LATE GOALS LEAD AMERICANS PAST RED FOR FIFTH AT U17S
JASON LA ROSE
SAULT STE. MARIE, Ont. – Jake Pivonka and Jacob Semik scored goals in the last six minutes to turn a one-goal deficit into a one-goal lead and help the United States to a 3-2 win over Canada Red in the fifth-place game Friday at the 2016 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge.
The win helped the U.S. avoid losing three times at one U17 tournament for the first time since 2004. The Americans improved one spot on their sixth-place finish from 2015.
A scoreless first period was spent mostly in the Canadian zone, with the U.S. outshooting Red 16-6 in the opening 20 minutes. Only the play of Canadian goaltender Kevin Mandolese (Blainville, Que./Cape Breton, QMJHL), who had a shutout in his previous start against Russia in Tuesday, kept the game without a goal.
It was much of the same in the second, with the U.S. once again holding the advantage in shots, 12-7, but Red finally broke through for the game’s opening goal near the end of the middle frame.
With the Canadians on the power play, Ryan Merkley (Mississauga, Ont./Guelph, OHL) played give-and-go with Ty Dellandrea (Port Perry, Ont./Flint, OHL) before letting go a wrist shot that meandered its way through traffic and in behind American netminder Keegan Karki at 13:56.
The U.S. needed just 46 seconds of the third period to pull even; Red couldn’t clear the zone and the puck worked its way down to Trevor Janicke, who found Pivonka in the slot for a one-timer to tie the game.
But Canadian captain Benoît-Olivier Groulx (Gatineau, Que./Halifax, QMJHL) restored the Red advantage less than eight minutes later, picking up his own rebound to the right of the American net and going up and over the shoulder of Karki for the 2-1 lead.
Pivonka tied it for the U.S. at 14:19, jamming a shot past Mandolese from behind the net, and Semik took a pass from Jake Goldowski in the slot and rifled home a shot with 2:51 left to provide the game-winner.
Mandolese starred for the second-consecutive start, finishing with 43 saves in a losing cause. The Americans outshot Canada Red 46-19 overall, including 18-6 in the decisive third period.