Dawson Creek, B.C.
CANADA WHITE ERASES TWO-GOAL DEFICIT, BEATS CANADA BLACK AT U17S
DAWSON CREEK, B.C. – Gabe Vilardi (Kingston, Ont./Windsor, OHL) scored the winner late in the third period as Canada White came from behind to beat Canada Black 5-3 in the opening game both at the 2015 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge on Sunday afternoon.
Vilardi parked himself in front of the net and redirected a Jarrod Gourley (Calgary, Alta./Prince Albert, WHL) point shot with just 3:56 left to give White the early advantage atop Group A.
White dominated play in the first, but it was Black that found the back of the net in the opening period.
After a trio of early penalty kills, Black got the first goal of the game at 16:33 on a five-on-three power play. Antoine Crete-Belzile (Quebec City, Que./Blainville-Boisbriand, QMJHL) and David Levin (North York, Ont./Sudbury, OHL) set up Stelio Mattheos (Winnipeg, Man./Brandon, WHL), wasted no time on the 1-0 goal.
Just 58 seconds later, Arnaud Durandeau (Beaconsfield, Que./Halifax, QMJHL) drained a shot from the hashmarks to give Black a two-goal lead ahead of the second period.
White got on the board at 12:10 of the middle frame when James Hamblin (Edmonton, Alta./Medicine Hat, WHL) beat goaltender Jacob McGrath (Mississauga, Ont./St. Michael’s, OJHL) from the point on the power play, with assists going to Nick Suzuki (London, Ont./Owen Sound, OHL) and Owen Tippett.
It pulled even with just over a minute left in the second; Robert Thomas (Aurora, Ont./London, OHL) found Ian Mitchell (Calahoo, Alta./Spruce Grove, AJHL) in front, and the blue-liner snuck a shot over McGrath’s glove to send the game to the intermission even 2-2.
The White power play looked to strike early in the third period, but is was Black that took the lead when Alex-Olivier Voyer (Sherbrooke, Que./Rimouski, QMJHL) broke free and converted a shorthanded breakaway.
The lead would last only 57 seconds, though; Hamblin made a beautiful cross-ice pass in close to Austen Keating (Guelph, Ont./Ottawa, OHL), who reached out and tipped it past McGrath to tie the game 3-3 at 8:47.
Hamblin, the Canada White captain, found the empty net with 13 seconds left to cap the scoring.
White will try to make it two in a row on Monday when it takes on the United States (2:30 p.m. MT), while Black meets the Czech Republic in the second game of the day at the Encana Events Centre (7 p.m. MT).