WHITE DOWNS FINLAND, MOVES INTO SEMIS AT U17S
JASON LA ROSE
FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – Canada White spread around the offence, getting goals from five players and points from 10 in a 5-1 quarter-final win over Finland on Thursday night at the 2017 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge.
The Canadians will head back to Dawson Creek for a match-up with the United States in the semifinals on Friday (7 p.m. MT). The Americans had the edge in the prelims with a 4-3 overtime triumph.
Both teams came out firing in the first period, combining for 29 shots – 17-12 in favour of White.
It was the Finns who struck first just 97 seconds in when Wiljami Myllylä beat Taylor Gauthier (Calgary, Alta./Prince George, WHL) with a quick shot right off the face-off, but that would be the lone puck to beat Gauthier.
Nicholas Porco (Sault Ste. Marie, Ont./Saginaw, OHL) got White even before the end of the opening frame; Connor McMichael (Ajax, Ont./Hamilton, OHL) raced down the right wing and took the puck to the net, and Porco was there to clean up the rebound and tie the game.
Graeme Clarke (Ottawa, Ont./Ottawa, OHL) gave the Canadians the lead at 6:31 of the second period, beating Finnish netminder Kari Piiroinen with a quick shot from the slot, and Nathan Légaré (Saint-Eustache, Que./Baie-Comeau, QMJHL) drove hard to the net and tucked in the 3-1 goal in the final minute of the middle frame.
The offensive push continued in the third, with Jakob Pelletier (Quebec City, Que./Moncton, QMJHL) scoring his fourth of the tournament to make it 4-1 just shy of the nine-minute mark of the final stanza.
Jaxon Bellamy (Hampton, N.B./Moncton, QMJHL) hit the empty net from centre ice in the final minute to provide the final margin of victory.
Finland will face off with Russia in the fifth-place game Friday at North Peace Arena (1:30 p.m. MT).