist shot. You can see Lauzon’s pretty goal in the video below.
The Americans would have to find another gear before the Canadians took control of the game entirely. The 1st period came to a close with the Canadians sitting comfortably at 2-0. What happens when a team faces adversity? Who needs to step up? Ask the coaching staff, and they’ll point to the leaders in the room. Someone like USA captain Luke Kunin (MIN), or perhaps Alternate Captain Charlie McAvoy. “Say no more!” Charlie said, or at least I’d like to think he did. Jordan Greenway (MIN) took the puck into the Canadian zone and found McAvoy tearing down the middle uncovered. McAvoy corralled the great pass and lazered a shot over the outstretched arm of Carter Hart (PHI). It was a pretty goal, and the start of a comeback for the ages.
The Americans had the momentum now. Canada was assessed a bench minor penalty for Too Many Men, and it took only 9 seconds into the man advantage for Kieffer Bellows (NYI) to beat Hart to tie the game up at 2. The Canadians had two powerplays to bring the period to a close, but the American penalty killers stood tall with some exemplary play by goaltender Tyler Parsons (CGY). The 2nd came to a conclusion and we had a game, ladies and gentlemen. 2-2 going into the third, USA vs Canada, how could it get any better?
THE THIRD PERIOD WAS WHAT IT ALL BOILED DOWN TO.
Only 0:55 into the first, Bellows who tied it all up was assessed a minor for tripping. The Canadians needed to draw blood on the powerplay after the Americans had leveraged their special teams. Tyson Jost (COL) who has had a fantastic tournament fed a pass to Jake Bean (CAR). Bean found Nicolas Roy (CAR) who beat Parsons to put Canada up 3-2, and the Bell Centre was pumping as the Canadian crowd loved seeing “them boys” back into the lead. The Americans had already trailed by two once this game, so a one goal hole was not too much to worry about with plenty of time remaining in the period. Mathieu Joseph (TB) decided that a one goal lead wasn’t reliable enough for Canada and put the Canadians up 4-2 on a beautiful breakaway move. What did we say about leaders during adversity?
McAvoy forced an offensive zone turnover and found Bellows all alone. McAvoy made a no look backhand pass across to Bellows who slammed the puck past Hart to bring the Americans back within one. Can Don Sweeney just call up BU, make a donation of a couple million and get Charlie up to the Bruins now, please? Look at this filthy assist.
The Americans had life once again, but still trailed by one with roughly 15:00 remaining in the third. Colin White (OTT) displayed some silky hands when he deflected the puck past Hart in tight to draw the Americans even at 4. Regulation wasn’t enough time to solve this contest between these two teams, and the two teams went to a 20:00 overtime period.
THANKFULLY 20:00 IS PLENTY OF TIME TO AVOID A CHAMPIONSHIP DECIDING SHOOTOUT, RIGHT?
Wrong. The teams played one of the most entertaining overtime periods I have seen as a hockey fan with glorious chances going both ways. I’d even give Canada the benefit of the doubt that they were the better team in the extra session. A decisive shootout would be required to decide who goes home happy and who has to wipe tears from their cheeks (Sorry Mathieu Joseph, we all saw it on TV. You guys worked your asses off, so keep your chin up). Unfortunately for the Americans TJ Oshie was ineligible for this shootout, so they turned to the next best thing, American shootout hero Troy Terry. Terry recently won it all for the Americans against Russia, and he was given the patriotic task of dispatching Carter Hard and the Canadians. He did just that.
Parsons and Terry won the game for the Americans in the shootout, and the Americans won gold. In fact, this WJC was the first time ever the Canadians have lost to the same team twice in a tournament.McAvoy was named the USA player of the game and one of the star defensemen of the tournament by the IIHF. Lindgren was under the weather and didn’t play, but he was a huge part of this American team too. Lauzon captured a silver medal and earned more ice time and trust of the Canadian coaching staff as the tournament went on. Zboril and Vladar were pillars of the Czech team that was hurting for offense. All in all, the 2017 WJC was an outstanding performance by Bruins prospects, and we have a lot to be excited about here in Boston for the future.