Americans rally to win outdoor world juniors game

Canada's Dillon Dube, right, and United States' Adam Fox collide during the third period in an IIHF world junior hockey championships outdoor game in Orchard Park, N.Y., Friday, Dec. 29, 2017. (Mark Blinch/The Canadian Press via AP)

By JOHN WAWROW

AP Hockey Writer

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — Brady Tkachuk and Kieffer Bellows found enough traction in the snow to score shootout goals and cap the United States’ 4-3 victory over Canada on Friday in international hockey’s first outdoor game.

Tkachuk and Ron Perunovich scored 34 seconds apart in the third period to rally the United States from a 3-1 deficit in the world junior championship game played in a steady snowfall at the NFL Buffalo Bills’ New Era Field. Casey Mittlestadt set up all three goals for the United States (1-1-1), which rebounded from a 3-2 loss to Slovakia less than 24 hours earlier.

Bellows also scored in regulation, and goalie Jake Oettinger stopped 19 shots through overtime and all four he faced in the shootout.

Boris Katchouk, Cale Makar and Dillon Dube scored for Canada (2-0-1), which has lost four straight meeting to the Americans and blown two-goal leads in three straight meetings. That includes a 5-4 shootout loss to the Americans in the gold-medal game played at Montreal in January.

Carter Hart stopped 32 shots through overtime.

In the only other tournament game, St. Louis Blues draft pick Klim Kostin scored twice in leading Russia (2-1) to a 5-2 win over Belarus (0-3).

By earning a point for the shootout loss, Canada still has the edge in the Group A standings being two points ahead of the Americans. The Canadians can clinch the top spot with a win in their preliminary round finale against Denmark (0-3) today.

The United States closes against Finland on Sunday.

The game attracted a crowd of 44,592 in more than doubling the world juniors’ attendance record of 20,380 set during Canada’s 2009 gold-medal victory over Sweden at Ottawa. The crowd on Friday appeared evenly split with American and Canadian fans, many of whom spent much of the game standing. As night fell, a red glow emanated from the middle section of the stadium, where rows of heaters hang above the seats.

The game-time temperature was in the mid-teens Fahrenheit.

Flurries began falling during the national anthems, and the snow fell harder as time went on. It began falling so heavily that the surface had to be shoveled at each commercial break starting late in the second period.

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