Wednesday, January 4, 2017
CANADA ADVANCES TO WORLD JUNIOR GOLD MEDAL GAME
Julien Gauthier, with two, Mitchell Stephens and Dylan Strome also scored for Canada.
Canada will face the United States in the final on Thursday night while the Swedes will play in the bronze-medal game against Russia. Sweden is in danger of being shut out of the medals for a third straight year. Canada lost 3-1 to the Americans in group stage play on Dec. 31.
The U.S. topped Russia 4-3 in a shootout in the other semifinal.
Joel Eriksson Ek and Carl Grundstrom had goals as Sweden scored on two of three shots on Canadian starting goalie Connor Ingram, who was replaced by Hart only 8:05 into the game. The home side battled back and emerged from the first period tied 2-2.
Eriksson Ek scored shorthanded at 6:05 with a wrist shot on a rush down his off wing but Stephens got it back when he banged in the rebound of Cirelli's wraparound attempt at 7:43.
Grundstrom lost control of the puck on a drive to the net but saw it slide under Ingram at 8:05.
But Grundstrom was the goat as he took a cross-checking penalty while Sweden was on a power play and Cirelli, the overtime hero of the Oshawa Generals' Memorial Cup victory in 2015, beat Felix Sandstrom with a high shot through a screen at 18:49.
Canada charged out for the second period and got a goal from sheer pressure as Gauthier poked at Sandstrom's pad and the puck went in at 12:02.
Then Sandstrom made perhaps the most spectacular saves of the tournament so far as he robbed Tyson Jost twice from close range at 13:00. And Sweden nearly tied it at 17:48 when a shot went off Hart's glove and dropped behind him, but was smothered enough on the goal line that video review did not show it go in.
It wasn't enough to turn momentum in Sweden's favour however, and Strome scored from the left circle with the teams each down a man at 7:38 of the third.
Sweden had pulled Sandstrom for an extra attacker when 16-year-old Rasmus Dahlin gave up the puck at the blue line and Gauthier scored into the empty net at 18:02.
Hart began the tournament as Canada's starter, but Ingram took over with a strong showing against the U.S. in the final round robin game and made his third straight start.