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Kerry Collins, Published April 18 2009

USA rallies with two third-period goals to beat Canada and advance to final

Ron Rolston knew whichever team took advantage of the most mistakes was going to win Friday’s semifinal at the IIHF World U18 Championship.

The American coach’s squad managed to catch one more break than the Canadians.

Two power-play goals in the third period lifted the United States to a 2-1 victory over rival Canada in front of an Urban Plains Center record 4,906 fans.

“We were making the mistakes in the second period, but the guys stuck with it and we were fortunate to get a couple on the power-play in the third,” Rolston said. “We were able to get a couple of breaks.”

The game-winner came when Jerry D’Amigo’s redirection of a shot from the point by Cam Fowler flipped over Canada goalie Michael Zador’s leg at the 13-minute, 6-second mark of the third.

Down 1-0 going into the third, the U.S. tied the game midway through the final frame when Jeremy Morin slammed home a rebound.

“We were just battling through and never giving up on a play,” said D’Amigo, who assisted on the first goal. “We never lost focus.”

Canada led 1-0 going into the third period on a power-play goal by Dylan Olson with just 1:22 left in the second period.

The Canadians also started the third period on a power play, but took a penalty of their own right after the Americans killed it off.

“Obviously the power play was very big,” Canada coach Mike Johnston said. “We start with a power play and give them one right back after they kill it – and that gave them the momentum.

“We can’t take that many penalties.”

The United States held Canada to 1-for-6 on the power play. That’s been a strong suit for the Americans all tournament.

Opponents are just 5-for-33 with the man advantage against Team USA in the tourney.

That group also showed its mettle at the end of the game. Canada was not able to get Zador out of the net for an extra skater until there were 16 seconds left in the game.

The U.S. kept the puck on Canada’s side of the red line for a stretch of 47 seconds before Zador was finally able to come off.

“Special teams are a big factor in international play, and we have found something that has clicked,” said Fowler, who assisted on both goals. “We just wanted them to try and skate through the neutral zone and our forwards did an excellent job.

“They didn’t get a sniff when they got around the red line.”

Jack Campbell stopped 32 shots for the Americans in the victory.

The win puts the Americans in Sunday’s gold medal game against Russia – which beat Finland 4-0 in the other semifinal.

Russia is the only country to beat the Americans in the tournament, taking a 6-5 win over the U.S. in the final game of pool play.

FIRST PERIOD: No scoring.

SECOND PERIOD: 1, C, Olson (deHaan, Hishon), 38:38 (pp).

THIRD PERIOD: 2, US, Morin (Fowler, D’Amigo), 9:27 (pp). 3, US, D’Amigo (Fowler), 13:06 (pp).

SAVES: C, Zador 5-18-19—42. US, Campbell 14-11-7—32.

A: 4,906.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Kerry Collins at (701) 241-5548.

Collins’ blogs can be found at www.areavoices.com