×

U.S. rallies to 4-3 shootout win over Canada in outdoor game

  • Players for the United States celebrate following the shootout of a preliminary round game against Canada in the IIHF world junior championship in Orchard Park, N.Y. AP

  • United States' Kieffer Bellows celebrates his shootout goal against Canada during an IIHF world junior hockey championships outdoor game in Orchard Park, N.Y., Friday, Dec. 29, 2017. (Mark Blinch/The Canadian Press via AP) Mark Blinch

  • Canada and USA players face off as snow falls during the second period of a preliminary round game in the IIHF world junior championship in Orchard Park, N.Y., Friday, Dec. 29, 2017. (Mark Blinch/The Canadian Press via AP) Mark Blinch

  • Players for the United States celebrate following the shootout period of their IIHF World Junior Championship preliminary round outdoor hockey game win against Canada at New Era Field in Orchard Park, N.Y., Friday, Dec. 29, 2017. (Mark Blinch/The Canadian Press via AP) Mark Blinch

  • United States and Canada players lineup for a face-off during the second period of a preliminary round hockey game of the IIHF World Junior Championship in Orchard Park, N.Y., Friday, Dec. 29, 2017. (AP Photo/Adrian Kraus) Adrian Kraus

  • United States forward Kailer Yamamoto (17) and Canada defender Victor Mete (28) reach for the puck during the second period of a preliminary round hockey game of the IIHF World Junior Championship in Orchard Park, N.Y., Friday, Dec. 29, 2017. (AP Photo/Adrian Kraus) Adrian Kraus

  • United States players celebrate their goal during the second period of a preliminary round game in the IIHF World Junior Championship against Canada in Orchard Park, N.Y., Friday, Dec. 29, 2017. (AP Photo/Adrian Kraus) Adrian Kraus

  • Canada goalie Carter Hart (31) saves a shot off his chest as United States forward Kailer Yamamoto (17) looks for a rebound during the second period of a preliminary round game in the IIHF World Junior Championship in Orchard Park, N.Y., Friday, Dec. 29, 2017. (AP Photo/Adrian Kraus) Adrian Kraus

  • Canada's Cale Makar, left,ties up Adam Fox of the United States during second-period IIHF World Junior Championship preliminary round outdoor hockey game action at New Era Field in Orchard Park, N.Y., Friday, Dec. 29, 2017. (Mark Blinch/The Canadian Press via AP) Mark Blinch

  • Canada's Victor Mete (28) and Michael McLeod (20) take down Brady Tkachuk, of United States, during the second period of a preliminary round game in the IIHF world junior championship in Orchard Park, N.Y., Friday, Dec. 29, 2017. (Mark Blinch/The Canadian Press via AP) Mark Blinch

  • Canada's goaltender Carter Hart makes a pad save on Brady Tkachuk, of the United States, as Canada's Victor Mete and USA's Joey Anderson look on during the second period of a preliminary round game in the IIHF world junior championship in Orchard Park, N.Y., Friday, Dec. 29, 2017. (Mark Blinch/The Canadian Press via AP) Mark Blinch

  • Canada goaltender Carter Hart makes a save on United States goalie Kailer Yamamoto as Canada's Kale Clague and USA's Max Jones, right, look on during the second period of a preliminary round IIHF world junior championship hockey game in Orchard Park, N.Y., Friday, Dec. 29, 2017. (Mark Blinch/The Canadian Press via AP) Mark Blinch

  • Canadian players celebrate their first goal during the first period of a preliminary round game of the IIHF world junior championship against the United States in Orchard Park, N.Y., Friday, Dec. 29, 2017. (AP Photo/Adrian Kraus) Adrian Kraus

  • Canada forward Dillon Dube (9) skates with the puck during the first period of a preliminary round game of the IIHF world junior championships between the United States and Canada in Orchard Park, N.Y., Friday, Dec. 29, 2017. (AP Photo/Adrian Kraus) Adrian Kraus

  • U.S. goalie Jake Oettinger walks to the ice in snowfall before the third period against Canada in an IIHF world junior hockey championships outdoor game in Orchard Park, N.Y., Friday, Dec. 29, 2017. (Mark Blinch/The Canadian Press via AP) Mark Blinch

  • Canada goalie Carter Hart waits during snowfall in a break in the team's IIHF world junior hockey championships outdoor game against the United States in Orchard Park, N.Y., Friday, Dec. 29, 2017. (Mark Blinch/The Canadian Press via AP) Mark Blinch

  • Canada's Drake Batherson, left, reacts after U.S. goalie Jake Oettinger made a save during the shootout in an IIHF world junior hockey championships outdoor game in Orchard Park, N.Y., Friday, Dec. 29, 2017. (Mark Blinch/The Canadian Press via AP) Mark Blinch

  • United States' Brady Tkachuk celebrates his shootout goal during IIHF World Junior Championship preliminary outdoor hockey game action against Canada at New Era Field in Orchard Park, N.Y., Friday, Dec. 29, 2017. (Mark Blinch/The Canadian Press via AP) Mark Blinch



Associated Press
Saturday, December 30, 2017

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. – Out of the way, Canada. Brady Tkachuk and the Americans are just fine when it comes to handling snow and ice.

