For the second time in two nights at Canalta Centre in Medicine Hat, a Canadian team was dealt a convincing playoff defeat at the World U17 Hockey Challenge.
Team USA was relentless early on and built up a 5-0 lead just 25 minutes into the contest and coasted to a 7-3 win over Canada White. With the victory, USA will play for a gold medal Saturday night, while Canada White will regroup to play in the third-place game.
“We’ll feel sorry for ourselves for the next 15 minutes and then we are going to press the reset button,” offered head coach Sylvain Favreau following the loss. “If you look at the tournament as a whole, we are the only Canadian team in contention for a medal tomorrow.
“We have to make sure we reset and get ready to play tomorrow. We have to take the positive out of this, take the good with the bad and learn from it for the bronze medal game.”
Jeremy Wilmer scored twice for USA, while Red Savage, Chaz Lucius, Colby Saganiuk, Roman Schmidt and Dylan Duke added singles. Schmidt’ s tally was a shorthanded marker.
Guillaume Richard (Tri City; USHL) scored midway through the second period, then added his second of the night with one minute to play. Charles Alexis-Legault (Lac St. Louis; LMHAAAQ) also scored in the final minute.
“Obviously we found ourselves trailing early in the game, and one of the reasons we lost was because we were not able to get ourselves out of that hole,” said White team captain Justin Robidas (Val-d’Or; QMJHL) after the tilt. “I think we got down on ourselves a little bit.
“But we had a good push in the third period and we need to take that into tomorrow and make sure we leave here with a medal. We’ll reset tonight, take a look at what went wrong and make sure we improve on our mistakes for tomorrow.”
Kaiden Mbereko stopped 21 of 24 shots in the USA net, while the tandem of starter Tyler Brennan (Prince George; WHL) and William Rousseau (Trois-Rivieres; QMJHL) blocked 26 of 33 USA shots.
Canada White takes on the Czech Republic in the bronze-medal affair at 3:00 pm in Medicine Hat. The Czechs dropped a 4-0 verdict to Russia in the other semi-final, which was played Friday in Swift Current.
Russia, which won gold at this event last year, knocked off Team Canada Black in the quarter-final round, also building up a 5-0 lead early. The defending champions will take on the USA at 7:00 pm in Medicine Hat. Both games will be televised in Canada on the TSN network.
Canada Red takes on Sweden and Finland plays Canada Black in a pair of placement games early Saturday.