Team USA will play for the gold medal at this year’s World Junior Hockey Championship after a convincing 5-1 drubbing over Team Canada. The Americans will await the winner of the Sweden/Russia matchup to determine who their opponent will be. Sweden is the defending champion at the tournament, while Russia is the host country.
Canada and the United States had met in the round robin and it was Canada who escaped that game with a narrow 2-1 victory. All throughout the round robin play the Americans struggled to find their groove against the top teams, dropping decisions to the Canadians and Russians before having to beat the Slovakians to earn a playoff berth. Maybe now they’re hitting their stride and what better time to do so than the medal rounds.
The win over the Canucks further backs up defenceman Seth Jones’ pre-tournament prediction when he boldly stated that Team USA was good enough to win gold. He’s looking smart right now.
Team Canada is always considered a favorite in this tournament and this year with their top line consisting of all NHL-ready players, they were supposed to have the ‘dream team’ if you will. But they never really got on track throughout the round robin until their last game against the Russians, whom they beat 3-1. Not to take anything away from the American win as they deserved to win this game, but the Canadian press are already using words like “Canadians laid an egg” and “no excuses.” The Americans showed up to play and they were by far the better team on this day.
Jake McCabe and John Gaudreau had a pair of goals each to lead the U.S while netminder John Gibson made some key saves including a Ryan Strome breakaway. McCabe added an assist in the contest giving him a three point night.
Minnesota Wild prospect, Mario Lucia was held pointless during the contest.
The final will take place on Saturday morning at 8am EST.