Tkachuk and Kieffer Bellows found plenty enough traction on a snow-covered rink to score shootout goals and cap the United States’ 4-3 victory over Canada on Friday in international hockey’s first outdoor game.

Much like they did the similar two times against Canada at the world junior hockey championship, the defending gold-medal-winning Americans overcame a two-goal deficit by scoring twice in a span of 34 seconds in the third period.

“It just made it better with the snow coming down and the fans’ excitement. You could definitely feel it,” Tkachuk said of a game played with snow persistently falling from the opening faceoff. “We knew we were taking it to them in the second and third period and coach was saying, if one goes in, two go in.”

A snowball effect, perhaps. And it happened in front of a world junior tournament record crowd of 44,592 – some going shirtless in celebrating the bitter elements – at the NFL Buffalo Bills’ home, New Era Field.

The Americans (1-1-1) showed resolve in not only beating their cross-border rivals, but overcoming the disappointment of a 3-2 loss to Slovakia on Thursday.

“That talks a lot about our group and the locker room and how close we are as a family,” Bellows said. “There was never a doubt in the whole entire locker room or on the bench at any point.”

Tkachuk and Ron Perunovich scored in the third period, while Casey Mittlestadt had three assists to take over the tournament lead with six points (two goals, four assists). Bellows scored his tournament leading fourth goal, and goalie Jake Oettinger stopped 19 shots through overtime and all four he faced in the shootout.

Boris Katchouk, Cale Makar and Dillon Dube scored for Canada (2-0-1), which has lost four straight meeting to the Americans. It was a familiar and disappointing result for goalie Carter Hart, who was also lost the championship game to the U.S. in January.

“Last year doesn’t matter at all,” said Hart, who stopped 32 shots through overtime Friday. “Tomorrow, we get the chance to finish in first place, so that’s what on our mind’s now.”

By earning a point for the shootout loss, Canada still has the edge in the Group A standings in being two points ahead of the Americans. The Canadians can clinch top spot with a win in their preliminary round finale against Denmark (0-3) on Saturday.

In the only other tournament game, St. Louis Blues draft pick Klim Kostin scored twice in leading Russia (2-1) to a 5-2 win over Belarus (0-3). Russia clinched a Group B berth in the quarterfinal round Tuesday. Belarus closes the preliminary round against the Czech Republic on Saturday and is in jeopardy of finishing last in five-team Group B standings.

Bellows scored on the Americans’ first shootout chance by snapping a shot through Hart’s legs. Then Tkachuk scored by firing a shot in the top right corner.

Down 3-1, Perunovich cut the lead to 3-2 from the slot by capping a give-and-go passing play with Mittelstadt with 13:51 left. Mittlestadt, the Buffalo Sabres’ first-round pick, then set up Tkachuk in front for the tying goal by gathering a loose puck behind the net after Canadian defenseman Kale Clague lost his stick.

The Americans drew upon last year’s win over Canada, in which they trailed 4-2.

“Just believing you’re never out of the game. We had a lot of hockey left to be played,” U.S. defenseman Adam Fox said. “Last year, it was a very similar thing. Some guys who are returning had that experience to tell guys this year that, ‘You know, we’re not down and out.’ ”

It was a familiar feeling of disappointment for Canada.

“Yeah, it’s a tough pill to swallow once again losing to the Americans in the shootout,” forward Michael McLeod said. “The only good thing is that this is round robin.”

The crowd on Friday appeared evenly split with American and Canadian fans, many of whom spent much of the game standing. As night fell, a red glow emanated from the middle section of the stadium, where rows of heaters hang above the seats.

Flurries began falling during the pregame national anthems, and the snow fell harder as the game progressed. It began falling so heavily that the surface had to be shoveled at each commercial break starting late in the second period. Work crews filled several wheelbarrows full of snow, which were dumped onto a pile that grew to about seven feet behind the east end of the rink.

Oettinger had an opportunity to take time to enjoy the atmosphere.

“Yeah, I did see the shirtless guy on the Jumbotron. Yeah, I took a look a couple of times,” Oettinger said with a smile. “A really fun win, but now we’ve got to put it behind us.”