CANADA FALLS TO U.S., SETTLES FOR SILVER AT YOUTH OLYMPICS
JASON LA ROSE
LILLEHAMMER, Norway – Ryan Merkley (Mississauga, Ont./Toronto Jr. Canadiens, GTHL) and Allan McShane (Collingwood, Ont./Toronto Marlboros, GTHL) both scored to bring Canada to within one, but the Canadians were left with a silver medal after a 5-2 loss to the United States in the gold medal game Sunday at the 2016 Winter Youth Olympic Games.
It’s the second time in as many Youth Olympics that Canada has won a medal; it took the bronze medal at the inaugural Games four years ago in Innsbruck, Austria.
The Canadians fell behind just past the midway mark of the first period; after a turnover in the Canadian zone, the puck was worked around to T.J. Walsh, who beat goaltender Alexis Gravel (Mississauga, Ont./Mississauga Senators, GTHL) for a 1-0 American lead.
Jack Deboer doubled the U.S. advantage just 2:56 into the second period, redirecting a pass from Jacob Pivonka past Gravel on an American power play.
Just minutes after Carson Focht (Regina, Sask./Regina, SMAAAHL) had a would-be goal called back, he set up Merkley, who ripped a point shot past U.S. netminder Drew DeRidder on a Canadian power play to make it a 2-1 game.
But the Americans would answer less than two minutes later when Christian Krygier beat Gravel from the face-off dot, giving the U.S. a 3-1 lead heading to the second intermission.
The start of the third period brought a new goaltender, with Olivier Rodrigue (Canton Tremblay, Que./Jonquière, LHMAAAQ) replacing Gravel, and the Canadians responded by ratcheting up their offence, firing 12 shots at DeRidder after managing just 13 total in the first two periods.
McShane set up an exciting finish by snapping a wrist shot past DeRidder with 3:49 to go, but that would be as close as Canada would get.
Tyler Weiss and Jake Wise hit the empty net in the last minute to provide the final margin of victory.
Canada finished with a 25-23 advantage in shots on goal, but lost the special teams battle; the U.S. was 2-for-5 on the power play, while the Canadians scored once on their three opportunities.