(Photos courtesy of Derek Leung/Hockey Canada Images)
SYDNEY, Nova Scotia - Colin White (Hanover, Mass.) and Matthew Tkachuk (St. Louis, Mo.) scored two goals and added one assist each, as the U.S. Men's National Under-17 Team defeated Canada's Team Quebec, 9-1, here tonight at Centre 200 in semifinal action at the 2014 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge. With the win, Team USA advances to the title game tomorrow at 4 p.m. EST.
"The final result was a bit misleading, with the perspective that we had to battle hard through the first half of the game to create separation," said Don Granato, head coach of the U.S. Men's National Under-17 Team. "We are certainly happy we have the opportunity to reach our goal coming into the event tomorrow."
Team USA opened the scoring at 6:14 of the first period. Nicholas Boka (Plymouth, Mich.) took a Tkachuk feed at the right faceoff circle and one-timed the puck past Quebec netminder Olivier Tremblay. Team USA doubled its lead after a Boka shot caromed off the glass and changed direction on Tremblay, who tried to play the puck. Casey Fitzgerald (North Reading, Mass.) and Auston Matthews (Scottsdale, Ariz.) collected assists on the play.
White pushed the U.S. lead to three scores at 9:25 of the second stanza. Jeremy Bracco (Freeport, N.Y.) picked up the puck behind the Quebec net and circled around the attack zone, as White slid into the slot. When Bracco reached the opposite side of the goal line, he sent a pass to White who redirected the puck into the cage. Quebec responded at 13:15 before Tkachuk potted a rebound goal just under two minutes later. Luke Kunin (Chesterfield, Mo.) and Zach Werenski (Grosse Pointe, Mich.) recorded helpers on the play. Matthews made it a 5-1 game at 15:43, swatting the puck out of mid-air on his backhand. Christian Fischer (Wayne, Ill.), who had the initial shot on goal, and Brendan Warren (Carleton, Mich.) were credited with assists.
White notched his second of the night while on a two-man advantage 1:19 into the final frame. Noah Hanifin (Norwood, Mass.) and Bracco assisted. Michael Floodstrand (Hinsdale, Ill.) joined the scoring parade at 5:36, burying a pass from Luke Kirwan (Dewitt, N.Y.). Tkachuk scored his second goal, an unassisted marker, at 9:21 and Jack Roslovic (Columbus, Ohio) capped the scoring for Team USA with a power-play marker at 14:51. Dennis Yan (Troy, Mich.) and Joseph Masonius (Spring Lake, N.J.) chipped in on the final goal.
Michael Lackey (Washington, D.C.) made 19 saves for Team USA in the win, while Tremblay and Callum Booth combined to block 37 shots for Quebec in the loss.
The U.S. National Under-17 Team will next compete in the title game at the 2014 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge tomorrow (Jan. 4). Team USA will face Canada's Team Pacific at Centre 200 in Sydney, Nova Scotia beginning at 4 p.m. EST.
Matthew Tkachuk (2 goals, 1 assist)
Pascal Aquin (1 goal)