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Canada whips U.S. in semifinals

Tue., Jan. 4, 2011

Defending champs will play for bronze medal

BUFFALO, N.Y. – Mark Visentin made 22 saves and Canada defeated the United States 4-1 in the semifinals of the World Junior Hockey Championships on Monday night.

Curtis Hamilton, Quinton Howden, Ryan Johansen and Zack Kassian scored for Canada, which plays Russia on Wednesday in the tournament’s gold-medal game.

Russia beat Sweden 4-3 in a shootout, with Denis Golubev scoring the deciding goal.

The U.S., which beat Canada in the gold-medal game a year ago, will face Sweden for the bronze, seeking its first medal on home soil. The tournament has been staged four previous times in the United States.

Canada, which includes Jared Cowen of the Spokane Chiefs as an alternate captain, is looking for its 16th title since the tournament began in 1977 and will make its 10th straight appearance in the finale. Russia is in the final for the first time since 2007, when it lost 4-2 to Canada. The Canadians are 7-5 in gold-medal games against Russia.

Chris Brown spoiled Visentin’s shutout bid with a power-play goal with 10:23 remaining. Jack Campbell made 37 saves in goal for the United States, which fell to 6-28-3 against Canada in tournament play.

Canada controlled the first period, outshooting the U.S. 12-5 and scoring its first two goals. That energized a charged-up crowd at sold-out HSBC Arena, where about 80 percent of the fans were Canadians who made the short trip over the border.

Hamilton struck first, converting a rebound 2:38 into the game after Campbell made a diving save on Hamilton’s backhander. With 6:06 left, Howden tapped in a nice feed from Brett Connolly to put Canada up 2-0.

About 5 minutes into the second period, Visentin stopped a wrist shot by the U.S.’s Nick Bjugstad on the game’s first power play. Canada scored about a minute later, while the U.S. was down two men. Johansen swiped at a rebound from the slot after Campbell made an initial stop on a point shot.

Kassian made it 4-0 just 6 minutes into the third period, wristing a shot between Campbell’s legs to finish a breakaway.

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