Canada tops U.S. at hockey world championships
Derek Van Diest, Edmonton Sun
|James Neal of Canada (front) clashes with Mike Brown of the U.S. during their qualification round game at the World Championships in Kosice, Slovakia, on Friday. (REUTERS/Petr Josek)
Ty Conklin’s first appearance for the United States at the 2011 IIHF World Championships was impressive.
The St. Louis Blues goaltender turned away 48 shots through regulation and overtime in a 4-3 shootout loss to Canada in Kosice, Slovakia.
Jordan Eberle and Rick Nash scored in the shootout to give Canada their fourth consecutive victory at the tournament, that has moved into the qualification round.
Brent Burns, John Tavares and Jason Spezza scored for Canada during regulation, while Mike Komisarek, Jack Johnson and Derek Stepan responded for the United States.
Canada will play Norway on Saturday in their second game of the qualification round, while the United States takes on France.
Conklin had been the Americans’ backup in favour of New York Islanders goaltender Al Montoya through the first three games of the tournament.
However, the former Edmonton Oilers goaltender got the start on Friday and was sharp throughout the contest, turning away all 14 shots he faced in the first period and 15 of the 16 he saw in the second.
Canada out-shot the U.S. 47-19 through regulation and 4-1 in overtime.
Komisarek opened the scoring for the U.S. in the second period with a floater from the point that eluded Canadian goaltender James Reimer.
Burns tied the game later in the period with a floater of his own, fanning on a shot in front that knuckled on Conklin, slipping under his glove.
Johnson restored the U.S. lead before the end of the period, taking a breakaway pass from Blake Wheeler coming out of the penalty box and beating Reimer through the pads.
In the third, Tavares tied the game, after his first effort bounced up over Conklin then dropped on the goal line before banging it into the back of the net.
Spezza gave Canada the lead with just under 15 minutes left in the period, stepping into a shot from the top of the circle and blowing it over the shoulder of Conklin.
Stephan tied the game on the power play less than six minutes later snapping a shot through Reimer after being left unattended in the slot.
The three games in the qualification round will determine the seeds for the quarterfinals. Canada concludes the round against Sweden on Monday, while the U.S. wraps up against Switzerland.