CANADA NEEDS SHOOTOUT TO EDGE SWITZERLAND AT WORLD JUNIORS
HELSINKI, Finland – Brayden Point (Calgary, Alta./Moose Jaw, WHL) and Mathew Barzal (Coquitlam, B.C./Seattle, WHL) scored goals in the shootout, leading Canada’s National Junior Team to a 3-2 extra-time win over Switzerland on Tuesday at the 2016 IIHF World Junior Championship.
It’s the 21st time in as many meetings Canada has beaten the Swiss at the world juniors, but the first not to end in regulation time.
After Dylan Strome (Mississauga, Ont./Erie, OHL) was stopped on Canada’s first shot, Point and Barzal both went to the backhand to beat Swiss netminder Joren van Pottelberghe, and Mackenzie Blackwood (Thunder Bay, Ont./Barrie, OHL) turned aside Pius Suter and Timo Meier to give the Canadians two points.
Strome and Joe Hicketts (Kamloops, B.C./Victoria, WHL) scored in regulation for the Canadians, who clinched a quarter-final berth after erasing a 2-0 first-period deficit to win for the second day in a row.
Lawson Crouse (Mt. Brydges, Ont./Kingston, OHL) assisted on both goals in the opening 60 minutes, while Blackwood finished with 23 saves in his first start in the Canadian goal.
The Swiss benefitted from an early power play; a shot from Noah Rod deflected off the pants of Damien Riat in front and past Blackwood to put Switzerland up 1-0 with just 2:12 gone.
The lead became two at 15:37 when Dario Meyer redirected a point shot from Marco Forrer, but Strome scored for the third straight game to pull the Canadians to within one with 23 seconds left in the first period, firing a wrist shot under the crossbar.
Hicketts tied the game just past the 12-minute mark of the second, coming in off the blue-line and snapping a shot high on van Pottelberghe to make it 2-2 after two.
The third period failed to produce a goal despite Canada holding a 16-8 advantage in shots on goal and overtime solved nothing, leading to Canada’s shootout heroics.
The Canadians improved to 1-1-0-1 (W-OTW-OTL-L), good for second place in Group A, although they’ve played one game more than the United States. Canada closes out its preliminary round schedule Thursday when it takes on Sweden (1 p.m. ET/10 a.m. PT).