Fort St. John, B.C.
BROOK’S LATE WINNER SENDS CANADA RED TO U17 SEMIFINALS
JASON LA ROSE
FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – Josh Brook (Roblin, Man./Moose Jaw, WHL) hammered in a point shot for the game-winning goal with just 2:03 to go, leading Canada Red to a 3-2 quarter-final win over Canada Black and a spot in the semifinals.
After Canadian teams were shut out of the semifinals last year in the debut of the six-team format, Red will be part of the final four; it’ll meet the winner of the Czech Republic-Russia quarter-final on Friday.
With the teams playing four-on-four in the late stages of the third period, Brook took a feed from Maxime Comtois (Ste-Martine, Que./Victoriaville, QMJHL) and got his hard shot through traffic and past Black goaltender Jacob McGrath (Mississauga, Ont./St. Michael’s, OJHL).
Joël Teasdale (Beloeil, Que./Blainville-Boisbriand, QMJHL) and Jack Studnicka (Tecumseh, Ont./Oshawa, OHL) also scored for Red.
It was Black who came out with jump, taking an early lead when Arnaud Durandeau (Beaconsfield, Que./Halifax, QMJHL) beat Red goaltender Michael DiPietro (Amherstburg, Ont./Windsor, OHL) along the ice after a pretty cross-ice feed from Joseph Veleno (Kirkland, Que./Saint John, QMJHL) just 8:15 in.
That goal would stand up through the first 40 minutes thanks to DiPietro and McGrath, who weren’t busy – shots were just 15-12 Red after two periods – but made the big saves when called upon.
Red needed seven minutes of the third to pull even; Teasdale drove the puck hard to the net off the right wing and slipped the puck through the legs of McGrath to tie the game and excite what was a pro-Red crowd at North Peace Arena.
Studnicka gave Red its first lead just 2:42 after the Teasdale goal, roofing the rebound of a Comtois shot, but Veleno snapped a quick shot off the far post and past DiPietro to tie the game less than four minutes later.
Red carried the play in the third period and outshot Black 11-5 in the decisive final frame. Overall, Red held a 26-17 advantage.
The loss means Black will play in the seventh-place game on Friday; the time, location and opponent for that game will be decided after the two late quarter-finals are played on Thursday night.