U.S. ROLLS PAST RUSSIA, ADVANCES TO GOLD MEDAL GAME
JASON LA ROSE
TRURO, N.S. - Tyler Madden scored a pair of goals and Jake Kucharski stopped all 21 shots he faced for the shutout, sending the United States back to the gold medal game at the World Junior A Challenge with a 5-0 semifinal win over Russia on Thursday afternoon.
The Americans will face either Canada West or the Czech Republic in the final on Saturday (3 p.m. AT, TSN), in search of their second-consecutive gold, and eighth overall.
Paul Cotter, Nathan Smith and Jack Dugan also scored for the U.S., which netted a goal in each of the first two periods before scoring three times in the final 6:05 to pull away.
Cotter got it started just past the 12-minute mark of the first period, burying a centering pass from Dugan.
It could have been much worse for the Russians; Madden and Sam Hentges both hit the post in the first 20 minutes, and goaltender Amir Miftakhof robbed Dugan with the right pad late in the opening frame to keep it a one-goal game.
Madden got credit for a follow-the-bouncing-puck goal early in the second period; a shot from Alex Steeves banked off the end boards, hit Madden at the side of the net, then deflected off a Russian defender and in for the 2-0 marker.
The Americans smothered a very good Russian offence, holding it to just 14 shots through 40 minutes, and most of the seven Russia managed in the third period came with the game well in hand.
Madden added his second goal at 13:55 of the final stanza, knocking in a loose puck in front, Smith finished a set-up from Graham Slaggert at 15:10, and Dugan danced around a Russian before tucking in the fifth and final goal with 50 seconds left.
Russia, which lost to the U.S. in the semifinals for the second year in a row, will take on the loser of the West-Czech semifinal in the bronze medal game on Friday night (7:30 p.m. AT).