PORTAGE LA PRAIRIE, Man. – For the first time since winning bronze in 2005, Atlantic has cracked the top half of the final standings at the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge.
Taylor Burke’s goal at 12:06 of the third period stood up as the game winner as Atlantic scored a tight 2-1 win over West in Monday night’s fifth-place game at the PCU Centre.
The game marked the second year in a row the two teams matched up in a placement game; last year they met for seventh place in northern Ontario, a game won 4-2 by Atlantic.
A defensive battle throughout, both goaltenders were tested often, but neither was beaten until Atlantic’s Devon Oliver-Dares broke the scoreless deadlock 1:31 into the second period, burying a loose puck behind West goaltender Chris Dreidger.
That goal was the only one of the game until Burke’s, which gave Atlantic a little breathing room and became the game winner when West’s Brendan Leipsic beat Atlantic netminder Brandon Whitney at 14:19 of the final frame.
Whitney proved to be the story, making 34 saves as West outshot Atlantic 35-19.
West did damage to its comeback chances with a pair of too many men on the ice penalties in the third period, the second coming with just 1:35 to go, leaving it shorthanded for the final 95 seconds.
(Nathan can be reached at email@example.com)