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WJHC Postgame: Canada lets victory slip away; Lose in shootout to USA

The round-robin game everyone looks forward to year after year has come. This year, for some added flair, the game will be held outdoors. It’s Canada versus the USA in the World Junior Hockey Championship.

The lines for Canada appear to be the same as their most recent game against Slovakia, except with Kale Clague being healthy enough to play again.

The USA team will be without Ottawa 2016 1st-rounder Logan Brown, who was hurt, also against Slovakia.

1st period

The ice looked a bit rough in the early going but held up for the most part. Canada gained an early powerplay chance, and Colorado’s 2017 4th overall pick Cale Makar capitalizes with a great shot through the 5-hole of Jake Oettinger.

Canada controlled play for most of the first 10 minutes of this game, with just the one opportunity finding the back of the net, and allowing even shot opportunities, with each team having 6 on goal at the 9-minute mark.

The snow was beginning to fall more rapidly, and it wouldn’t be long before it would begin to interfere with the teams’ ability to move the puck.

Another powerplay goal would come for Canada, this time off of Calgary Flames’ 2017 2nd rounder, and Team Canada’s Captain, Dillon Dubé.

After a successful penalty kill for Canada, the period would end with Canada taking a penalty on USA’s William Lockwood, Canucks’ 2016 3rd rounder. The score at the end of the period was 2-0 for Team Canada.

2nd period

The snow was getting pretty bad in the early parts of the 2nd period. It’s a serious factor to keep an eye on, as passes have already become much more difficult and shots are missing the net wildly.

The game took a significant snow-cleaning break in the middle of the period to get the ice cleared up and hopefully allow for a few minutes of skilled hockey.

The Canadians gave up a full, 2-minute 5-on-3 advantage, and Kiefer Bellows takes a great pass after the zone entry by Mittelstadt and makes the game 2-1 for the USA on a cannon of a shot from the slot.

The two-goal lead wouldn’t last more than a minute, as the first 5-on-5 goal of this game comes on a scrambling set of chances by Canada on a floating point shot by Jake Bean, tipped past Oettinger by Boris Katchouk. The goal was reviewed for a potential hand pass by Taylor Raddysh, but it would eventually be confirmed a good goal.

The period would end there, with Canada again up by 2 goals, this time 3-1.

3rd period

The 3rd period got off to a rough start when, early in the period, Canada’s Maxime Comtois makes a disgusting boarding check on USA’s Charlie Lindgren, which left him flat on the ice. Thankfully, he would return to the game later with no apparent lingering issues.

He received a (much too short) 2-minute minor penalty for this, which the Americans capitalized on with a Perunovich (undrafted) goal.

Shortly after, the Americans would finish the comeback job with another great pass by Casey Mittelstadt, this time to Brady Tkachuck at even-strength.

After an ice-clearing and end-swapping break at the 10-minute mark, things somewhat slowed down for both teams.

There were some excellent chances as the period winded down, but nothing doing. The game would go to overtime, tied at 3.

OT

3-on-3 overtime began and it was just as intense as one would expect.

The rules of the outdoor game require fairness — because the refs are millennials, I guess — and so the period stops halfway through for an ice-clearing, and for the teams to switch ends, essentially killing all excitement for the 3-on-3 play.

No one would be able to score, unfortunately, as the game would have to go to a shootout to be decided

??Shooter ✔️/❌ ??Shooter ✔️/❌
Steel Bellows ✔️
Thomas Tkachuk ✔️
Raddysh Mittelstadt
Batherson N/A N/A
N/A N/A N/A N/A

Team USA gets the win in the shootout, after a comeback in a snowy outdoor game. Tough loss for Canada, but the Americans were pressing all game and did look the more dangerous team.

The Canadians will resume action tomorrow at 8 p.m. ET when they face Denmark for their final round-robin game.

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