World Juniors 2014 Game Recap: Canada vs USA - Praise Fucale!

Bruce Bennett

What started out looking like a Canadian loss in the making turned out to be a huge victory.

Predictably, the Americans started the game off on a furious pace and put Zachary Fucale to the test 16 times in the first period. Fucale stood tall, keeping the Canadians in the game. He also pulled off a highlight reel save.

The USA dominated the period, and did not allow any high scoring chances until the final minutes of the 1st. The Matteau-Copp-Fasching line was flying for the Americans, and seemed to create scoring chances at will. Not only was Team USA faster, but they played a puck possession system which completely frustrated Canadian defenders.

Thankfully for Canada, and thanks to Fucale, the period ended in a 0-0 tie.

The second period was a completely different tale, as Canada outshot the Americans 11-6. Fucale's big glove save in the first seemed to inspire Team Canada, as they carried the play after the huge stop.

Unfortunately for Fucale, he was confused by some good behind the net presence by Riley Barber, and allowed a wrap-around goal early in the period. This would be the only negative blip on the Canadian radar.

Anthony Mantha, ever the offensive presence, managed to dangle the American defenders and send the puck to Nic Petan as he was falling to the ice, for an easy tap in goal.

Canada countered the American speed by working off the cycle, and getting the puck down low. It's clear that the Americans are much better skaters, but Canada's intensity was too much for Team USA in the second period.

Canada also increased their physical presence in the game, managing to throw their weight around versus a seemingly stronger American team.

The third period started in much the same way the second went, with Canada applying a strong cycle game to counter the American speed.

Young phenom Connor McDavid gave Canada the lead on a strong play in front of the net. Kerdiles ran interference on his own goalie, and allowed the 16 year old to pounce on his own rebound.

Ottawa draft pick Curtis Lazar gave Canada an insurance goal with 15 minutes left in the third period, which seemed to be enough to put the game out of reach for the Americans, however Matt Pelech had other plans.

Fucale failed to secure the puck on a relatively routine save, and Pelech pushed it into the Canadian net to cut the Canadian lead to one . Steffan Matteau was credited with the goal.

Zachary Fucale was clearly the best player in the game, keeping Canada from getting blown out early, and stopping endless odd-man rushes that were created by Team USA's superior speed. He saved the win by stopping Carrick on a breakaway in the dying minutes of the game.

It's no surprise that Fucale is now the bonafide #1 goalie for Team Canada, and he probably should have been from the start.

Canada will most likely play Switzerland in the quarter finals, avoiding the stronger opponent in Team Russia, who will face the Americans.

The statistical game summary is available here.

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