KONECNY’S LATE GOAL SENDS CANADA TO SEMIFINALS AT U18 WORLDS
IMATRA, Finland – Travis Konecny (Clachan, Ont./Ottawa, OHL) scored the game-winning goal with just 30 seconds to go, helping Canada’s National Men’s Under-18 Team beat Switzerland 3-2 in a Thursday quarter-final at the 2014 IIHF Ice Hockey U18 World Championship.
Canada will face the Czech Republic in Saturday’s semifinals; the game can be seen live on TSN beginning at noon ET/9 a.m. PT.
Sweden and the United States will meet in the other semifinal.
With the seconds ticking away and overtime looming, Konecny took a pass in the slot from Travis Sanheim (Elkhorn, Man./Calgary, WHL) and went to the backhand, sneaking a shot past the blocker of Swiss goaltender Gauthier Descloux.
Jake Virtanen (Abbotsford, B.C./Calgary, WHL) and John Quenneville (Edmonton, Alta./Brandon, WHL) scored the other goals for Canada, which is into the semifinals for the fourth year in a row.
Sanheim had two assists, while Mason McDonald (Halifax, N.S./Charlottetown, QMJHL) finished with 19 saves in the Canadian goal.
The Swiss opened the scoring at the 7:50 mark when Dominik Diem roofed a shot over McDonald’s shoulder, but Virtanen pulled Canada even 10 minutes later, hammering a slap shot past Descloux on a power play.
Quenneville gave the Canadians their first lead 12 minutes into the second period, picking the puck in the slot and beating Descloux for his first goal.
That lead stood up until the game’s final minutes; with Virtanen in the penalty box, Kevin Fiala pulled Switzerland even at 15:43, converting the seventh power play opportunity for the Swiss.
But Konecny’s third of the tournament – tying him with Virtanen for the team lead – was the difference, helping Canada improve to 4-1 all-time against the Swiss at the world championship.
Switzerland finished with a 21-17 advantage in shots on goal, and both teams scored once with the power play; Canada was 1-for-4, while the Swiss had a goal in seven chances.