Overtime loss ends Canada East's medal hunt at World Junior A Challenge

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Tina Comeau - The Vanguard

After twice having lead the game by two goals, not to mention outshooting their opponents 42-29, Canada East’s 5-4 overtime loss to Switzerland in Thursday’s quarterfinals at the World Junior A Challenge was a disappointing outcome for the team and fans at the Mariners Centre.

The Swiss scored the winning goal at 3:54 into sudden death overtime while on the powerplay after Canada East was given a holding penalty.

As the Switzerland players celebrated their win at centre ice, Canada East players were left to absorb the loss that knocked them out of the running for any shot at a medal in this tournament.

Instead Switzerland moves on to play USA in Friday evening’s semifinal at 8 p.m.

Russia, the winner of the other quarterfinal game, will play Canada West in the semis at 4 p.m. on Friday.

Switzerland had been first to score in the quarterfinal game on a goal by Michael Loosli (Dominik Senn). Taylor Best (Corey Kalk, Derian Plouffe) put Canada East on the scoreboard with a powerplay goal at 16:29 in the first period.

It was team captain Marly Quince (Jake Walman) that gave Canada East it’s first lead of the game in the second period on a powerplay goal at 3:07, which was the only scoring in the second period.

At even strength, Mike Soucier (Plouffe) gave Canada East it’s first of two two-goal leads in the game, scoring early in the third period at 1:52 for the 3-1 lead.

But Switzerland answered back at 4:05 with a powerplay goal scored by Luca Hischier (Zaccheo Dotti), shaving Canada East’s lead to 3-2.

Just under a minute later Canada East again extended its lead to two goals with another goal by Quince (Kelly Summers, Kalk) for the 4-2 lead. But the Swiss answered back quickly at 6:57 with a goal by Felix Girard (Kevin Dayer, David Wildhaber) to cut their opponents lead to 4-3.

Then at 9:32 an unassisted goal by Patrick Incir knotted the game at 4-4.

The Canada East coaching staff opted to shorten the bench early in the game, meaning hometown favourite Morgan Messenger, among other players, didn’t see much play, if any, in the third period.

Heading into overtime during a quarterfinal game marked a first for the World Junior A Challenge, although when it was announced that this game was making history in the tournament record books the pro-Canada crowd, understandably, opted not to applaud. In the stands some of the mothers of the players on Canada East could barely even bring themselves to look up at the ice. Instead they buried their faces in their hands.

The appropriate song choice that was selected heading into overtime was David Bowie and Queen’s Under Pressure.

Canada East and Switzerland started sudden death overtime playing 4-on-4 hockey until the holding penalty was handed to Canada East. Although goalie Jordan Piccolino made two big saves in the first half of Canada East’s penalty kill, a scramble in front of the net – which had also been Canada East’s undoing earlier in the game as far as how the Swiss scored some of its goals – Canada East couldn’t overcome the man advantage the Swiss had.

Maxim Mauerhofer was the winning goalie for Switzerland.

Canada East and the Czech Republic will play a consolation game in Liverpool at 7 p.m. on Saturday evening.

Geographic location: Canada East, Switzerland, USA Russia Czech Republic Liverpool

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