CANADA EAST WRAPS UP FIRST PLACE WITH WILD WIN
Monday, November 2, 2009CANADA EAST WRAPS UP FIRST PLACE WITH WILD WIN
SUMMERSIDE, P.E.I. - After two wild wins in as many days, Canada East has earned three days off at the 2009 World Junior A Challenge.
Taking to the ice less than 24 hours after their remarkable comeback win over the United States, the Canadians scored early and often against Belarus on Monday night, turning back push after push by the Europeans in a 7-5 victory.
The win leaves Canada East (1-1-0-0) with an insurmountable lead atop Group B, and ensures it of a spot in Friday's late semifinal (7 p.m. AT). Belarus (0-0-0-1), which was the last team to make its 2009 debut, will face the U.S. on Tuesday (7 p.m. AT) in a battle for second place in the group.
After needing almost 40 minutes to reach five shots on goal against the Americans, Canada East reached that mark within the opening five minutes of Tuesday's game, and took an early two-goal lead on markers from Sebastien Gingras and Alex Guptill.
Evgeniy Nagachev got the Belarussians on the board just short of the midway point of the first period, but Simon Bessette knocked a rebound past Belarus goaltender Dzmitry Volkau before the end of the frame to send Canada East to the dressing room up by a pair.
The Belarus power play came alive in the second period, led by Siarhei Drozd, who extended his lead atop the all-time World Junior A Challenge goal scoring list with a pair of goals in the period, both coming with the man advantage. Siarhei Maliauka also converted on the power play in the period for Belarus, giving it four goals on six opportunities through two periods.
Not to be outdone, the Canadians scored a pair of power plays goals of their own in period two, with Jordan Mustard and Andrew Calof getting in on the action.
Mustard's goal spelled the end of the night for Volkau, who allowed four goals on 11 shots before getting the hook.
The Canadians adopted a bend-but-don't-break strategy over the final 30 minutes, three times allowing Belarus to climb within two goals, but never letting it get any closer. Jordan Ruby made the saves he had to make, turning away 22 shots to earn the victory.
David Pratt and Drozd, who wrapped up his second WJAC hat trick, traded goals in the third period to round out the scoring.