2023 World Juniors: Canada Beats USA In Semis To Advance To Gold-Medal Game

HALIFAX, Nova Scotia — The U.S. National Junior Team got off to the start they wanted against Canada, but not the finish, as the Canadians scored three goals in the second half to eventually win 6-2 in front of a record crowd of 10,636 at Scotiabank. Center. Canada played the Czech Republic in the gold medal game and earned a chance to win a second consecutive gold medal.

In addition to a scoring attack by the Canadians that shut the game down, the U.S. scored two separate goals that were denied due to goalie interference, one in the second period and the other in the first minute of the third period. Any wind in the U.S. sails from those sparks was lost to video review decisions.

The USA opened with a two-goal lead thanks to goals from Logan Cooley (ARI) and Kenny Connors (LAK). They seemed to be in control of the first half, holding Canada without a shot for most of the first half of the opening stanza.

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Team USA pulled away after Canada scored on a well-executed faceoff that saw Connor Bedard (2023) jump from the front of the field for his tournament-leading ninth goal. That cut the deficit to one goal and brought life back to the Scotiabank Centre.

Canada got off to a hot start in the second half and scored another goal after the win, this time by Logan Stankoven (DAL). With just 47 seconds left in the middle frame, the game was tied and Canada was starting to really find its feet.

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Shortly after a big Canadian penalty kill, the USA lost a back check, allowing Adam Fantilli (2023) to cut down and tip a pass from Zach Dean (VGK) past USA netminder Trey Augustine (2023) to make it 3. -2, sending the crowd into hysteria.

The USA responded with an apparent goal by Jackson Blake (CAR), but the referees ruled that he made contact with Canadian goalkeeper Thomas Milic before scoring on video review. Joshua Roy (MTL) scored shortly after another USA defensive break, tipping a Stankoven pass past Augustine to make it 4-2.

Team USA made a strong push in the third period and appeared to pull back when Rutger McGroarty (WPG) put the puck past Milica in the first minute of the third period. However, Milic was ruled to be in interference because McGroarty’s stick was pushing his pad.

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Canada scored twice more, including an empty-netter by Roy, to make it 6-2 and successfully send Canada to the final.

Miličius made 43 saves and was recognized as the best player in Canada.

Canada will seek its 20th gold medal at the World Junior Championships in Thursday’s final against the Czech Republic. They will also be looking to avenge their opening night loss to the Czechs, who booked their place in the final with a dramatic extra-time win over Sweden.

The U.S. will face Sweden at 2:30 p.m. ET and Canada will play the Czech Republic at 6:30 p.m. ET for the bronze medal.

Stay tuned for full USA game analysis coming soon to FloHockey.


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