TRURO, N.S. – The United States will play for a second straight gold medal at the World Junior A Hockey Challenge on Saturday.
The U.S. defeated Russia 5-0 on Thursday in a semifinal game to earn a berth in the final Saturday afternoon at the Rath-Eastlink Community Centre, beginning at 3 p.m.
The States will meet either the Czech Republic or Canada West in the gold-medal game. Those teams met in the second semifinal on Thursday evening.
The U.S. had plenty of jump in yesterday’s semifinal game. They led 1-0 after the first period and outshot the Russians 11-5 in the opening stanza. Paul Cotter had the only goal of the period at 12:08.
Tyler Madden made it 2-0 for the Americans at 2:02 of the second. The U.S. iced it in the third when Madden scored with just under six minutes remaining in the contest and Nathan Smith added another with less than five minutes to go.
Jack Dugan completed the scoring in the final minute.
Jake Kucharski made 21 saves for the shutout, while his teammates fired 37 shots at Russian goaltender Amir Miftakhof.
Russia will play for bronze Friday at 7:30 p.m. against the loser of the Czech Republic vs. Canada West semifinal.
The Americans have been the most successful team at the tournament since its inception in 2006, winning seven gold medals and three bronze. They won gold last year in Bonnyville, Alta.
Canada West 4 vs. Canada East 3 (OT)
Ross Armour tied the game for Canada West with 6:31 left in regulation and won it 42 seconds into overtime.
Armour stripped Canada East defenceman Aidan Girduckis at centre ice and broke in alone before roofing a shot over the glove of goaltender Jett Alexander to send Canada West to a semifinal game against the Czech Republic.
Carter Turnbull and Jacob Bernard-Docker had the other goals for West, which advanced to the semifinals for the 10th time in 12 years. Derek Dicaire, Nick Campoli and Jack McBain scored for East.
West finished with a 37-21 edge in shots on goal.
The loss drops Canada East into the fifth-place game against Switzerland Friday at 3:30 p.m.