CANADA EAST GETS THREE THIRD-PERIOD GOALS, PERFECT SHOOTOUT TO SHOCK AMERICANS
SUMMERSIDE, P.E.I. – Down 4-1 to the United States after two periods and outshot 27-8, few expected anything from Canada East in the third period. Except the Canada East players and staff, of course.
Nick Huard, Colin Campbell and Jacob Laliberte scored third-period goals and Laliberte, Andrew Calof and Brock Higgs all scored in the shootout as the Canadian side pulled off an unlikely 5-4 win on Sunday night at Molson Canadian Arena at CUP.
Canada East (0-1-0-0) earned the win despite being outshot 37-25 by the U.S. (0-0-1-0) and dominated for much of the opening 40 minutes.
Although it faced a 12-2 disadvantage on the shot clock after one period, the Canadians had the only goal of the first, off the stick of David Pratt, who converted with the power play for a 1-0 lead.
Matt Ginn was a rock in the Canada East goal, keeping the Americans scoreless until Shane Berschbach scored on a shorthanded breakaway 7:36 into the second period.
The Berschbach goal seemed to spark the U.S., and goals from Mike Parks and John Parker 13 seconds apart, along with a late Beau Bennett marker, sent the Americans to the dressing room with a seemingly insurmountable three-goal lead.
But Huard snapped a shot over the glove of Will Yanakeff to cut the lead to two, sending the American netminder’s water bottle airborne and Campbell converted on a partial breakaway with four minutes left to set up a thrilling finish.
Facing mounting pressure from the Canadians, American captain David Gerths cleared the puck over the glass from the defensive zone, sending the Canada East power play to work with three minutes left.
With Ginn on the bench for the extra attacker and Canada East enjoying a 6-on-4 advantage, Laliberte jumped on a rebound in the slot and slid a backhand through the legs of Yanakeff, setting up a raucous celebration among the pro-Canadian faithful at Molson Canadian Arena at CUP and forcing an overtime few thought likely when the puck dropped to begin the third period.
The extra frame was scoreless – although Canada East’s Jonathan Milley missed a penalty shot – setting up a three-player shootout, where the Canadians were perfect, beating Yanakeff three times in as many opportunities.
Ginn allowed a pair of goals but made the save he needed to, turning away Matt Leitner to clinch the two points for Canada East and giving it an early lead in Group B.
The Canadians can wrap up their group and advance to the semifinals if they can defeat Belarus on Monday (7 p.m. AT), while the Americans see the ice next on Tuesday when they face the Belarussians (7 p.m. AT).
(Nathan also is a writer for Maineiacs Post to Post and the Maine Hockey Journal. He can be reached at email@example.com)