Canadians fall to U.S. for 1st loss at WJHC

TORONTO -The United States scored two quick power-play goals for a lead they wouldn't relinquish in a 3-1 victory over Canada on Saturday afternoon at the world junior hockey championship.

The Americans (4-0-0) locked up the first seed in Group B by winning the preliminary round finale for both teams. Canada fell to 3-1-0 and will finish second in the group.

Canada appeared sluggish from the start in front of a sellout crowd at Air Canada Centre. Netminder Connor Ingram also looked shaky in the early going as the Americans scored on two of their first three shots.

With Tyson Jost off on a goaltender interference call, Colin White opened the scoring at 4:31 by one-timing a pass from Jordan Greenway.

Canadian defenceman Philippe Myers was called for kneeing less than a minute later and the Americans again took advantage. Greenway gathered the puck down low and breezed through the top of the crease area virtually untouched to tuck the puck past Ingram at 6:04.

Canada had a 5-on-3 advantage midway through the first period but couldn't generate a decent scoring chance. The Americans outshot Canada 6-4 in the frame.

U.S. captain Luke Kunin was tossed from the game early in the second period. He flattened Myers behind the net and was given a five-minute interference major and game misconduct.

Myers was slow to get up and did not return.

Canadian forwards Matt Barzal and captain Dylan Strome showed flashes of their offensive prowess on the ensuing power play but found it tough to penetrate the stifling American defence.

A tripping penalty by American defenceman Charlie McAvoy gave Canada another 5-on-3 advantage. This time the host team applied solid pressure and Thomas Chabot crept in from the point to beat goalie Joseph Woll at 8:12.

The goal gave the Canadian team some zip and sparked the crowd. However, Jeremy Bracco restored the Americans' two-goal cushion when he buried a loose puck at 13:08.

U.S. forward Joey Anderson was sent in on a breakaway in the final minute of the period but Ingram stoned him with a glove save. Canadian defenceman Jake Bean took a needless cross-checking penalty seconds later to snuff out any momentum.

Overall, the Americans matched the Canadians' speed and seemed to want the puck more. The U.S. played a more physical game, kept the mistakes to a minimum and appeared more disciplined.

With four minutes left in the third period, Canada forward Pierre-Luc Dubois slid the puck into the American net well after the whistle sounded. He was given an unsportsmanlike penalty, essentially ending Canada's chances for a comeback.

Canada outshot the United States 26-20.

The Canadians will head to Montreal for Monday's quarter-final against the third-seeded team from Group A. The semifinals will be played Wednesday at the Bell Centre and the medal games are scheduled for Thursday.

Canada, which last won world junior gold in 2015, finished sixth at the 2016 tournament in Helsinki.