CANADA TOPS SWEDEN, WILL PLAY FOR WORLD JUNIORS GOLD

    366

    MONTREAL, Que. – Julien Gauthier (Pointe-aux-Trembles, Que./Val-d’Or, QMJHL) scored twice, while captain Dylan Strome (Mississauga, Ont./Erie, OHL) and Anthony Cirelli (Woodbridge, Ont./Oshawa, OHL) added a goal and an assist each to allow Canada’s National Junior Team to top Sweden 5-2 on Wednesday and clinch a spot in the 2017 IIHF World Junior Championship gold medal game.

    Canada will hit Montreal’s Bell Centre ice Thursday to play the United States in the final (8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT). The Americans topped the team 3-1 on New Year’s Eve and are coming off a 4-3 shootout win over Russia in the other semifinal.

    It was Connor Ingram (Imperial, Sask./Kamloops, WHL) who drew the start in Canada’s net, but he was quickly pulled in favour of Carter Hart (Sherwood Park, Alta./Everett, WHL) after surrendering two goals on Sweden’s first three shots.

    The move proved to pay off for head coach Dominique Ducharme and company, Hart making 28 saves for a shutout effort in his 51:55 of ice time.

    Joel Eriksson Ek netted the game’s first goal at 6:05 of the first period after firing a shorthanded wrist shot from the top of the circle, but Mitchell Stephens (Peterborough, Ont./Saginaw, OHL) tied the game back up just 1:38 later after jumping on a loose puck.

    The tie game wouldn’t last, Sweden getting its lead back just 11 seconds later when Carl Grundstrom fanned on a shot that accidentally slid through the five-hole to end Ingram’s night.

    Cirelli would tie the game at 2-2 with 1:11 left before the first break thanks to a perfectly placed wrist shot that beat Sweden’s Felix Sandstrom over the shoulder.

    The red-and-white scored the only goal of the second period to take its first lead of the game after a rebound that sat in Sandstrom’s crease was poke-checked in by Gauthier.

    While playing at four-on-four, Canada took a 4-2 lead 7:38 into the final frame after Strome fired a wrist shot through a Matt Barzal (Coquitlam, B.C./Seattle, WHL) screen. The team wrapped up its scoring with just under two minutes left in the game when Gauthier added an empty netter to register his second consecutive two-goal outing.

    Canada outshot Sweden 43-31 in the game to give the Scandinavians their first loss of the World Juniors, sending them to tomorrow’s bronze medal showdown against Russia (3:30 p.m. ET/12:30 p.m PT).

    Your sports. Your teams. The ISN Daily Digest.

    Sign up to the ISN Daily Digest and sit back while we pick the previous day’s best headlines and speed them straight to your inbox every morning.
    Email address
    First Name*
    We abide by all applicable emailing laws including 100% CAN-SPAM/CASL/US CAN-SPAM Act compliance. No spam!