PLYMOUTH, Mich. – Sam Steel (Sherwood Park, Alta./Regina, WHL) and Jonah Gadjovich (Whitby, Ont./Owen Sound, OHL) scored to make it a one-goal game in the dying minutes, but Canada came up short in a 7-5 loss to the U.S. on Saturday in the finale of Canada’s National Junior Team Sport Chek Summer Development Camp.
Steel finished with a goal and two assists for the Canadians, who cut a 6-3 deficit to 6-5 with just over six minutes to go before the Americans added an empty-net goal to cap the scoring.
The U.S. opened the scoring on the power play when Joey Anderson redirected a Patrick Harper shot from the point, but Jordan Kyrou (Toronto, Ont./Sarnia, OHL) equalized for Canada with a man-advantage marker of his own, finishing a cross-ice feed from Steel.
Givani Smith (Toronto, Ont./Guelph, OHL) gave the Canadians their first lead at 16:39, banking a shot off a skate and past American goaltender Joseph Woll, but Adam Fox ripped a shot past netminder Carter Hart (Sherwood Park, Alta./Everett, WHL) just 43 seconds late to send the game to the first intermission tied 2-2.
Anderson added his second of the game on another power play just 83 seconds into the second period, and Kailer Yamamoto got behind the Canadian defence to make it a two-goal game at 9:14.
Pierre-Luc Dubois (Sainte-Agathe-des-Monts, Que./Blainville-Boisbriand, QMJHL) got one back for Canada before the end of the middle frame, getting his stick on a set-up from Taylor Raddysh (Caledon, Ont./Erie, OHL) to make it a 4-3 game after 40 minutes.
Just as they did in the second period, the Americans struck quickly in the third; Patrick Harper danced into the Canadian zone and picked the top corner past Dylan Wells (St. Catharines, Ont./Peterborough, OHL) on the power play just 48 seconds after the puck dropped.
Ryan Poehling added the fourth U.S. power play goal at 6:42, giving the Americans their biggest lead of the game at 6-3 with 13:18 to go, but the Canadians refused to roll over.
Steel was first at 11:47, hammering a one-timer past Woll from the top of the circle, and Gadjovich batted in the 6-5 goal at 13:27, setting up a wild finish.
But the comeback was not to be, and Anderson finished his hat trick into the empty net with 47 seconds left.
“It’s a short-term kind of thing and you have to come together as fast as possible. We were down and came back, but didn’t get the result we wanted; but it just shows we’re a resilient group of guys. I still think we did alot of the right things that we think will win a championship. I think if we focus on these things, try to improve and try and earn a spot in December, [I think] we’ll have a good team.”
– Sam Steel, 1 goal, 2 assists in the loss
“I thought the games against Finland and Swedes were as intense. Iit’s a good place to be having a summer camp like this because it’s four good teams and it shows. It also prepares us for Christmas time because that’s where we want to be.”
– Dominique Ducharme on what he saw from camp
Brad McEwen, Program of Excellence head scout and his group, along with input from coaches and general managers from across the Canadian Hockey League, will continue to evaluate players once they return to their home clubs, looking to put together the best Canadian talent for the 2018 IIHF World Junior Championship in Buffalo, N.Y., Dec. 26 to Jan. 5, 2018.