A third-period comeback would end up sealing the deal for Canada Red, who avoided a potential upset by beating Canada Black 3-1 at the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge.
The first eight minutes saw almost no action between either team, with Canada Red taking just a single shot during the first stretch run of the contest. With both teams playing quite strong defensively, it was only a matter of time until someone would find the back of the net, and Canada Black would achieve that goal on their first shot of the contest. Arnaud Durandeau and Joseph Veleno had showed some solid chemistry throughout the tournament for Canada Black, and it would be Durandeau who would find the back of the net after taking a good pass from the first overall pick from the 2015 QMJHL Draft at the 8:15 mark of the first.
The game was very even throughout the second period, with Canada Red goalie Michael Dipietro and Canada Black puckstopper Jacob McGrath continuing their strong tournaments. For Dipietro, the Windsor Spitfires goalie continued to make his mark as the tournament’s best goaltender, making 12 saves, many of them tough. For McGrath, the St. Mike’s Buzzers netminder had to face a lot of action on the power-play, with many of the 14 shots from the opening 40 minutes coming while Red had the extra skater.
Finally, after such a tough game for Canada Red, Joel Teasdale finally found a way to come up huge for Canada Red. With Black doing a good job at limiting Red’s chances, Teasdale capitalized on a fantastic tournament by scoring on a wraparound, tying things up at one with the clock slowly winding down.
All of a sudden, Canada Red found themselves in the lead with half the period still to go. This time, Jack Studnicka finally turned his team’s failing power-play into something successful by waiting around before punishing McGrath with a goal to make it 2-1.
Canada Black needed a big goal from pretty much anyone at this point, but who would have thought it would be the only 2000-born Canadian player that would do the dirty work? Joseph Veleno, who has looked tremendous throughout the whole tournament, came up big for his team by tying things up with seven minutes to go in the game. Unfortunately for him, the goal wasn’t enough to give his team the jump they needed in the late stages, as a goal by Josh Brooke with three minutes left meant that the stronger Canadian Red team would complete the comeback and advance to the semi-finals on Thursday.
With the win, Canada Red will the winner of the Russia/Czech Republic game tomorrow at 9:00 pm EST. Canada Black will play the loser of that game earlier in the day, a 4:30 pm start time in Fort St John.
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