United States 1 - Canada 2
by Alan Adams
LEKSAND, Sweden – Jonathan Toews and Carey Price were a lethal combination in Canada's thrilling 2-1 sudden-death shootout semifinal victory over the United States at the World Junior Hockey Championship on Wednesday.
Toews scored on all of his three shootout attempts, including the winning goal, and Price made the save that sent Canada into Friday's gold medal game against Russia to lead the Canadians to their sixth straight appearance in the 2007 WJC's championship game.
Russia beat Sweden 4-2 in the second semifinal to advance to the gold medal game against Canada for the fourth time in the last five years. Canada has won the last two times the longtime rivals have met.
The Canadians and Americans were tied 1-1 after regulation time and a 10-minute overtime failed to break the deadlock, sending the game to a shootout.
Each team is allowed three shooters in the first round of the shootout and when the Canadians and Americans remained knotted again, the game went to a sudden-death shootout.
Toews scored on Canada's first shot in sudden death and the U.S. tied it on a goal by Peter Mueller. Andrew Cogliano put Canada ahead again but Jack Johnson replied.
Toews was sent out again and this time, he deked goalie Jeff Frazee and scored on his forehand. And when Price foiled Mueller, the Canadians were off to the championship game.
"I guess I was running out of ways to score so I gave him a little head fake," said Toews. "He was further out of his net (than on previous shootout attempts) and I was able to beat him on the blocker side."
"I guess next time we keep throwing Jonathan out," said head coach Craig Hartsburg. "He is an amazing kid and he is character.
"When you want to describe character, Jonathan Toews is a character player. He does everything for the team. He is a heart and soul kid.
"Price was also unbelievable. The whole game we made mistakes with the puck that caused ourselves some grief and here was there all night."
Price turned away 34 shots in regulation and overtime.
"He's so calm and laid-back in the net," Cogliano said of Price. "He does a great job of staying big and making the easy save."
"We were crossing our fingers every time they were shooting but Pricer did a great job and he faced some good snipers," said Toews.
The Canadians didn't turn in their sharpest effort and trailed 1-0 with less than 15 minutes left in regulation time when Bourdon scored at 12:19 of the third period.
Hartsburg praised his team for the way the players responded to a little adversity.
"The whole game I thought we looked a little uptight," said Hartsburg. "We really struggled. Our play with the puck, we looked uptight. One good thing is our kids did not get frustrated. At times we made mistakes and we found a way.
"This is the first time we had to face adversity and I am proud of how they battled through it."
"It was tough and this is the first time we went through some real adversity and the U.S. tested us tonight," he said. "We found a way to win and we never gave up. At times it was not pretty but we got it done."
"But we can't be satisfied."
The Canadian juniors aren't and the only way they will be satisfied is by winning Friday's gold medal game.