In one of hockey’s greatest rivalries and a battle of the elements, Canada’s National Junior Team suffered their first loss at the 2018 IIHF World Junior Championship Friday, falling 4-3 in a shootout to the United States Friday.
Kelowna Rockets forward Dillon Dube (Calgary Flames) scored Canada’s second goal and Regina Pats captain Sam Steel (Anaheim Ducks) added an assist, but it didn’t deter the host American squad, who scored twice in the third period as part of their comeback.
Everett Silvertips goaltender Carter Hart was named the Player of the Game for Canada, finishing with 32 saves through 65 minutes of action.
Canada was buzzing to begin the game. Robert Thomas fed Cale Makar up top and the defenceman’s shot found its way through for the game’s first goal. On the power play 11 minutes later, Canada struck again thanks to Dube, who took a pass from Steel near the face-off dot to the left of American goaltender Jake Oettinger. After taking a second to adjust the puck on his stick in the snowy conditions, Dube sniped it past Oettinger to double Canada’s lead.
The team’s traded goals in the second period. Portland Winterhawks forward Kieffer Bellows (New York Islanders) got the United States on the board after blasting a shot on the power play past Hart. Just 72 seconds later though, Boris Katchouk restored the two-goal lead for Canada, keeping them in control heading to the third. Calgary Hitmen defenceman Jake Bean (Carolina Hurricanes) put the shot on net that led to Katchouk’s goal.
The Americans would score twice in the final period though, sending things to overtime. After the fourth period solved nothing, the game went to a shootout, where Bellows wound up with the shootout winner.
Canada scored twice on the power play while the Americans scored on two of six power play opportunities. Despite the loss, Canada is still in a prime position to capture first place in Group A at the tournament.
With a regulation victory Saturday, December 30 (6:00 p.m. MST) against Denmark, they’ll take hold of the top spot.
The only other game on the schedule Friday at the tournament saw Russia top Belarus 5-2 to improve to 2-0-0-1 at the tournament.
WHL Roundup at the 2018 IIHF World Junior Championship
F Igor Martynov, Victoria Royals: 3GP – 0-1-1 – 1 SOG
F Vladislav Mikhalchuk, Prince George Cougars: 3GP – 0-1-1 – 1 SOG
D Vladislav Yeryomenko, Calgary Hitmen: 3GP – 0-0-0 – 4 SOG
D Jake Bean, Calgary Hitmen: 3GP – 0-1-1 – 7 SOG
D Kale Clague, Brandon Wheat Kings: 2GP – 0-0-0 – 5 SOG
F Dillon Dube, Kelowna Rockets: 3GP – 1-1-2 – 11 SOG
D Cal Foote, Kelowna Rockets: 3GP – 0-0-0 – 0 SOG
G Carter Hart, Everett Silvertips: 3GP – 2.88 GAA, .910 SV%, 61/67
F Brett Howden, Moose Jaw Warriors: 3GP – 0-0-0 – 6 SOG
F Sam Steel, Regina Pats: 3GP – 2-2-4 – 7 SOG
F Tyler Steenbergen, Swift Current Broncos: 3GP – 0-0-0 – 2 SOG
D Vojtech Budik, Prince Albert Raiders: 2GP – 0-0-0 – 0 SOG
D Libor Hajek, Saskatoon Blades: 2GP – 0-2-2 – 4 SOG
D Filip Kral, Spokane Chiefs: 2GP – 1-0-1 – 2 SOG
F Kristian Reichel, Red Deer Rebels: 2GP – 0-0-0 – 2 SOG
D Ondrej Vala, Kamloops Blazers: 2GP – 0-0-0 – 3 SOG
F Joachim Blichfeld, Portland Winterhawks: 2GP – 0-0-0 – 4 SOG
F Aleksi Heponiemi, Swift Current Broncos: 2GP – 1-0-1 – 2 SOG
D Henri Jokiharju, Portland Winterhawks: 2GP – 2-1-3 – 9 SOG
D Juuso Valimaki, Tri-City Americans: 2GP – 1-2-3 – 6 SOG
D Artyom Minulin, Swift Current Broncos: 3GP – 0-0-0 – 5 SOG
D Martin Bodak, Kootenay ICE: 2GP – 0-0-0 – 4 SOG
F Milos Roman, Vancouver Giants: 2GP – 0-0-0 – 3 SOG
F Justin Sigrist, Kamloops Blazers: 2GP – 0-1-1 – 2 SOG
F Kieffer Bellows, Portland Winterhawks: 3GP – 4-0-2 – 16 SOG
F Kailer Yamamoto, Spokane Chiefs: 3GP – 1-0-1 – 7 SOG