Rielly the hero in Canada's U-18 hockey worlds win
Morgan Rielly came through when Canada's under-18 hockey team needed him most.
The Moose Jaw Warriors defenceman scored on the power play early in the third before setting up Nick Cousins' winner with the man advantage late in the game to lead Canada to a 4-3 quarter-final victory over Germany on Thursday.
"He shows a ton of poise back there," Canadian team coach Mike Williamson said of Rielly. "He has a great shot, he finds lanes and guys off the net and he can shoot it.
"A situation like this speaks volumes about how good this kid is going to be. It was a crazy atmosphere, it was loud, there was a ton of pressure and really no time to think and he had all the poise in the world and got it done."
Canada finished the game with three power-play goals, but the team's penalty kill came up big late in the second when Germany had a two-man power play with the game tied 2-2.
After failing to score then, Germany surged ahead 3-2 at 1:57 of the third on a goal from Alexander Ackermann. But Rielly tied the score at 10:47 before threading a slick pass to Cousins at the side of the German net for the game-winning goal at 15:18.
Twice Canada rallied from a one-goal deficit to improve to 6-0 all-time against Germany. More importantly, the Canadians advanced to a semifinal showdown Saturday against their arch rivals from the United States, who are unbeaten.
It will be the first meeting of the tournament between the two teams but Canada edged the Americans 2-1 in an exhibition contest prior to this event.
"Obviously, Canada-U.S. is a huge, huge hockey rivalry and there will be no lacking of emotions," Williamson said. "We just have to play under control and with controlled emotions.
"Even in the exhibition game we had against them, there's a love-hate relationship there but also a lot of mutual respect as well and you won't find any two countries that have more pride. The Americans are a different team than they were in that exhibition game but every team here is different. I know our team has come a long way since then and so has theirs." Ryan Murray and Brett Ritchie had the other goals for Canada.
Leonhard Pfoderl, Tobias Rieder and Alexander Ackermann replied for Germany.
Williamson wasted no time heaping lavish praise on the Germans.
"That was as hard-fought a hockey game as I've been involved in," he said. "No player gave an inch and both teams, I thought, played with incredible pride and inspiration.
"But I was very, very proud of how our guys buckled down and really found a way to win that hockey game."
Williamson added he was especially pleased with his team's ability to stay focused and for the most part never showed panic or desperation after falling behind.
"I thought we played extremely hard and did the right things for the most part," he said. "We did rush a few things and you could feel that a little bit.
"But I thought after the second period we were able to concentrate on taking deep breaths and relaxing and realizing if we stuck with it good things would happen."