For what was set up to be another memorable World Juniors rematch between Team USA and Team Canada, it wound up being a laugher Thursday in Ufa, Russia.
Team USA jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead after the first period thanks to captain Jake McCabe and ran away up 4-0 after two on their way to a 5-1 win over Canada to earn a spot in Saturday’s gold-medal game of the World Junior Championships.
McCabe, a defenseman from the University of Wisconsin, seemingly took his role as team captain seriously getting the Americans out in front to stay, and it was Boston College’s Johnny Gaudreau scoring twice while Harvard’s Jimmy Vesey added another to lead the offense.
Team USA was able to chase Canadian starting goalie Malcolm Subban from the game after he allowed four goals on 16 shots. Backup Jordan Binnington would do well in relief stopping 25 out of 26, giving up only a third period goal to Gaudreau. Meanwhile, Kitchener Rangers star goalie John Gibson played a memorable third period to make it all stand up for the U.S.
With their backs against the wall, Canada brought everything they had in the final period pouring 16 shots on goal. The only one to slip past Gibson was a shorthanded goal from Ty Rattie, but it would be the only blemish on Gibson’s day as Team USA got a bit of payback after losing to Canada in the opening round of the tournament.
Team USA will face Sweden in Saturday’s gold-medal game. The Swedes beat host Russia, 3-2 in a shootout, in the other semifinal.
Meanwhile, Canada will face Russia for bronze.
They’re just one game into their regular season, but the Buffalo Sabres have already had to shift things around in their crease.
The Sabres announced that they have placed starting goaltender Robin Lehner on injured reserve after he was knocked out of Thursday’s game with a lower-body injury.
In a corresponding move, the club has recalled Nathan Lieuwen from their AHL affiliate in Rochester.
The 24-year-old didn’t play in the NHL last season, but he did have a 1-4-0 record with a 2.98 goals-against-average and a .906 save percentage in seven games during the 2013-14 season.
Lieuwen was Buffalo’s sixth round pick, 167th overall, in the 2011 draft.
The Sabres also announced that they have loaned defenseman Jake McCabe and goaltender Linus Ullmark to the Rochester Americans (AHL).
McCabe was a healthy scratch in Thursday’s game against Ottawa, while Ullmark is being activated off I.R. after having double hip surgery during the off-season.
It looks like the Boston Bruins will be without their captain again on Saturday night.
Head coach Claude Julien told members of the media that Zdeno Chara is considered doubtful for tonight’s game against the Montreal Canadiens.
Chara suffered an upper-body injury during the preseason and he’s already been forced to miss Boston’s season opening loss to the Jets.
Per CSN, Chara says he’s improving but he won’t return to the lineup until he’s as close to 100 percent as possible.
“Every area of the injury is improving,” said Chara. “Hopefully it’s not long before I’m free of any kind of discomfort. That’s what we’re doing right now…we’re being patient. For sure you don’t want to come back, and be half of what you are…and basically hurting yourself and the team. And you’re putting yourself in a position where you could be missing more time. At this time of the season, I think it’s important to be as close as you can be to 100 percent.”
Based on the number of defensive mistakes they committed on Thursday, the Bruins need Chara back as soon as possible: