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.