DRUMMONDVILLE, Que. – Julio Billia (Montreal, Que./Chicoutimi, LHJMQ) made 40 saves, including all 17 shots he faced in the third period, as Quebec knocked off Ontario 2-1 Wednesday night to book a spot in the semifinals at the 2013 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge.
The win means Quebec will play Sweden in a Thursday semifinal in Drummondville (7:30 p.m. ET). It’s just the second time since it won its last gold medal in 2006 that Quebec has made the final four.
Carl Neill (Blainville, Que./Sherbrooke, LHJMQ) and Loïk Lévéille (St-Jérôme, Que./Baie-Comeau, LHJMQ) scored power-play goals 96 seconds apart in the opening minutes of the second period, erasing an early Ontario advantage and providing Billia with all the offence he needed.
It’s the first time since 2006 Quebec has beaten Ontario at the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge, a span of five games.
Brett Hargrave (North Bay, Ont./Sarnia, OHL) had the lone goal for Ontario, which had not missed out on the semifinals since 2006. Ontario scored 29 goals in four preliminary round games, the most since the United States scored the same number in 2006, and the most ever by a team that did not make the semifinals.
Holding a one-goal lead after 20 minutes, Ontario got itself into major penalty trouble in the second period, taking five of the first six penalties in the middle frame, including giving Quebec a two-man advantage for a full two minutes that led to Lévéille’s winner.
Ontario will face Pacific in Thursday’s fifth-place game in Victoriaville (1:30 p.m. ET).
(Nathan can be reached at email@example.com)