Sunday, January 3, 2010

WJC Sunday: Dream Match-Up is On

If you missed the USA-Canada game on New Year's Eve you missed one of the best hockey games you'll ever see. Now, the rematch has been set.

Team USA was able to knock off a loaded Sweden team earlier today to advance to the gold medal game of the World Junior Championships. Waiting for them on Tuesday will be a Canadian team who already holds a shootout victory over them in the opening round.

Canada will be playing for their sixth straight gold medal. The U.S. will be playing for their sixth medal ever...and only their second gold.

Sunday's two semi-final games provided the following action:

USA 5, Sweden 2
Tyler Johnson's 2010 NHL draft stock went up a little. He put the U.S. on top 1-0 less than two minutes in. That was the only goal of the first period.

Then, Team USA took a nap during the entire second period. It was worrisome. Sweden capitalized by scoring two goals. Oilers prospect 'MPS' Magnus Paajarvi-Svensson has been getting much of the press for his team this year at the World Jr's, but it was the Oilers other Swedish prospect, Anton Lander, who had both goals.

Jerry D'Amigo (Toronto Maple Leafs prospect) once again played a major role for the Americans. He scored late in the second to tie things up. He was also leveled on a clearing play that resulted in a five minute power play for the U.S., which turned up nothing more than a few shots on goal. Then, late in the game with the U.S. up 3-2 he scored a huge short-handed goal.

Setting him on the play was Team USA captain Derek Stepan (NY Rangers draft pick), who continues to lead all players in points and assists this year's WJC.

Canada 6, Switzerland 0
The LA Kings have four players on Team Canada, more than any other NHL team. It seems that in the five games Canada has played so far, at least one of them was always part of the story. This game was no different, as Brayden Schenn netted his second goal of the tourney in the third period. With that goal he now has points in every game played by Canada in the WJC this year.

The other story of the game may be injured defenseman. Coming in to the game the Swiss were without two of their d-men, including Anaheim Ducks prospect Luca Sbisa. On the other side, Canada picked up the win here, but they finished the game without their d-man Travis Hamonic. He separated his shoulder and will not play on Tuesday.

Jordan Eberle opened the scoring for Canada just 3:48 into the game, a move that tied him with former Kings center Jason Allison for second place on Canada’s all-time WJC scoring list. Taylor Hall, looking to become the number one overall pick at the NHL Draft in Los Angeles this June, also scored twice in the victory.

Kings defensive prospect, 'Mr. Nasty' Colten Teubert, also had an assist in the game - his first at this year's WJC.

So the showdown is set. It will be USA-Canada for the gold medal. WOW.

Switzerland's dream tourney will continue as well when they play Sweden for the bronze. The Swiss are looking for only their second medal ever, they picked up a bronze back at the '88 World Jrs beating the Czech Republic in overtime.

Watch both games live on the NHL Network Tuesday.

The Mayor
note: you can read the recap of the NYE thriller between Canada and the U.S. by clicking here.

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