FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – Team Canada White beat Finland 5-1 in Thursday nights quarterfinal at the North Peace Arena.
The Canadians found themselves down early as Wiljami Myllyla fired a shot past a screened Taylor Gauthier to give the Fins a 1-0 lead 1:37 into the first frame. Nicholas Porco tied the game at 1-1 after taking a pass from Connor McMichael and finding the back of the net at 13:04. The two teams skated into the first intermission deadlocked at 1-1.
Graeme Clarke took a fed from Samuel Poulin in the slot and fired the puck into the open net 6:31 into the middle stanza. Noah Laaouan had the other assist on the 2-1 goal. The Canadians had to kill off a five-minute penalty after Harrison Blaisdell was assessed a Major penalty for Checking From Behind for a hit on Finnish forward at 8:43. The team used the momentum from the penalty kill to make the score 3-1 after Nathan Legare fired a shot to the top corner off a feed from Nathan Staios at 19:08.
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In the third Canada White ramped up the level of physicality that the Fin’s had no answer for them. At 8:53, Ethan Keppen fetched his own dump into the Finland zone then find a wide open Jakob Pelletier in the slot who hammered it into the wide-open net. The Canadian’s iced it after the Fin’s pulled their goalie with a short-handed goal from a 150 feet out as Jaxon Bellamy who took a pass from Connor McMichael.
Taylor Gauthier stopped 27 of 28 shots that he faced, while Connor McMichael led the team with two points.
Canada White head coach Ryan Oulahen said, “I felt we got better as the team game went on as if we were a different team. Killing off their five-minute power play was huge for us and it gave us momentum that we fed off of.”
On facing their next opponent tomorrow in the semifinals, Canada White captain Nick Schneider added, “I think we have improved during each game. I know that whoever we play tomorrow we will be ready to give them all they can handle.”
Head coach of Finland Mika Martilla said, “I thought we played a good first period, we scored the first goal. But in the second and third Canada took the game over especially after we failed to capitalize on the five-minute power play.”
In Dawson Creek, Canada Red edged Canada Black 4-3.
After the first 10 minutes of play, Canada Red lead 2-1 with goals from Brandon Coe and Xavier Parent on the powerplay. Peyton Krebs assisted on both, while Dylan Cozens and Rhett Rhinehart collected the other assists. Canada Black’s lone goal was courtesy Sasha Mutala on the man advantage. Matthew Robertson and Kirby Dach were the setup duo. Canada Red held the 2-1 lead into the first-period break.
Canada Black tied things up at 2-2 late in the second period on a goal from Matthew Robertson on the powerplay. Sasha Mutala and Kirby Dach had the assists. Canada Black held a slight edge in shots at 21-18 in the evenly matched first forty minutes.
Canada Red regained the lead 49 seconds into the final twenty off the stick of Xavier Parent who took a pretty feed from Peyton Krebs and Dylan Cozens. Not even three minutes later Xavier Simoneau scored to make it 4-2 for Canada Red with Cozens and Krebs once again assisting. Canada Black would get one back to make it 4-3 with under five minutes to play courtesy Sasha Mutala who was set up by Jacson Alexander and Jamieson Rees. It wouldn’t be enough as Canada Red held on for the one-goal victory and advanced to Friday’s semifinals.