LONDON, ONTARIO – And then there were four.
The 2008 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge has reached the semi-final stage. Team Ontario will meet Team West in Thursday’s first semi-final (3 p.m., John Labatt Centre), and Team USA will face off against Team Pacific in the other semi (7:30 p.m., John Labatt Centre).
Team Ontario won Pool A with a 4-0 record, completing the perfect mark with a 7-4 win over Slovakia on Wednesday night and Team Pacific finished second in Pool A (2-1-0-1). Quebec beat Pacific 4-3 in overtime last night in an exciting affair that saw Pacific score two goals in the last minute to force overtime.
Meanwhile, Team USA won Pool B with a 3-1 record and Team West finished in second place at 3-1, thanks to a 4-1 victory over Team Russia on Wednesday.
Team Ontario is looking for its sixth championship all-time at the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge. That record includes winning the split championship in 1998. Ontario’s last championship came in 2004 in St. John’s, NL. Team West has won this event once, that coming in 2005 in Lethbridge, AB.
Team USA seeks its third championship, having won back-to-back titles in 2001 (New Glasgow/Truro, NS) and 2002 (Selkirk/Stonewall, MB). Team Pacific has never won the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge but finished second at four straight events (2001, 2002, 20).
The two semi-final losers will meet in Friday’s bronze-medal game (1 p.m., JLC) and the winners will play for the gold medal (7:30 p.m., JLC). The gold medal game will be shown live on TSN/RDS, the official broadcasters of Hockey Canada.
Media enquiries for the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge can be directed to Chris Jurewicz. He is on site at the event and can be reached at (403) 880-5819.