Day 4 action at the 2018 IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship featured the first ever outdoor game in event history as the United States edged Canada in a shootout thriller. Russia also claimed victory. Here’s a closer look at Thursday’s action.
UNITED STATES 4 – CANADA 3 – SO
Like the outcome of last year’s Gold Medal Final, the United States skated to a shootout victory over Canada on Friday in the great outdoors before an event record crowd of 44,592 at New Era Field in Orchard Park, NY.
New York Islanders prospect Kieffer Bellows (Portland Winterhawks) scored a goal and provided one of Team USA’s two shootout tallies in a 4-3 decision as the Americans overcame a two-goal deficit to win on home ice.
Cale Makar and Dillon Dube (Kelowna Rockets) scored first period power play goals for Canada while Carter Hart (Everett Silvertips) stood tall, stopping all 11 first period shots he faced.
Bellows struck on the power play 6:27 into the second period to get the Americans on the board before Boris Katchouk (Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds) wrestled back the momentum a minute later, deflecting a Jake Bean (Calgary Hitmen) point shot past goaltender Jake Oettinger to give Canada a 3-1 lead after two.
Buffalo Sabres prospect Casey Mittelstadt set up two goals inside the sixth minute of the third period, first setting up Scott Perunovich on the power play before Brady Tkachuk scored the equalizer 34 seconds later to knot the score at three.
Overtime would solve nothing as the United States outshot Canada 36-22 through 65 minutes of play.
Bellows and Tkachuk converted in the shootout for Team USA while Canada’s Sam Steel (Regina Pats) hit a goal post before Robert Thomas (London Knights), Taylor Raddysh (Erie Otters) and Drake Batherson (Cape Breton Screaming Eagles) failed to beat Oettinger.
“Just playing with a lead, I think that’s tough,” reflected Canadian captain Dillon Dube after the loss. “Obviously, with a team like that they know how to score and create offence so when we have a lead like that we need to hold it. But, overall, we did well with everything going on tonight so we have to build off that.”
Canada’s Carter Hart (Everett Silvertips) earned Player of the Game honours with a 32-save performance while Team USA’s Casey Mittelstadt recorded three assists to earn Player of the Game honours for his team.
Canada (2-1) looks to rebound on Saturday night when they square off against Denmark at Key Bank Center at 8:00pm ET. The United States (2-1) returns to action on Sunday against Finland.
RUSSIA 5 – BELARUS 2
Philadelphia Flyers prospect German Rubtsov (Acadie-Bathurst Titan) had a goal and an assist as Russia improved to 2-1, defeating Belarus 5-2 at Key Bank Center.
Rubtsov and Alexei Polodyan scored first period markers for Russia before Klim Kostin scored his first of two on the game 3:33 into the second period. Artur Kayumov would also find the back of the net for Russia as they outshot Belarus 40-19.
Top 2018 NHL Draft prospect Andrei Svechnikov (Barrie Colts) had two assists for Russia, bringing his tournament total to four over three games.
Dmitri Deryabin and Sergei Pishuk scored for Belarus as they fell to 0-3 in the tournament.
Russia completes the preliminary round on Sunday against Sweden.
For full coverage of the 2018 IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship visit the IIHF or HockeyCanada.ca.