Dawson Creek, B.C.
U.S. SCORES FOUR IN FIRST, HOLDS ON TO BEAT CANADA WHITE
DAWSON CREEK, B.C. – Grant Mismash scored twice in a four-goal first period, leading the United States to its 15th straight preliminary round victory at the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge, 7-5 over Canada White on Monday afternoon.
The win leaves the Americans as the last remaining undefeated team in Group A.
Down by a goal in the dying minutes, Canada White had its chances to pull even, including a pair of posts and a glorious chance with the extra attacker on, but suffered its first loss.
The U.S. came out with jump in the first period, and took the early lead when Scott Reedy knocked home a rebound just past the three-minute mark.
Just over two minutes after that it was the Canadians striking back; Austen Keating (Guelph, Ont./Ottawa, OHL) ripped a shot that Owen Tippett (Peterborough, Ont./Mississauga, Ont.) perfectly redirected past U.S. netminder Adam Scheel.
The Americans responded with three goals in just over 10 minutes; Mismash went top shelf at 6:32, Joey Cassetti went five-hole on a shorthanded two-on-none at 12:20, and Mismash found the loose puck out front and flicked it over the chaos in the Canadians crease for a 4-1 lead at 16:40.
White got one back late in the period when a shot from Evan Bouchard (Burlington, Ont./London, OHL) bounced neatly to Ian Mitchell (Calahoo, Alta./Spruce Grove, AJHL) who found the empty top corner to bring the Canadians within two after 20 minutes.
Matthew Struthers (Milton, Ont./Owen Sound, OHL) set up Gabe Vilardi (Kingston, Ont./Windsor, OHL) to make it a one-goal game at 6:34 of the second, but the U.S. struck twice more before the end of the middle frame, from Randy Hernandez and Josh Norris.
Midway through the third the Canadians pulled to within two when Bouchard set up Louis-Filip Côté (Laurier-Station, Que./Rouyn-Noranda, QMJHL), and Vilardi set up Greg Meireles (Ottawa, Ont./Ottawa, CCHL) to set up the exciting finish.
After a couple of wild rushes by White into the American zone, Evan Barratt clinched the three points for the Americans, hitting the empty net with six seconds to go.
The teams close out the preliminary round on Tuesday; Canada White takes on the Czech Republic in the early game (2:30 p.m. MT), followed by the U.S. facing Canada Black (7 p.m. MT).