Despite being outshot 37-32, Canada's two-goal first period carried them to a big 2-1 victory over the USA at the 2013 IIHF World Junior Championship.
Canadian defenceman Tyler Wotherspoon has been rock solid for his country and has seen his role grow as the tournament has progressed. On Sunday, the coaching staff showed how much trust they have in the blueliner when they put him out at the most critical of the game - killing off a late American power play that could have forced overtime.
Wotherspoon was a plus-one against the Americans on Sunday. The Flames prospect did not record a point in the game but has two points (one goal, one assist) three games at the tournament.
2011 Flames draft pick Johnny Gaudreau had an excellent scoring opportunity in the first period when he went in on a breakaway but Malcom Subban stood tall for Canada. He put two shots on net.
Patrick Sieloff, Calgary's second round draft pick in 2012, also suited up in the North American clash. He played a steady game for the Americans and had an even rating against Canada.
Canada was down to 11 forwards due to the suspensions of Boone Jenner and JC Lipon. Ryan Strome, Mark McNeill and Nathan MacKinnon took turns centering Canada's fourth line. Both Jenner and Lipon will be available for Canada's clash with Russia tomorrow.
The Canadians gained a 1-0 lead at the 7:13 mark of the first period courtesy of Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. Three American players converged on Jonathan Huberdeau along the wall but the winger, leaving Nugent-Hopkins all alone at the top of the faceoff circle. Huberdeau was able to get the puck back to the 2011 first overall draft pick and he snapped a shot past John Gibson.
Ryan Strome gave Canada a two-goal cushion when he converted on Brett Ritchie's pass from behind the net. Anthony Camara also picked up an assist on the tally.
American defenceman Jacob Trouba scored a power play goal midway through the third period when his shot slipped through Subban's legs.
The USA ran into serious penalty trouble late in the game, taking four penalties within a four minute span. Canada had two-minute five-on-three power play in final five minutes of the regulation but were unable to find the back of the net.
Both teams are back in action tomorrow. Canada takes on Russia at 7:00 AM MT on TSN while the USA will take on Slovakia at 2:00 AM MT on TSN and the NHL Network.
CANADA'S LINES, DEFENSIVE PAIRINGS & GOALTENDER
Jonathan Huberdeau - Ryan Nugent-Hopkins - Mark Scheifele
Jonathan Drouin - Ryan Strome - Nathan MacKinnon
Philip Danault - Mark McNeill - Ty Rattie
Anthony Camara - Brett Ritchie
Scott Harrington - Dougie Hamilton
Morgan Rielly - Tyler Wotherspoon
Griffin Reinhart - Xavier Ouellet
USA'S LINES, DEFENSIVE PAIRINGS & GOALTENDER
Johnny Gaudreau - J.T. Miller - Rocco Grimaldi
Alex Galchenyuk - Sean Kuraly - Riley Barber
Blake Pietila - Cole Bardreau - Ryan Hartman
Mario Lucia - Vince Trocheck - Tyler Biggs
Mike Reilly - Seth Jones
Shayne Gostisbehere - Jacob Trouba
Jake McCabe - Connor Murphy