Jake McCabe and Johnny Gaudreau each scored a pair and added an assist while John Gibson made 33 saves as Team USA cruised to a dominant, one-sided 5-1 win over Team Canada Thursday at the World Junior Championship.
With the win, the Americans have advanced to the gold medal game and will play the defending champs, Sweden. For the second straight year after losing in the semi-finals, Canada will have to play for bronze.
Oil Kings captain Griffin Reinhart recorded four penalty minutes, one shot on goal and a -2 rating.
Just 7:18 in, the game came off the rails due to some spotty, un-Team Canada-like coverage. With Malcolm Subban contending with a screen of six players (four dressed in red and white) and others on the way, Team USA captain Jake McCabe’s long-range wrist shot eluded everyone en route to a 1-0 American lead.
McCabe wasn’t done there, scoring another less than nine minutes later on a similar play. As the US activated their defence, McCabe drifted into the high slot, picked up a Rocco Grimaldi pass and whistled a shot past Subban.
McCabe added an assist in the win, ending the night with a team-high +5 rating.
In complete control as the second period got underway, Calgary Flames prospect Johnny Gaudreau, currently playing in Boston College of the NCAA, put the Americans up by a 3-0 score. In a wild, positionally undisciplined end-to-end sequence, Reinhart was one of many to be caught deep — as a result, Gaudreau countered back, toe-dragged around Ryan Murphy and rifled a pinpoint wrister past Subban at 2:58.
10 minutes later, Team USA extended to a 4-0 lead as Jim Vesey got in on the action. Slaloming his way through the Canadian defence, Vesey performed a nifty inside-out move on Xavier Ouelett before slicing at a shot that beat Subban clean.
Whether it was a mercy pull or not, Subban’s night was over (allowing four goals on 16 shots); Jordan Binnington entered the game and played well in his appearance, stopping 25 of 26 shots in 27:16.
Equal to the Americans’ output, Canada registered 10 shots in the period.
Needing a strong period similar to last year’s near-comeback vs. Russia, Canada got the ball rolling early. With a loose puck popping out into the slot, Ty Rattie launched a one-timer off the crossbar. For an unexplainable reason, the play appeared to be whistled dead; Rattie stayed with it, however, collected his own rebound and made no mistake in depositing the payload for a shorthanded tally.
Video review upheld Canada’s prayer as a goal was counted at 4:03, despite the play being blown down. So, it should have been a goal — but it shouldn’t have been. Got it?
Penalty trouble and an anemic power-play quelled the Canadian comeback attempt. At 15:41, Gaudreau rounded out the scoring with his second of the night to secure a 5-1 win for the Americans.
— Ryan Dittrick, Edmonton Oil Kings | Follow me on Twitter @ryandittrick