The first semi-final game of the 2007 World Junior Championships in Leksand was decided in a shootout. Seven shots for each team were necessary to determine a winner. Jonathan Toews (CHI) shot three times and succeeded on each of them. After having used a wrist shot the first two times, he made a move on the third one to beat Jeff Frazee (NJ).
Peter Mueller (PHX) also had three shots in the shootout. He scored on the first two times with a wrist shot and tried unsuccessfully to go between the legs of Carey Price (MTL) on the last one.
“The feeling is fantastic, I did practice so much this situation back home on the ice made by my father,” said Toews after the game. “I didn’t plan anything, I just reacted to the situation,” he added.
“I’m tired, I’m excited, it is a mix of emotions,” said a breathless Price after the game.
USA had a great chance to win the game in the overtime on a power play. Playing four against three, they shot many times on Price, but the Canadian goaltender just didn’t want to give up a goal.
USA had 12 shots in overtime compared to 2 for Canada.
As usual, many hundred Canadian fans were cheering in the Ejendals Arena for their team. No goals were scored in the first period which did not offer a lot of action — both teams seemed very cautious and a little bit nervous.
Early in the first period, the Canadians had a power play opportunity while Justin Abdelkader (DET) was sent to the penalty box for elbowing. But the Canadian power-play units weren’t a real threat for USA.
At 5:09, Price made a huge save on a close shot by Ryan Stoa (COL). A moment later, Price, again, made a couple of good saves while Toews got two minutes for hooking. Later in that period, Frazee was also very solid on a couple of dangerous shots from Canadian players on a power-play situation for the latter.
Shots were 11-9 in favor of Team USA.
USA takes the lead
Team USA opened the score at 5:04 of the second period, a power-play goal scored by Taylor Chorney (EDM), assisted by Erik Johnson (STL). From the corner, Chorney tried to reach Nate Gerbe (BUF) on the side of the net but the puck hit the skate of Marc Staal (NYR) and went into the net. Price had no chance on the play.
About one minute later, Frazee made a huge pad stop on Bryan Little (ATL) who had a mostly open net.
In the 16th minute, Frazee stopped Steve Downie (PHI) who was left alone with him on a two-on-one situation.
Only 13 shots were made on the second period, six for Canada and seven for USA.
Canada is back
The US team dug its own hole while taking three penalties in the first half of the third period. Luc Bourdon (VAN) finally tied the game at 12:19 on a power play, his team’s ninth at this point. He scored with a blast from the blue line. Kris Russell (CLB) and Toews assisted.
The third period ended 1-1. Overall, the Canadians largely dominated that period. Price was never seriously threatened. Team Canada outshot USA 10-5.
That led the game in overtime. In this fourth period, Price made a great save on a hard shot from Jack Johnson (LA).
Canada only got to the shootout because Price was simply outstanding in overtime. He blocked all 12 shots during the 10 minutes of that period. Frazee faced only two shots.
– Before the game, Canada and USA had met 30 times, with a record of 22-5-3 in favor of Canada.
– The last time that USA has beaten Canada was in Helsinki, in the gold medal game in 2005.
– Canada has given only four goals in four games in the round robin, including two shootouts.
– The Canadian roster includes 20 drafted players (11 first-rounders) while the USA Team has 18 drafted players. (7 first-rounders).
– Canada has two 2007 eligible prospects – defenseman Karl Alzner and forward Sam Gagner.
– USA has three 2007 eligible prospects – forward Patrick Kane, Bill Sweatt and James VanRiemsdyk.
– Before the game, Price had the second best save percentage (.966) of the goalies in the tournament , just a notch under Russian Semen Varlamov (WAS) who recorded a .969 before the Russia-Sweden game.
Copyright 2007 Hockey’s Future. Do not reprint or otherwise duplicate without permission of the editorial staff.