Ontario set to face Pacific in final of World Under 17 Challenge

The Canadian Press ~ The News
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PORT ALBERNI, B.C. _ Ontario is one win away from retaining its gold medal at the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge.

Tyler Toffoli and Erik Gudbranson each scored twice and added an assist as Ontario won its 14th consecutive game at the tournament with a 7-4 semifinal triumph over West on Saturday.

They will meet Pacific in the final on Sunday, after they beat the U.S. 6-5 in Saturday's other semifinal.

Alex Petrovic scored 5:35 into overtime for Pacific, his second goal of the game, to clinch the finals berth. Max Reinhart forced overtime for the Pacific side with just over a minute left in the game after the U.S. rattled off five straight goals in the second period.

Jason Zucker scored twice for the Americans, who also saw goals from Jason Zucker, Austin Czarnik, Michael Mesch and Matthew Nieto. Goalie Jack Campbell turned away 26 shots for the U.S. in the loss.

Ryan Harrison, Brendan Ranford and Brett Connolly scored the other goals for Pacific. Kent Simpson made 30 saves in the win.

John McFarland added two goals for Ontario, giving him a tournament-leading 11 points in five games.

Christian Thomas also scored for the Ontarians, while Tyler Seguin had four assists.

Leading 3-2 after 20 minutes, the defending champs rattled off three unanswered goals in the middle frame to take a 6-2 advantage to the dressing room after two periods. A pair of third-period goals from West made it close, but Gudbranson's power-play marker with six minutes to go sealed the deal.

Michael St. Croix scored two goals to lead the way for West, which will play for bronze for the second year in a row. Brooks Macek and Quinton Howden also scored in a losing cause.

Also Saturday, Quebec beat Germany 3-1 to earn fifth place, while Russia topped Slovakia 6-3 and Atlantic beat Finland 9-6 to finish in ninth place overall.

Geographic location: Ontario, U.S., PORT ALBERNI Quebec Russia

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