Canada's Jordan Eberle comes up big at WJC
Oilers prospect named tournament MVP and scores two goals in deciding game
|SASKATOON, SK - JANUARY 3: Benjamin Conz #1 of Team Switzerland stops the puck on a shot by Jordan Eberle #14 of Team Canada during the 2010 IIHF World Junior Championship Tournament Semifinal game on January 3, 2010 at the Credit Union Centre in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada. (Photo by Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images)|
Eberle's game-tying goal with 5.4 seconds left against Russia in last year's World Junior Championship semifinal is referred to merely as "The Goal." People forget he also scored one of the two goals in the shootout to get Canada to the gold-medal game, which the Canadians won for their fifth straight title.
On Tuesday night at the 2010 WJC, he again electrified a sold-out Canadian hockey barn by scoring twice in the final 2:49 of regulation to turn a 5-3 deficit into a 5-5 game and bring thoughts of another gold medal to a Canada team that looked resigned to a silver at the hands of the United States.
Instead, he turned his team into golden-hued believers -- at least until overtime, when John Carlson's goal gave the United States a 6-5 victory and the gold medal.
With Canada skating with the man-advantage, Alex Pietrangelo kept the puck in the U.S. zone and found Eberle in the left circle. He beat goalie Jack Campbell high under the crossbar to draw his team within a goal at 5-4.
Moments later, Eberle did it again. Campbell stopped a Nazem Kadri shot, but the rebound went to Ryan Ellis, who slid it to Eberle for the tying goal with just 1:35 left in regulation.
"Big players come up at big times," defenseman Alex Pietrangelo said of the Edmonton Oilers' first-round pick in the 2008 Entry Draft. "He's a leader on this hockey team. He's going to be a phenomenal professional. Tonight and this tournament is a prime example of that."
"There's no surprise he's going to come up big under pressure," added teammate Taylor Hall. "That's something he's done all tournament long."
While going to overtime meant Canada remained alive in the game, Eberle believes the 17-minute intermission was the worst thing possible for his team.
"It's tough to go into that dressing room when you want to stick out there and play overtime," he said.
That Canada didn't get the final bounce it needed in no way diminishes Eberle's performance. He finished tied for the tournament lead with 8 goals, was second with 13 points, and rightfully earned his spot on the tournament All-Star team as well as honors as the tournament's best forward and most valuable player.
"It makes you speechless," Pietrangelo said of Eberle's performance. "I don't think anyone has scored as many big goals as he has. I said to him after the game that it's right you scored those two goals tonight. He deserved it. He puts it on the line every night and he always seems to come up with it. He's an awesome kid and deserves everything he gets."
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