Canada and the United States will meet for the second time at the this year's IIHF World Hockey Championship. Canada won the first meeting 5-1, however this game has a lot more meaning as it is a semifinal game. Canada defeated Sweden 6-0 in their quarterfinal to get here, while the USA defeated the Czech Republic 2-1 in a shootout. Canada's leading scorer in the tournament has been Derick Brassard (New York Rangers) with 10 points, while Auston Matthews leads the United States with 8 points. Cam Talbot (Edmonton Oilers) gets the start for Canada while Keith Kinkaid (New Jersey Devils) counters for the Americans.
The opening period would start out with some opportunities for both teams but nothing spectacular as both teams would fail to score early. Brendan Gallagher (Montreal Canadiens) would change that as he knocked in a rebound from close in over a sprawled out Kinkaid. Boone Jenner (Columbus Blue Jackets) and Sam Reinhart (Buffalo Sabres) would get assists on the goal as Canada led 1-0.
Brad Marchand (Boston Bruins) would extend Canada's lead to 2-0 finishing off a beautiful give-and-go play with Cody Ceci (Ottawa Senators). Derick Brassard would take a late penalty for delay of game to send the States to the powerplay which would carryover to the 2nd. Canada leads 2-0 after the 1st with the shots even at 12 apiece.
The Americans would not squander their powerplay to start the second as Auston Matthews would fire a slap shot over Talbot's shoulder to make it 2-1. Chris Wideman (Ottawa Senators) and Dylan Larkin (Detroit Red Wings) would get assists on the goal. Minutes later, David Warsofsky (New Jersey Devils) would tie the game with a laser over Talbot's shoulder.
The period would continue with some end to end action before we saw another American goal. Tyler Motte (Chicago Blackhawks) would convert a great pass in front from Larkin and put the US ahead 3-2. The second period wasn't even 10 minutes old, and already the US had three unanswered goals. Canada's unravelling continued as almost immediately after, the US would get a powerplay however they wouldn't convert as Canada would start to calm things down.
Canada would then get their own powerplay and would make the most of it as Derick Brassard would atone for his earlier penalty by tying the game when a loose puck bounced to him all alone beside the net. He would easily slot it home and make it a 3-3 game. Right before the end of the period Canada's Mark Stone (Ottawa Senators) was hit from behind into the boards and had to be helped off the ice showing discomfort in his shoulder. Connor Murphy (Arizona Coyotes) would get a 10 minute misconduct on top of his 2 minute checking from behind penalty.
A crazy second period ends with both teams tied at 3, and the shots 23-22 in favor of Canada.
Ryan Ellis would give Canada a 4-3 lead early in the third, walking into the American zone and simply blasting a puck over Kinkaid's glove. Ryan Murray (Columbus Blue Jackets) and Connor McDavid (Edmonton Oilers) would get assists on the goal. Mark Scheifele (Winnipeg Jets) would get called for a goalie interference penalty soon after sending the US to a powerplay.
The USA would have some good chances, but a combination of blocked shots and saves from Canada would end the powerplay and get the game back to even strength. The next 15 minutes or so would be very entertaining, fingernail biting type hockey with both teams getting great opportunities to score. Canadian fans were holding their breath with every shot the USA took, but Talbot kept them out.
With a faceoff to the left of Talbot with 43 seconds left, the Americans would pull Kinkaid and call a timeout to try to design a play to tie the game. Ryan O'Reilly (Buffalo Sabres) would not let that happen as he would win the faceoff and Canada would get the puck down the ice. The US would never get a great opportunity the rest of the way as Canada would hold them to the outside and the game would end.
Canada wins 4-3, being outshot 11-4 in the 3rd and 33-27 in the game. Canada advances to play the winner of Russia-Finland in the Gold Medal Game while the United States will play the loser of that game.
Finland 3, Russia 1
Finland would keep their perfect tournament alive by beating the host Russians 3-1. Russia would get a early 1-0 lead from Sergei Shirokov and take the lead to the end of the 1st. A three goal 2nd period by Finland would be the difference though with Sebastian Aho scoring twice. Russia could not muster any goals the rest of the way even with pulling Sergei Bobrovsky (Columbus Blue Jackets) for over three minutes. Finland heads to the Gold Medal Game while Russia will have to play for Bronze.
Bronze Medal Game:
Russia vs United States at 7:15am MST on Sunday. (TSN)
Gold Medal Game:
Canada vs Finland at 11:15am MST on Sunday. (TSN)
There will be a full game preview for the medal games posted later, but for now, Canada is heading to the Gold Medal Game! Now they just have to beat an highly skilled Finland team that hasn't lost a game all tournament. Also Finland has only allowed 8 goals in 9 games thus far this tournament, so goals will be hard to come by.
Make sure to watch tomorrow's game as it should be a good one! Go Canada Go!