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Canada's blunder gives Americans first junior title

12/28/2004

HELSINKI, Finland -- The United States won its first world
junior hockey title Monday, beating Canada 4-3 after Canadian
goalie Marc-Andre Fleury's failed clearing pass ended up in his own
goal.

Fleury's pass bounced off teammate Braydon Coburn and into the
Canadian goal with 5:12 left, capping a three-goal rally by the
Americans. Patrick O'Sullivan was credited with the winning goal.

"This rates right up there with the Miracle On Ice," said
tournament MVP Zach Parise, referring to the 1980 Winter Olympics
when the Americans won the gold medal.

The freak goal capped a three-goal, third-period rally against
the 19-year-old Fleury, who was the MVP of the 2003 tournament and
the first overall pick in the NHL draft by the Pittsburgh Penguins.

"You can say there were a couple of lucky goals, but good
things happen when you work hard. You make your own luck," United
States coach Mike Eaves said.

Canada led 3-1 on two goals from Nigel Dawes and one from
Anthony Stewart. But the Americans scored twice in four minutes
early in the third period on goals by O'Sullivan and Ryan Kesler.
Then came Fleury's blunder, with O'Sullivan getting credit for his
second goal of the game.

Canada also lost in the final last year, falling to Russia.

The United States, 7-0 in the tournament, dominated play early
getting a goal by Dan Fritsche but Canada rallied in the second
period with two goals by Dawes. Stewart had two assists before
beating United States goalie Alvaro Montoya for the 3-1 lead.

Finland won the bronze medal, defeating the Czech Republic 2-1.