The Sudbury Wolves of the Ontario Hockey League and Waterloo Black Hawks of the United States Hockey League rebounded with impressive victories Wednesday in round-robin action at the 2012 Junior Club World Cup in Omsk, Russia.
The Black Hawks (2-1) scored four unanswered goals bridging the second and third periods to overcome a 3-1 deficit on the way to a 5-3 victory against the Norway National Team at Omsk Arena. Meanwhile, at Blinov Arena, Joshua Leivo struck for three goals and one assist to lead Sudbury (2-1) to a 7-2 decision over the Danish National Team. Both Waterloo and Sudbury were coming off losses on Tuesday.
Following a sluggish start to the game, Waterloo began to pick up the pace midway through the second period when Ryan Papa scored to pull his team within 3-2 before Vince Hinostroza knocked home a power-play goal with 11 seconds remaining to even the score. Hinostroza, a native of Bartlett, Ill., was selected in the sixth round (No. 169) by the Chicago Blackhawks at the NHL Draft in June.
Waterloo opened a 4-3 lead 2:43 into the third when Zach Stepan fired in a shot. Stepan, the 6-foot, 166-pound cousin of New York Rangers forward Derek Stepan, was chosen by the Nashville Predators in the fourth round (No. 112) of the 2012 NHL Draft. Hinostroza closed out the scoring with his second goal of the game on an empty-netter with 24 seconds left.
"I thought our guys thought it would be easy and we gave them too much ice and made some mental errors," Waterloo coach P.K. O'Handley said. "I thought our compete level wasn't where it needed to be, but I thought we got to pucks in the second half of the game. We got out with a win that was very, very important. Hopefully it was a good lesson going into tomorrow."
Waterloo faces a must-win situation Thursday against the hometown Omsk Hawks. The winner will advance to the tournament semifinals, set to begin Saturday.
"I talked to [the team] between the second and third, and told them we have to graduate from young players to being relevant," O'Handley said. "We can't continually say we're the youngest [team]. We have talented players throughout the lineup. From a learning standpoint, [Wednesday's victory] was good, but we must match that compete level in our game against Omsk on Thursday."
Leivo, who has spent the past two seasons with the Wolves, recorded the natural hat trick to open the third period. After connecting for an unassisted goal at 1:08, Leivo converted a feed from Justin Sefton with his team shorthanded at 10:49, giving Sudbury a commanding 5-1 advantage.
Leivo then scored his second shorthanded goal 32 seconds later. Sudbury's Mathew Campagna, a first-round pick of the Wolves in the 2010 OHL Priority Selection, dished out three assists. Derek Schoenmakers chipped in with a pair of goals in the triumph.
Sudbury (2-1) will next face defending 2012 Swedish champion Linkoping on Thursday at Blinov Arena.
Waterloo is competing in Group A along with teams from Belarus, Czech Republic, Norway and host Russia. Sudbury is within Group B with Denmark, Finland, Latvia and Sweden. During round-robin play, teams are scheduled to play each team within their respective group once. The two clubs finishing with the best record in each group advance to the semifinal round.
The Junior Club World Cup is in its second year. It featured teams from eight countries in 2011, and for the first time this year, a USHL and an OHL franchise. The tournament is designed to match top teams from the best junior hockey leagues from around the world.
Follow Mike Morreale on Twitter at: @mike_morreale