McClennon leads Canada White in drubbing of USA

Steven Ellis06 Nov 2018Steven Ellis»

It was a tough night for the United States, with the defending tournament champions failing to challenge Canada White in the long run as the Canadians took the 5-2 victory on Monday evening.


It was a tough night for the United States, with the defending tournament champions failing to challenge Canada White in the long run as the Canadians took the 5-2 victory on Monday evening.

Canada needed just 34 seconds to score the first goal of the game. Cole Perfetti would get credit for his fifth point of the tournament after Jake Neighbours scored just seconds after a faceoff, pushing the puck over the line after losing his balance to make it 1-0 before the game truly got underway.

But at 6:20, the Americans struck back. The team's top centreman, Ty Smilanic, would beat at 6:20 after Brett Berard set him up in the high slot, with Smilanic showing why his wrist shot is one of the most dangerous on the USNTDP.

One of the more intriguing players in the tournament for Canada is Theo Rochette, a youngster who has experience playing with Switzerland. While there's a good chance he'll represent the Swiss going forward, he made a big impact late in the first to give Canada the 3-1 lead. First, Connor McClennon's shot would miss the net, but Rochette was in the right spot to pick up the goal, which also included an assist from Perfetti. Then, in the final minute of the first, Rochette would return the favour, setting up McClennon for the team's third power play goal of the night.

McClennon was also having himself a great night. After scoring the game-winner over Canada Black on Sunday, McClennon helped extend his team's lead to 4-1 after USA netminder Colin Purcell gave the puck away to Rochette. Rochette would find McClennon, who would send a fast wrist shot in the net at 14:12.f

The Americans needed a bit of puck luck to put themselves back in the game, and they got their wish. 56 seconds into the period, Smilanic got his second goal of the game on a 2-on-1 play with Dylan Peterson after Tanner Latsch forced Canada to make a mistake going up the ice. Peterson would retrieve the puck and bring it down the ice, setting up Smilanic in front of the net for the 4-2 goal.

With under 10 minutes to go in the game, McClennon scored what will end up being one of the top goals of the tournament. The Kootenay Ice forward blocked a shot in Canada's zone, got up, beat out Jake Sanderson on the rush, got taken down near the net and still managed to score on his knees to make it 5-2 Canada, his third goal of the night and sixth point of the tournament to finish off the game.

Tuesday marks the end of the preliminary round at the tournament, with the United States challenging Canada Black at 3:30 PM AST, while Canada Red will meet up with Finland at 7:00 PM.

Follow me on Twitter, @StevenEllisNHL.

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