MONTREAL, CANADA - JANUARY 5: Team USA Celebrates with the World Junior Championship trophy after winning 5-4 in a shootout over Team Canada in the gold medal game at the 2017 IIHF World Junior Championship. (Photo by Matt Zambonin/HHOF-IIHF Images)
USA wins extraordinary game, 5-4
Troy Terry has done it again. He was the only scorer of ten shootout shooters tonight, giving the USA the gold medal in an incredible 5-4 win over Canada.
Just 24 hours ago, he scored three goals in a shootout to defeat Russia and advance to today's championship game.
"Before the shootout, I was thinking about trying something different [than shooting between the legs]," Terry explained. "As I came down, I decided I just had to try to go five-hole."
“I think it’s a Troy effect,” teammate Jack Roslovic enthused. “No matter what, you can cover it all you want, you can sit in the butterfly, he’ll find the five-hole.”
U.S. goalie Tyler Parsons stopped all five Canadian shooters, none of which came particularly close to scoring.
Canadian counterpart Carter Hart stopped four shots, allowing only Terry's low shot between the pads.
For the Americans this marks their fourth U20 gold, following 2004, 2010, and 2013.
"It was a great atmosphere in the building," Parsons said. "It gave me chills. It's unbelievable to win this for your country."
“Unbelievable,” said Colin White. “There’s no feeling like it. We came together as a team. Four weeks now we’ve been together, and to win a gold medal together is just great. The calmness we’ve had all tournament was huge. We were down yesterday, down twice today by two goals. We stayed calm on the bench and fought back.We always knew we had each other’s backs all tournament, and we came together so well as a team.”
Canada had an early lead of 2-0--and let it slip away--as well as a more critical 4-2 lead early in the third, but the Americans simply refused to give up or be intimidated by the pro-Canadian crowd.
There were countless scoring chances and giveaways forced by puck pressure, end-to-end action, and blinding speed. Canada outshot the U.S., 50-36, but in the end it was another nifty move by Terry that proved the difference.
"It was such an up-and-down game," Terry said. "We were down two goals twice. I think when we were down 2-0 and came back to tie it we got some confidence because it sucked to go down two goals right away. But, we knew as a team that no matter how we played, we had the confidence to get back into the game."
Kieffer Bellows, with his second of the game, and Colin White tied the game midway through the third, and despite incredible opportunities to score, the game went into a fourth and final period.
"The 23 of us, all the way from summer camp to Buffalo camp, we knew we had to come up huge," said Bellows, the American-born son of longtime Canadian NHLer, Brian. "Our country needed us at this point with the hockey. Kids looking up to us, teenagers, older adults that love hockey so much were looking up to us. We came out on top, and hopefully the country’s proud of us."
The 20-minute, five-on-five overtime was breath-taking and heart-stopping, Canada dominating but both teams having several glorious chances to win. Indeed, the Canadians had the only power play, called because of a too-many-men penalty to the U.S., but it couldn't put the puck in.
The Fates seemed to will the puck out of the net, believing a shootout was needed to decide this incredible contest of speed, skill, strength, and determination.
Canada's defenceman Thomas Chabot, named tournament MVP, played a staggering 43:53 in defeat.
"I'm proud of what I've done in this tournament," he explained, "but it's so hard to lose this game. I put everything I could into representing my country as well as I could and help the team win. I may have got the MVP, but I'm heartbroken. It's very difficult right now."
The game was played before a crowd of 20,173, just shy of the single-game mark set in Ottawa in 2009 between Canada and Sweden (20,380).
Emotions were high and the tension thick as the final game of the 2017 World Junior Championship started. The Americans had defeated Canada soundly, 3-1, just six days earlier, but now the gold medal was on the line.
Both teams had developed and matured over the last two weeks, and with everything on the line players gave it their all, and more.
The game started at a feverish pitch, and the raucous Bell Centre crowd was as loud as it’s been this year for the juniors. But just as the Canadians seemed nervous and tentative on New Year’s Eve, tonight it was the Americans who seemed rattled by circumstance, the intensity, and the relentless puck pressure from Canada.
Canada took control early and maintained high energy throughout the period, getting the puck deep and forcing the U.S. defencemen to turn and skate back to make a play.
The opening goal came at 4:38 off the rush. Matt Barzal made a nice pass to Mathieu Joseph, going to the net. Joseph couldn’t handle the puck but it came to defenceman Chabot who buried the puck as Parsons was playing Joseph to shoot.
Canada made it 2-0 at 9:02 thanks to a scramble in the U.S. slot. Adam Fox made an ill-advised swat at the puck with his glove, and it came right to Jeremy Lauzon who waited patiently before ripping a shot to the stick side of a screened Parsons.
Two goals, two defencemen, two French-Canadians. 2-0.
The Americans had a chance to get back into it with a power play, but they would up incurring a minor of their own halfway through to nullify the chance.
To start the second, though, the U.S. came out with purpose and turned the tables on Canada, getting the puck deep, forechecking effectively, and putting Canada on its heels.
The reward came just 3:04 into the period when Jordan Greenway made a nice pass from the left-wing boards to defenceman Charlie McAvoy, the trailer on the play. He had plenty of time to take aim and drill a shot over Hart’s glove to cut the lead in half.
The crowd responded with tremendous support, and the Canadian players got their legs going, coming right back at their opponents. This wave was scuttled by a too-many-men penalty, though, and that cost Canada dearly.
A point shot from Fox drifted to the goal and hit Bellows on the way in at 9:30. Tie game.
The Canadians continued to skate and drew two late power plays, but some over-passing on their part and good defence by the Americans kept it a 2-2 game.
A third power play early in the third gave Canada a chance it didn't pass up. Nicolas Roy ripped a shot over Parsons' shoulder at 1:52, and at 4:05 they made it 4-2 when Mathieu Joseph raced past Casey Fitzgerald at the U.S. blue line and made a great deke on Parsons.
But the resilient Americans did not go queitly to defeat. Just 38 seconds later McAvoy fed Bellows in the slot, and his quick shot fooled Hart to make it 4-3.
They weren't done yet.
Fox made a sensational pass to Colin White to the side of Hart, and White's perfect deflection at 7:07 found the back of the net. Four goals in just over five minutes and the game was tied again, much to the shock of the Bell Centre fans.
“I saw [Fox] get the puck up there,” White described. “I was behind the net, and I knew if I stayed on that low post he’d get it to me. It was a great play by him, and I was lucky enough to tip that in.”
That set the stage for a wild finish that will go down in history as one of the greatest junior games ever played.