IIHF World Junior Championship: Team Canada Avenges Last Year's Loss to Team USA

Cory DuceyAnalyst IIIJanuary 3, 2011

Ryan Johansen scores the third goal of the game for Team Canada
Ryan Johansen scores the third goal of the game for Team CanadaRick Stewart/Getty Images

The semifinals game between Team USA and Team Canada was held in Buffalo, NY, but you wouldn't know it with the vast amount of red and white in the stands.

Last year in Regina, Manitoba, Team USA defeated Team Canada to take the Gold medal with an overtime goal.

This year, Team Canada wanted to avenge that loss and they got their chance on US soil in the semifinals. Mission accomplished.

Team Canada had to go the long route to get to the semis, leaving Team USA waiting in the wings after earning a bye to the semi-finals. This year, the young Canadians were considered to be the underdogs, as Team USA had eight returning players from last year's tournament, as well as players from last year's under 18 championship team. This team was considered the tournament favorite, and deservedly so.

Team Canada wouldn't have it any other way. What most people don't realize is that the Team Canada roster boasts 15 first round draft picks.

From start to finish, Team Canada dominated the game and it was a team effort from the goal crease out. Goalie Mark Visentin was solid and allowed just one goal late in the game, and Team USA had virtually no space; where the puck and an American player were, a red sweater with a maple leaf was just a step away, ready to pound them to the boards.

Now I'm Canadian, and I am glad that Team Canada is going to the gold medal game. Does this sound biased? Absolutely. But it doesn't matter if you were watching the game as a Canadian, American, or Russian. You would have to agree that Team Canada played lights out and indeed earned the win this night. They played a solid 60 minutes of hockey and will need more of the same in the gold medal game.

American goalie Jack Campbell played a phenomenal game, but the Canadians were too much, launching 41 shots at him, and the crashing of the net was more than he could handle.  He was deemed the American player of the game, and rightfully so.  His Canadian counterpart, Visentin, was deemed Canada's top player of the game.

The win put the Canadians at a record of 30-6-4 against Team USA, and they will go to the gold medal game for the 10th consecutive time, facing the Russians.


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