WINDSOR, Ont. – After posting semifinal wins Tuesday, the United States and Russia will meet in the gold medal game at the 2012 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge on Wednesday night. The puck will drop at the WFCU Centre in Windsor at 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT; the game can be seen on TSN on tape delay, beginning at 10:30 p.m. ET/7:30 p.m. PT.
The U.S. knocked off Sweden 2-1 in a shootout in the early semifinal, while Russia ended Ontario’s chances for back-to-back gold medals with a 4-3 overtime win in the late game.
The Americans will be looking for their fourth gold medal, having won the top prize in 2001, 20, while the Russians have won gold on one previous occasion, in 2000, although the Soviet Union won the gold medal in 1988.
In the early game, Evan Allen and Anthony Louis scored in the shootout for the Americans, while goaltender Thatcher Demko stopped both Swedish shooters he faced as the U.S. advanced to the gold medal game for the fifth time in the last six U17 tournaments; it won the top prize in 2010, beating Ontario, but lost to Quebec in 2006 and Ontario in 2008 and last year. Michael McCarron scored the lone goal in regulation time for the U.S., while Leon Bristedt had the only goal for the Swedes.
In the late semifinal, Grigori Dikushin tied the game late in the third period and scored the winner 8:27 into overtime to send the Russians to the gold medal game for the first time since winning their lone gold in 2000. Hunter Garlent finished with a goal and two assists for Ontario, which was trying to advance to the gold medal game for the fifth year in a row.
Ontario and Sweden will meet on Wednesday afternoon (2 p.m. ET/11 a.m. PT) in the bronze medal game, which will be available via webcast through FASTHockey at hockeycanada.fasthockey.com. Fans can watch all the action for free by following three steps:
STEP 1: Visit hockeycanada.fasthockey.com and sign up for a free FASTHockey account.
STEP 2: Like the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge on Facebook at www.facebook.com/worldu17.
STEP 3: Just prior to the game, click the HC on FASTHockey link on the U17 Facebook page to watch.
In other action Tuesday:
Fifth-place game at LaSalle, Ont. – Pacific 5, Quebec 4 (OT)
Seventh-place game at Tecumseh, Ont. – Atlantic 4, Czech Republic 2
Ninth-place game at LaSalle, Ont. – Germany 6, West 3
The 2012 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge brings together the top players in the world born in 1995 or later. The under-17 program is the first step in Hockey Canada’s Program of Excellence. Many players who compete at the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge go on to represent Canada with the National Men’s Under-18 Team, National Junior Team and National Men’s Team.
Eighteen of the 22 players who were selected for Canada’s National Junior Team and are currently playing in the 2012 IIHF World Junior Championship in Alberta played at the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge, and alumni of the tournament include past NHL first-overall picks Marc-André Fleury, Taylor Hall, Erik Johnson, Patrick Kane, Ilya Kovalchuk, Vincent Lecavalier, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Alexander Ovechkin, John Tavares and Joe Thornton.
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