Team Quebec all but wrapped up a berth in the semifinals on Friday afternoon with a 5-3 win over Germany at the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge.
Quebec improved to 3-0 in Pool A action at MTS Iceplex, scoring three power-play goals and dominating the Germans on the shot clock. Quebec fired a whopping 50 pucks at German netminder Niklas Deske, who made some superb stops to keep his team in the contest as long as he could.
“He was making some big saves, that’s for sure,” said Luca Ciampini, Quebec’s leading scorer who potted the game-winner 1:30 into the third. “Fifty shots he got, and he was playing well. He was always in the right spot at the right time. He’s a good goalie.”
Quebec is guaranteed to at least get into a tie-breaker for the medal round, for which the top two teams in both pools will qualify. Quebec hasn’t made it to the semifinals since winning the tournament in 2006.
“It’s exciting, but we can’t get too far ahead of ourselves,” Ciampini said.
Raphael Lafontaine, Michael Matheson, William Carrier and Charles Simard-Hudon also scored for Quebec, which can officially clinch a spot in Monday’s semifinals if Finland beats Team Atlantic on Friday night in Portage.
John Koslowski, Robin Steenssens and Markus Eberhardt replied for the Germans.
In the other Friday afternoon game, Team Pacific also all but sewed up a semifinal spot with a 7-3 thumping of Slovakia in Portage. Pacific, which has never won the Under-17 Challenge, also upped its mark to 3-0.
Canada’s five regional teams now have a 6-0 record against foreign competition in the tournament.
The host squad, Team West (0-1), takes on the Czech Republic (0-2) on Sunday night at 7:30 at MTS Iceplex. Check winnipegsun.com for complete game details.