The battle for the Group A came down to a matchup between USA and Canada. The USA had been dominant in the tournament coming into this game. The USA had not trailed in three previous matchups coming into the game against Canada. Canada meanwhile had struggled coming into the matchup against the USA. Canada needed a comeback victory against Slovenia to have a shot at first place in Group A. Team USA had not defeated Canada in the prelims since 1998 however the USA did defeat Canada in the semifinals in 2013.
This game would not disappoint. Team USA dominated the first period of play. Team USA would pepper goalie Zachary Fucale with shot after shot. Fucale would be up to the task in the first period as the score was knotted at zero. Blackhawks prospects Ryan Hartman and Vince Hinostroza would both have a good period, putting many shots on Fucale.
The second period would be dominated by Team Canada as the momentum of the game shifted. Team USA would start off the scoring with a wrap around goal by USA Captain Riley Barber. The USA lead 1-0. The lead would not last long as Canada’s Nicolas Petan tied the score at 1. The score remained tied 1-1 after two periods.
Canada continued to ride their momentum from the second period into the third period. 16 year old sensation Connor McDavid put team Canada up 2-1 with a huge goal. McDavid is being touted as the consensus first overall pick in the 2015 NHL draft. McDavid goal would not be the last goal Canada scored. Team USA who committed several penalties during the game would final themselves down 3-1 after a Curtis Lazar goal.
Despite being down two goals, the USA would make a late push. Chicago Native, Stefan Matteau, New Jersey Devils prospect, scored a late goal for the USA to make the score 3-2. Team Canada would survive late volleys from the USA to win 3-2.
Blackhawks prospects Ryan Hartman and Vince Hinostroza did not have any points in the loss to Canada.
In other World Junior Championship news: Sweden defeated Russia 3-2. Sweden got goals from Jacob de La Rose, Andreas Johnson, Nick Sorensen. The Czech Republic defeated Slovakia 4-1. The Czech Republic got goals from David Pastrnak, Martin Prochazka, Petr Sidlik and Ondrej Kase.
The quarterfinals will start on January 2nd.