SASKATOON, Saskatchewan (Reuters) - John Carlson fired the overtime winner to claim a dramatic 6-5 victory for the United States and deny Canada a record sixth consecutive gold at the world junior ice hockey championships on Tuesday.
It was a second title for the Americans at the prestigious annual under-20 tournament, the first coming in 2004 before their Northern neighbors began a half decade of dominance.
Trailing 5-3 in the third period with less than three minutes to play, Canada needed two scores from Jordan Eberle just to send the contest into overtime.
It was familiar territory for the U.S., who had Canada on the ropes in a preliminary round clash on New Year’s Eve only to squander a two-goal third-period lead and lose 5-4 in a shootout.
This time, however, the Americans would not be denied and defenseman Carlson rifled a shot past Canadian netminder Martin Jones 4:21 into the extra session for his second of the game
“I don’t know what happened to be honest, it was a whirlwind,” said Carlson, the Washington Capitals first round pick in the 2008 NHL draft.
“I just shot it, got it on net and got lucky. I‘m just so happy right now, it’s the biggest goal I’ve ever scored in my life.”
As they had in five previous gold medal games, Canada drew first blood with Luke Adam taking a feed from Jordan Caron and slipping a backhand past U.S. netminder Mike Lee.
The Americans hit back late in the opening frame with Chris Kreider and Jordan Schroeder scoring 36 seconds apart. Greg Nemisz replied for Canada to send the teams into the first break deadlocked at 2-2.
Carlson and Canada’s Taylor Hall then traded second period tallies to set up a wild third period.
Jerry D‘Amigo and Derek Stepan scored early to give the U.S. a two goal lead, chasing Canadian starter Jake Allen from the net.
Eberle then sent the capacity crowd at the Civic Union Center into a frenzy with two late tallies, banging home a loose puck with 1:35 to play to level the count and set up the overtime drama.
Writing by Steve Keating in Toronto; editing by Nick Mulvenney