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WJC Medal Finals: Canadian Collapse and United We Stand

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Canada had so many chances to put the game away, but the United States just wouldn’t go away.

United States v Canada - Gold Medal Game - 2017 IIHF World Junior Championship Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images

Ohhhh my. If you’re reading this and didn’t catch any of the game last night, I do hope whatever you were doing was more exciting than the chaos that ensued between the United States and Canada last night in the gold medal game. Not one, but two two-goal leads erased, anxiety-inducing moments in overtime, and this tournament’s TJ Oshie coming through once again. Let’s rewind to the beginning of this one, however.

Canada got off to an early lead when Matthew Barzal’s pass snuck low to Thomas Chabot, who put the puck easily past American net minder Tyler Parsons. Le Centre Bell went crazy again a few minutes later, when on a turnover caused by both Luke Kunin and Adam Fox, B’s prospect Jeremy Lauzon snapped the puck through a screen and into the back of the net. This was the first time the USA didn’t quit. Down 2-0 after the first period, they came out to start the second period and cut the lead in half with a Charlie McAvoy mid-range wrister. The United State’s power play helped tie the game up, more specifically Kieffer Bellows’ backside banking an Adam Fox shot past stalwart goalie Carter Hart.

Not even two minutes into the third, and it was Canada’s power play that struck to regain the lead. Nicolas Roy changed the angle on a dot shot to the right of Parsons to score. Then, Mathieu Joseph, who look injured earlier in the period, sure didn’t show any signs of it, as he blew by Casey Fitzgerald, went forehand-backhand-forehand and tucked one over Parson’s right pad. Even with yet another two goal lead and a lot less time than before, the United States did not quit. Kieffer Bellows got one back right away on a one-timer coming from a slick McAvoy feed. Fox had another shot deflected, this time by the stick of BC forward Colin White, and just like that, this game was tied once again.

This one would require overtime, and boy did it not disappoint. Chances for both sides, a too many men on the ice penalty for team USA that spelled shades of 1979 but was killed, multiple stuff-in attempts for Jordan Greenway thwarted, and finally, it went to another dreaded shootout. Both goalies made strong saves through the first three rounds on some potent shooters. Then, in another TJ Oshie moment, Troy Terry got the shootout’s first goal, a five-hole rocket through Hart. With the game on the line, Roy came in on Parsons and got him down, but lost the puck, trickling in to touch Parsons’s stick and giving the United States its fourth gold medal ever.

We won’t forget the bronze medal game for a second here, where Denis Guryanov put an OT winner past Felix Sandstrom to give Russia third place, but right now, it’s all United States (sorry for the people who think we’re USA-biased, it’s deserved this time). America fought back hard multiple times in the game and earned that win and gold medal. Canada does deserve some thanks for making it one hell of a game.

Here’s how the final bracket turns out.

Thanks to each of the nations who participated in making this an amazing tournament, and we can’t wait for Buffalo next year!