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USA Comes Up One Short Against Canada

by Adam Kimelman / Florida Panthers

Canada got a pair of goals 2:19 apart early in the third period to rally for a 3-2 win against the United States in the finale of preliminary-round play in Group A at the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship.

Nicolas Petan, Connor McDavid and Curtis Lazar scored for Canada, and goalie Zachary Fucale stopped 24 shots.

The win gave Canada first place in Group A and a spot in the quarterfinals Thursday against the Switzerland. Canada has beaten the U.S. seven straight times in preliminary-round play, a stretch that dates to the 1999 World Junior Championship.

Riley Barber and Stefan Matteau scored for the Americans and goalie Jon Gillies made 21 saves. The U.S. finished second in the group and will play Russia on Thursday in the quarterfinals.

The game was tied 1-1 after two periods but Canada wasted little time continuing a surge that started in the second period.

McDavid, the 16-year-old sensation touted as a candidate to be the first player picked in the 2015 NHL Draft, had seen his ice time cut due to a few penalties. But he stepped up big Tuesday. Gillies stopped Joshua Morrissey's drive and then got a piece of Bo Horvat's shot in close on the rebound. The U.S. couldn't clear and McDavid was able to pull the puck out of traffic and score at 3:54.

Moments later Lazar capped a great piece of puck movement on a Canada power play at 6:13. Jonathan Drouin dragged the puck around a sliding Connor Carrick to create space and sent a soft pass to Lazar, the Ottawa Senators' draft pick, camped in front for a tap-in.

The U.S. got back within a goal with 2:45 remaining on Matteau's goal. Hudson Fasching carried the puck into the Canadian end and slid it over to Matteau who fired a shot that went off Fucale's glove and bounced off the stick of a Canada player and into the net.

American coach Don Lucia pulled Gillies with one minute left, but despite a furious late push the U.S. couldn't find the tying goal.

After a scoreless first period that saw the United States out shoot Canada 13-6, Barber opened the scoring 3:29 into the second period. The teams were skating 4-on-4 when Nicolas Kerdiles' shot from the right side was blocked by Canada's Adam Pelech. The puck bounced off the endboards behind the net and as it was bouncing back in front American defenseman Jaccob Slavin beat Horvat to it and tipped it back behind the goal to Barber. With Fucale looking the wrong way, Barber stepped in front and stuffed it inside the post for his fourth of the tournament.

Canada tied the game on Petan's third goal in two games and fourth of the tournament at 12:19. Canada's Charles Hudon was first on the forecheck on a dump-in deep in the American end. He forced Matthew Grzelcyk to spin the puck back up the wall along the right side and Anthony Mantha beat Slavin to it. The Detroit Red Wings prospect carried the puck to the net and was upended in the slot. The puck rolled off his stick to Petan, who had just jumped on the ice, and he scored into a nearly empty net as Gillies over-committed to stop Mantha.

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