Colin White continued his impressive play at the international level, scoring two goals for the United States in their shootout win over Russia on Wednesday at the World Junior Hockey Championship semifinals.
With the victory, the Americans advance to the Gold Medal game for the first time since 2013, when a Johnny Gaudreau-led team won the title against Sweden. The US awaits the winner of the ongoing Canada vs. Sweden game.
It was sweet revenge for USA Hockey, which got knocked out of the World Juniors by Russia three years in a row. Thankfully, a group of collegians was able to prevent Russia from inflicting four years of pain upon the United States.
Russia took a 1-0 lead early, but Colin White tipped home a nothing shot by Clayton Keller that Russian goalie Ilya Samsonov is likely still kicking himself over:
Clayton Keller whips the puck on net and somehow ties it up for USA. Horrible goal for Samsonov to give up. pic.twitter.com/Gsm0Xn0h9i— Pete Blackburn (@PeteBlackburn) January 4, 2017
With the score tied 2-2 in the second period, Colin White struck again to give the Americans a 3-2 lead with a knuckleball that snuck through Samsonov:
Colin White gives USA the 3-2 lead pic.twitter.com/pwVOSbyG6q— Pete Blackburn (@PeteBlackburn) January 4, 2017
The goal was White’s sixth of the tournament - leading the way among all Americans. He’s second in the tournament in goals, behind the 8 scored by Kaprizov of Russia. A strong performance in the gold medal game could give him a chance at tournament MVP honors.
Advancing to the gold medal game didn’t come easy for the US, however. Clayton Keller missed a potentially game-clinching penalty shot in the third period, and Russia made them pay, tying the score:
Guryanov with the goal to tie it for Russia pic.twitter.com/OrQQZsqGBj— Pete Blackburn (@PeteBlackburn) January 4, 2017
Somehow, these two star-studded teams played ten minutes of 4-on-4 OT without anyone scoring a goal, so the game went to a shootout. In the shootout, the Americans put themselves in an early hole, but roared back thanks to clutch goals in the final two rounds by Troy Terry of Denver University and Jeremy Bracco of... er, I don’t recall.
Terry went on to play the “TJ Oshie” role for the Americans, thanks to the IIHF rule letting shootout takers repeat after round 5. Terry hit a must-score shot in the sixth round to extend the game, then scored after a Russian miss to send the US to the final:
Troy Terry beats Russia with his third goal in the shootout. USA advances to gold medal game pic.twitter.com/m6XBLHIk9y— Pete Blackburn (@PeteBlackburn) January 4, 2017
Casey Fitzgerald had a pretty solid game for the US as well, getting consistent playing time throughout the 3rd period and OT, and making a number of good plays on both ends of the ice. Joe Woll did not play today, as Tyler Parsons continued his great run between the pipes for the US - but he certainly will be ready to play tomorrow if called upon. USA WJC finals have been known to require going to the backup goalie.
Congrats to the US on the big win; bring home the gold tomorrow night!