Rock­ets’ Kor­czak play­ing for gold with Canada at Hlinka Gret­zky Cup Kelowna de­fence­man as­sists on con­tro­ver­sial ty­ing goal in semi­fi­nal win over U.S., to face Swe­den in tonight’s fi­nal

Penticton Herald - - SPORTS -

ED­MON­TON (CP) — An ad­min­is­tra­tive de­ci­sion by the or­ga­niz­ers of the Hlinka Gret­zky Cup ended up send­ing Canada to the tour­na­ment’s gold-medal game.

Josh Wil­liams scored twice, in­clud­ing the over­time win­ner, as Canada ad­vanced to the fi­nal of the un­der-18 hockey tour­na­ment thanks to a con­tro­ver­sial 6-5 vic­tory over the United States on Fri­day night.

Canada was cred­ited with a goal on a shot by Dy­lan Cozens just as time ex­pired in the third pe­riod.

Cozens took a feed from Bowen Byram, who got an ini­tial pass from de­fence part­ner Kaedan Kor­czak as a trio of bud­ding WHL stars con­nected for the equal­izer.

Kor­czak plays for the Kelowna Rock­ets, Byram for the Van­cou­ver Giants and Cozens for the Leth­bridge Hur­ri­canes.

With no video re­play avail­able at the tour­na­ment, the goal stood, send­ing the game to over­time. Wil­liams put away the win­ner 1:44 into the ex­tra pe­riod.

“Prior to the com­pe­ti­tion, at the direc­torate meet­ing, it was de­cided there would be no video re­view be­cause the three venues be­ing used don’t all have that ca­pac­ity,” said Hockey Canada pres­i­dent and CEO Tom Ren­ney. “In the best in­ter­est of con­sis­tency and fair­ness through­out all three venues, it was de­cided by all teams — and signed off on — that the of­fi­cials on the ice would make that call, as they did tonight.

“I feel for ev­ery­one — for our kids too. They know what hap­pened.”

Alexis Lafre­niere, Jamieson Rees and Xavier Par­ent also scored for the Cana­di­ans in the semi­fi­nal. Ni­cholas Robertson, with three goals for the hat trick, Aaron Hu­glen and Luke To­porowski replied for the U.S.

“It’s hard for the guys. They played hard and bat­tled valiantly and I think they de­served bet­ter. But we have to take the re­sult and be men about it. It’s dif­fi­cult for these young kids, though,” said U.S. head coach Cory Laylin.

“It’s a bit­ter pill to swal­low, for sure,” added USA Hockey’s John Van­bies­brouck. “It was de­ter­mined be­fore the tour­na­ment that they weren’t go­ing to use video re­view, so we have to ac­cept our fate.”

Canada will play Swe­den, who they beat 4-3 in their round-robin fi­nale Wed­nes­day, in tonight’s gold-medal game.

“For sure, if it would have been us, we would have been frus­trated,” said Canada head coach An­dre Tourigny of their ty­ing goal be­ing al­lowed. “It was a re­ally tight call. The rules are the rules, and the call is the call.

“Our fo­cus now is what we can do bet­ter in the fi­nal.”

Canada has won gold 21 times and medalled 24 times in the 27-year his­tory of the tour­na­ment, in­clud­ing win­ning gold in nine of the last 10 years. Canada won gold last sum­mer in the Czech Re­pub­lic, with Rock­ets for­ward Nolan Foote a mem­ber of that team. The U.S. will face Rus­sia for bronze. Against the Amer­i­cans, Canada took its first lead 3:31 into the third pe­riod when Wil­liams (Medicine Hat, WHL) scored his first of the game on a power play to go ahead 4-3 in the back-and-forth barn­burner.

The Cana­dian Press

Team Canada de­fence­man Kaedan Kor­czak, of the WHL’s Kelowna Rock­ets, chips the puck past the United States’ Mike Koster (3) dur­ing first-pe­riod ac­tion in their Hlinka Gret­zky Cup semi­fi­nal on Fri­day night in Ed­mon­ton. Canada won 6-5 in over­time.

The Cana­dian Press

Team Canada play­ers, from left, Bowen Byram, Xavier Par­ent, cap­tain Alexis Lafre­niere and Kirby Dach cel­e­brate a sec­ond-pe­riod goal dur­ing Fri­day’s dra­matic 6-5 vic­tory over the United States in their Hlinka Gret­zky Cup semi­fi­nal in Ed­mon­ton.

Kor­czak

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