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U18 Worlds: Raphael Lavoie leads Canada over the USA

Steve Kingsman/HHOF-IIHF Images

-MAGNITOGORSK, Russia

Raphael Lavoie put his skills on international display on Thursday at the IIHF U18 World Championships. Lavoie was named Canada’s Player of the Game after he scored two goals to lead his country to an upset win over the defending champions from the USA.

GAME SUMMARY

The Mooseheads forward who is there as an underage player scored the game-winning goal with 8:53 remaining in regulation as he cut to the net and made a perfect deflection on a hard crossing pass from Liam Foudy of the London Knights to put Canada ahead 5-4. His Halifax teammate Jared McIsaac also earned an assist on the winning goal. Lavoie picked up his first goal of the game late in the second period to give Canada a 4-2 lead at that point but the Americans were able to fight back and tie the score 4-4.

The USA opened the scoring about five minutes after the drop of the puck on a Joel Farabee goal but Rimouski rising star Alexis Lafreniere scored a highlight reel shorthanded tally to tie the game before the period ended. Canada fell behind 2-1 in the second period when highly touted 2018 NHL draft prospect Oliver Wahlstrom notched his first of two goals on the day on the power play. Wahlstrom was named the Player of the Game for USA. Foudy pulled Canada even before big defenceman Kevin Bahl of the Ottawa 67’s put them in front 3-2 when he was left unattended and pinched in from the point to beat American goalie Drew Deridder five-hole. Lavoie made it 4-2 at the 18:04 mark after he forced a turnover at the blue line and went to the net for a tip-in goal.

The final period of regulation began with the Canadians ahead 4-2 but USA fought back on Wahlstrom’s second goal and a perfect top shelf shot from in tight by young star Jack Hughes. Rimouski goalie Colten Ellis who hails from Port Hawkesbury, NS didn’t give Hughes much to shoot at but the potential top pick in the 2019 NHL draft placed the puck perfectly over his shoulder, hitting the Gatorade bottle in the process. That tied the game 4-4 but Lavoie answered right back 1:32 later with the game-winner. Niagara’s Akil Thomas sealed the victory with an empty net goal.

It’s only the second regulation victory for Canada over the United States in their last 15 meetings at the IIHF U18 World Championship.

Next up for Canada is a meeting with Belarus tomorrow at 11:30am Atlantic. The team will play four preliminary round games, all at Arena Metallburg.

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