Edmonton, Alta. – It was a Canada-United States semi-final tilt that won’t soon be forgotten, blending high-paced excitement, controversy and overtime heroics at Rogers Place as Canada came out on top by a score of 6-5.
After Dylan Cozens (Lethbridge Hurricanes) provided a third period buzzer beater to knot the score at five and force overtime, Peyton Krebs (Kootenay ICE) set up Josh Williams (Medicine Hat Tigers) for the game winner 1:44 into the extra frame, keeping Canada’s hopes alive for a 22nd summer under-18 gold medal.
“Great rush by Krebsy [Peyton Krebs] there, he made a great drop-pass, and I was lucky enough to get my spot and it went in,” said Williams, recalling the lead-up to the game winning goal. “That was probably the biggest [goal] of my life, and it felt real good. Now we just have to focus on tomorrow.”
Cozens’ tying-goal came with no shortage of controversy as it was ruled on the ice that the puck crossed the goal-line before the final horn sounded. Williams’ game winner followed shortly after as the Medicine Hat forward entered the zone late off the rush and snapped a release past Team USA’s Dustin Wolf (Everett Silvertips).
Canada trailed 3-2 after one period as Team USA’s Nicholas Robertson (Peterborough Petes) scored the first two goals of what would be a hat-trick on the night while Aaron Huglen also found the back of the net for the Americans. Alexis Lafrenière (Rimouski Oceanic) and Jamieson Rees (Sarnia Sting) were first period goal scorers for Canada.
An Xavier Parent (Halifax Mooseheads) power play marker 8:34 into the second period knotted the score up at three, setting up what would be an exciting third period before an energetic crowd in Edmonton.
Williams scored his first of the night, also on the man advantage with an assist to Ryan Suzuki (Barrie Colts) to put Canada in the lead 4-3. Robertson responded with 8:02 left on the clock to complete the hat-trick and reinstate the tie as Arthur Kaliyev (Hamilton Bulldogs) picked up his second assist of the night.
Luke Toporowski (Spokane Chiefs) put the United States up 5-4 less than two minutes later at 13:33 before Cozens’ controversial tying goal on assists from Bowen Byram (Vancouver Giants) and Kaedan Korczak (Kelowna Rockets) set the stage for OT.
The United States outshot Canada 39-34 as Nolan Maier (Saskatoon Blades) earned the win in goal with a 34-save performance. Wolf turned aside 28 shots in the loss for the U.S.
With a goal and an assist, reigning CHL Rookie of the Year Alexis Lafrenière (Rimouski Oceanic) vaulted himself into the tournament scoring lead with eight points (3-5–8) over four games.
Canada is into the gold medal game, looking to repeat as champions after winning it all last summer in the Czech Republic. The United States will play Russia for bronze on Saturday at 3:00pm MT/5:00pm ET, looking to return to the podium for the first time since 2016 when the won silver.
Canada takes on Sweden for gold on Saturday at 7:00pm MT/9:00pm ET.
OTHER SCORES FROM DAY 3:
Sweden 2, Russia 1 (Semi-Final)
Finland 8, Switzerland 2
Czech Republic 8, Slovakia 3
Team Canada includes 21 players from the Canadian Hockey League including eleven from the Western Hockey League, six from the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League and four from the Ontario Hockey League.
For more information on Hockey Canada and Canada’s National Men’s Summer Under-18 Team, please visit www.hockeycanada.ca, or follow along through social media at www.facebook.com/hockeycanada, www.twitter.com/hockeycanada and www.twitter.com/hc_men.