A goal by Shane Gersich with just 2.1 seconds remaining in the game gave the Americans the 3-2 victory, meaning they’ll have an automatic bye into the semi-finals.
Brock Boeser got the game started off well for the Americans. After winning a face-off, Boeser sent the puck to Kyle Connor, who rifled the shot that saw Boeser redirect it past Canadian goaltender Blade Mann-Dixon to make it 1-0 USA 11 minutes in. The goal proved to be the fastest ever at the start of the PP in the history of the World Junior A Challenge, coming just three seconds after the puck was dropped in the Canadian zone.
Canada East converted on the man-advantage just over four minutes later. Lucas Patt got his wrist shot through traffic, before ringing it off the post and in past Cale Morris for the 1-1 goal.
The second period saw no score, but the third period sure proved to be exciting. The score remained tied until 15:07 of the third period when Canada’s Zac Tierney’s power-play blast from the point beat Morris cleanly, giving Canada the 2-1 lead.
With 1:31 left in regulation, the whole landscape changed. Seamus Malone of the Dubuque Fighting Saints tied the game up at two after converting on a Christian Wolanin one-timer to beat Mann-Dixon through a screen. The game looked poised to head to overtime, but Gersich’s heroics in the dying seconds of the contest meant that the Americans would earn a bye to the semi-finals thanks to a perfect 2-0 record, while Canada East would have to battle in the quarter-finals on Wednesday with a winless record.
Follow me on twitter, @StevenEllisNHL.