U-17 Championships Day 6 Recap
Evan Allen and Anthony Louis scored in the shootout and Thatcher Demko stopped both Swedish shooters he faced as the United States advanced to the gold medal game at the 2012 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge with a 2-1 semifinal win over Sweden on Tuesday afternoon.
The Americans are into the final for the fifth time in the last six U17 tournaments; they won the big prize in 2010, defeating Ontario, but lost to Quebec in 2006 and to Ontario in 2008 and last year.
“I was going shot the whole time, no deking,” said Louis, “It’s a great feeling to get the winner in a game like this.”
Michael McCarron scored the lone goal for the U.S. in regulation time, while Demko stopped 22 of 23 shots through 70 minutes of regulation and overtime before turning away Robert Hägg and Leon Bristedt in the shootout.
“Our other goalie had mono, so I stepped in and played, “said Demko, “The shots were mostly from the outside so it wasn’t that difficult. The nerves were gone within a few minutes, I just waited my turn and it worked out in our favour today.”
Bristedt opened the scoring, converting a shorthanded breakaway late in the second period for the Swedes, who experienced a case of déjà vu - it’s the second time in three years the Swedes have lost to the Americans in overtime in the semifinals; they suffered a 6-5 defeat in 2010.
Anton Cederholm said that while it was disappointing, they are looking forward to the bronze medal game. “It sucks to lose. It always does. But looking forward, our game tomorrow is huge. We want to come out of here with a medal.”
Grigori Dikushin tied the game with 4:15 to go in the third period and scored the winner 8:27 into overtime as Russia advanced to the gold medal game for the first time since 2000 with a 4-3 semifinal win over Ontario on Tuesday night.
The victory moves Russia into Wednesday’s final against the United States the WFCU Centre – the first U17 gold medal game not to feature a Canadian team since the Soviet Union, led by Pavel Bure and Slava Kozlov, beat Mats Sundin and Sweden 4-3 in the 1988 final.
Ivan Barbashev and Sergei Tolchinski also scored for Russia, which beat Ontario for the first time in five tries, dating back to its 2-0 gold medal game victory at the 2000 tournament in Timmins, Ont. Barbashev was the only Russian to record multiple points, finishing with a goal and assist.
Stephen Nosad, Aaron Ekblad and Hunter Garlent had the goals for Ontario, which will not play for the gold medal for the first time since 2006, when it finished fifth in Regina, Sask. Garlent had a goal and two assists, while goaltender Spencer Martin made 36 saves, albeit in a losing cause.
Garlent was visibly upset by the win, saying that, “There are 22 guys in the room right now that are pretty upset. Our goal was win the gold, but now we can’t have that, so we need the next game. We need to swallow this one and move on.”
Ontario Captain Bo Horvat agreed with Garlent.
“Gold was our mission. But now this game is done. We played our hearts out,” he said, “Having some key injuries didn’t help us, but we didn’t get the win, we need to move on.”
Indeed, Ontario had Jordan Maletta, Nick Ritchie, Stephen Harper, Darnell Nurse and Brendan Robinson missing at the end of the game.
Ontario will face Sweden for the bronze medal on Wednesday afternoon in Windsor in a rematch of a preliminary round game won 7-2 by the Canadians.
5th Place Game: Pacific 5, Quebec 4 (OT)
7th Place Game: Atlantic 4, Czech Republic 2
9th Place Game: Germany 6, West 3
Follow Kyle Busch and Brian Raiger on Twitter for coverage of the bronze and gold medal games @KyleBusch11 and @raiger89