Canada - USA 7 - 5 (3 - 1, 4 - 1, 0 - 3) Game Sheet
INNSBRUCK – The U.S. scored three goals in the final period to make it close, but Canada held on to win the bronze medal game 7-5, less than 24 hours after losing a close semi-final match to Finland. Canadian forward Ryan Gropp had a hat trick and Reid Gardiner notched a goal and four assists as Canada’s top line combined for six goals and 14 points.
“It feels really special, always great to be able to help out the team, but most importantly I’m happy we came away with the bronze medal,” said Gropp. “It was really tough to lose to the Finns in the semis but we told ourselves that we had to just forget about it and worry about the next game and focus for it like it was the gold medal game.”
Team USA was again undone early by penalties, which have been their Achilles’ heel for the entire tournament. After Jared Fiegl was called for Delay of Game three minutes into the start of the first period, Eric Cornel scored on the power play, with assists coming from Gardiner and captain Joseph Hicketts. Canada added two more goals in the frame, including another on the man advantage.
Nate Billitier got a late goal for the U.S. in the period, scoring with seven seconds remaining on the clock, and Ryan MacInnis, son of former Canadian NHL star Al MacInnis, scored 40 seconds into the second period to shave Canada’s lead to 3-2.
But that would be the closes the Americans would get. Goals by Adam Brooks, Gardiner, and Gropp gave Canada the 7-2 lead going into the third period, and despite scoring three unanswered goals the U.S. could not overcome the deficit.
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(Nathan can be reached at email@example.com)