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
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.
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.
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.