SAULT STE. MARIE, Ontario — Jake Pivonka (Woodridge, Ill.) erased Team USA deficits two times and Jacob Semik (Canton, Mich.) added the game-winning goal as the U.S. National Under-17 Team clipped Canada Red, 3-2, in its final game of the 2016 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge here today at the Essar Centre.
With the win, Team USA finished the tournament with a 2-1-0-2 (W-OTW-OTL-L) record for fifth place in the overall standings.
Neither team could find the back of the net in the opening 20 minutes, despite the U.S. outshooting Canada Red 16-6 and each team receiving a power-play opportunity.
Team USA controlled the play to start the second period, not allowing a shot on goal through the opening five minutes and successfully killing off a penalty.
At 12:36, Canada Red went on the man advantage after the U.S. was called for tripping. About a minute into the penalty kill, Canada Red had a breakaway attempt but goaltender Keegan Karki (Sartell, Minn.) made the save off his shoulder.
However, Ryan Merkley gave the Canadians a 1-0 lead shortly after when his shot from the blue line found its way through traffic at 13:56.
In the final two minutes of play in the period, Jonathan Gruden (Rochester, Mich.) almost evened the score but his shot from in close rang off the left post.
Just :46 into the third frame, Trevor Janicke (Maple Grove, Minn.) sent a pass to Pivonka from below the goal line, and Pivonka buried it to even the game at 1-1.
Canada Red restored its lead at 8:34 after Benoit-Olivier Groulx got his stick on a loose puck in front of the U.S. net.
With 5:41 to play, Pivonka tied the game again by gathering a loose puck at the left post, wrapping around the net, and banking it off a Canada Red defenseman. Just 2:50 later, Semik snapped a wrist shot from the left circle into the upper right corner of the net for the game-winner.
NOTES: Jake Pivonka was named the U.S. Player of the Game ... For more information on the U.S. National Under-17 Team competing at the 2016 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge, click here.
All games will take place at the Essar Centre in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario.