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Hockey Canada logo (Larry MacDougal/CP)
Hockey Canada logo (Larry MacDougal/CP)

Canada crowned under-18 hockey champions Add to ...

Canada has ended four years of American dominance at the world under-18 men’s hockey championship.

Frederik Gauthier’s second-period goal stood as the winner as Canada rallied past the United States 3-2 to win the world title.

The Americans had a 2-1 lead at the midway point of the game and outshot the Canadians for all three periods 35-12.

“The U.S. are defending champions and they have been in this tournament for four years,” said assistant coach Jody Hull. “I think we were a bit nervous at the beginning and we weren’t able to get out of it but we stuck with it, we stayed with what our focus was and stayed on the process.

“When we got opportunities we seemed to capitalize on them and our goaltender played great early to keep us in the game. That’s what it’s all about — a solid team effort from top to bottom.”

Philippe Desrosiers stopped 33 shots in Canada’s net for the win.

“He was awesome,” said Hull. “He was awesome early when they were coming at us, I think at one point it was 6-0 or 7-0 on shots on net. He was very solid and calming influence back there for us. He gave us the opportunity to get the big victory today.”

Laurent Dauphin and Madison Bowey also scored for Canada, while Nick Baptiste had a pair of assists.

Connor Clifton and Mike McCarron gave the United States a 2-1 lead midway through the second period before Bowey tied the game 12:48 into the period.

Dauphin started the game-tying play when he carried the puck down the left wing and behind the goal-line, skating toward the net.

He then centred the puck to Bowey, who was skating in from the slot. Although American goaltender Thatcher Demko stopped his initial shot, Bowey whacked at the puck a few times to push it across the goal-line.

“He’s a skilled guy that has great speed,” said Hull of Dauphin. “He made a nice, great play on his goal and he made an even nicer play on the pass to Bowey, sucking the guy down and making him commit and then making the pass.

“Just another guy stepping up in a big game.”

Demko made nine saves in net for the U.S.

Baptiste setup the winner when he carried the puck down the right wing, and passed it back to a trailing Gauthier.

Gauthier corralled the puck at the top of the slot and then wired a wrist shot past Demko to give Canada a 3-2 lead with 3:34 left in the second.

Although he was kept off the scoresheet in the final, Connor McDavid was named the tournament’s most valuable player after leading all scorers with 14 points.

The game was held at the Bolshoy Ice Dome where the hockey events will be held at the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

“This is an awesome facility. It’s massive,” said Hull. “It’s just like an NHL rink back home. Maybe not so much with the seating, but the amenities, how they’ve set it up underneath for easy access for the athletes. The dressing rooms are big and very convenient to manoeuvre around.

“It’s a beautiful arena. It’s a spectacular thing when you drive up, especially at night when the roof’s all lit up in different colours. It’s quite the building.”

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