Canada and the United States, going for gold.
On Friday, those two booked the latest chapter of their international hockey rivalry as Canada defeated Finland 3-1 in one semifinal of the U18 World Championship, while the US defeated Russia 4-3 (SO) in the other.
They’ll battle for gold on Sunday at the Bolshoy Ice Dome in Sochi, Russia.
Canada got past the Finns thanks to goals from Morgan Klimchuk, Josh Morrissey and Samuel Bennett, though the biggest story of the semifinal might’ve been that Connor McDavid was held off the scoresheet.
McDavid, 16, had 14 points through the first five games of the tournament, solidifying his status as one of the best underage players in the world (he’s not draft eligible until 2015).
McDavid’s one of the big reasons why Canada is undefeated at this tournament and has outscored opponents 32-4.
As for the Americans, they showed a lot of grit and determination in knocking off the host Russians in a shootout after twice rallying from one-goal deficits.
The U.S. got markers from Tyler Kelleher, Mike McCarron and Tommy Vannelli before J.T. Compher — the 34th-ranked North American skater in the NHL Central Scouting Bureau’s final 2013 draft rankings — finished things in the shootout.
It set the stage for what promises to be an exciting final.
Canada and the U.S. famously met in the gold medal final at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, and the World Junior final that same year.
At the 2013 World Junior tourney, the Americans hammered the Canadians 5-1 in the semifinal en route to capturing gold.
(Image courtesy IIHF.com)