Its' 1-1 in Saskatoon after 20 minutes, with the pool's top teams playing an excellent period of hockey as expected.
Canada jumped on the board early with Stefan Della Rovere tipping home a shot from the point past USA goalie Jack Campbell for the early lead.
It didn't last long though, as USA forward Philip McRae, son of former NHL toughguy Basil McRae and a 2nd-round pick of the St. Louis Blues in 2008, slammed home a rebound on the power play to knot it up. It was his first goal of the tournament and the first marker to beat Canada goalie Jake Allen, who shut out Latvia and Switzerland previously.
The teams played an intense, uptempo period with both squads demonstrating their superior skill and a willingness to open it up and not be conservative.
Cam Fowler has had a solid showing thus far, continuing to keep it simple, yet making some good plays with long, crisp breakout passes and a blocked shot that led to a Chris Kreider odd-man break with Jeremy Morin. Morin couldn't get the puck past Allen, but he and Kreider demonstrated the kind of ood judgment and killer instinct to rush the puck the other way and get a good scoring chance.
Taylor Hall has been all over the ice as expected and even Jordan Caron has had several shots and made good decisions with and without the puck. His line has the lone goal for Canada, and Caron get the secondary assist on it.
Campbell has settled in nicely after giving up the early goal and is still showing off those quick feet and rapid recovery from the butterfly.
Let's hope this beauty of a hockey game continues...
UPDATE: Wowwww...Jordan Schroeder just scored a shortie at 9:08 to put USA up for the time being, 2-1. He was accelerating to top speed when he took the pass from Tyler Johnson and blazed up the ice on a breakaway, beating Allen through the five-hole. He is now two points shy of Jeremy Roenick on the all-time scoring list in the WJC for USA players with 23 points.
UPDATE: Edmonton prospect Jordan Eberle just tied it with a nice move to get behind the defender, slide past Campbell across the goalmouth and deposit the backhand. 2-2 with about 8 minutes left in the 2nd.
UPDATE: Kreider just had a penalty shot attempt go wide after Colten Teubert had pulled him down on what looked like a pretty questionable penalty shot call to me. Tripping? Yes. Penalty shot? Hello, momentum for Canada. 2-2 with 7 to play in the middle frame.
UPDATE: After Kyle Palmieri was denied on a breakaway with about 5 minutes remaining, Tyler Johnson sucked the life out of the building with another shorthanded goal in the second period's final minute. He chipped the rebound of a Jerry D'Amigo shot over Allen after D'Amigo was able to get a step on Alex Pietrangelo, gain the zone and fire a high shot from the left circle. Allen couldn't control the rebound and Johnson went straight to the net and popped it over Allen's shoulder. 3-2 USA after 40 minutes. Strap on the seatbelts, folks- it's going to be one crazy third period. Canada looks like they are missing defenseman Calvin de Haan tonight, who was injured in the last game. The 12th overall pick in last June's draft by the Islanders is an underrated defender in addition to being an outstanding puck mover and key to the transition from D to offense.
UPDATE: 1 minute into the 3rd...Canada on the PP...Taylor Hall misses the net twice after two great moves, the second of which completely fooled Campbell out of the U.S. net. The Americans , thanks to Derek Stepan's strip near the blueline, then transitioned the other way and Danny Kristo finished it off with a shot from inside the left circle that beat Allen (one he should have had, probably). 4-2, USA. Not a shortie, but just seconds after Canada's man advantage expired.
UPDATE: Eberle fires the crowd up with his second of the night (fifth of the tourney) at 10:03 when he deflects a point shot past Campbell, who never had a chance. That line of Eberle, Brayden Schenn and Luke Adam has given the U.S. fits all night. Schenn made it all happen by protecting the puck behind the net and getting it back out to the point for the shot. 4-3, USA with 10 minutes to play. And, the "CAAAAAAAMPBELL" chants rain down from the stands...
UPDATE: Whoomp...there it is. Pietrangelo makes up for all of his defensive gaffes tonight with a Canada shorthanded goal after picking off an errant pass in the neutral zone, skating in on the right side and firing a high wrister over Campbell's glove. The joint is jumping, 4-4 with 3 minutes left.
UPDATE: Goal! Canada! No, wait- what just happened? Goal waived off. Still 4-4 with 2 minutes left in regulation.
UPDATE: Buzzer sounds...now on to overtime. Canada has showed a lot of moxie in coming back like that. And, Campbell made a late save on none other than Hall, so this game can go either way. Up next, 5 minutes of 4-on-4 action.
UPDATE: OT is done. Two players you wanted to have the puck on their sticks in sudden death for each team- Eberle and Kristo- denied by Campbell and Allen in the final 25 seconds to preserve the tie. Going to shootout. Winner gets a bye to the semifinal, while the loser plays Finland in the quarterfinal on Saturday.
UPDATE: Game over, Canada wins, 5-4. Heckuva comeback. The first four shooters scored- Eberle, Nazem Kadri for Canada and Kristo and Morin for USA. But then, Brandon Kozun beat Campbell cleanly with a wrister and Schroeder could not reciprocate, Allen making a beauty save.
USA faces the Finns Saturday, but they get a moral victory tonight in knowing they can compete with Canada.
This. Was. A. Great. Hockey. Game.