Canada, Sweden advance to world juiniors semis

Updated: January 1, 2009, 12:34 AM ET
Associated Press

OTTAWA -- John Tavares scored three goals and Canada overcame an early three-goal deficit to beat the United States 7-4 on Wednesday night and earn a bye into the semifinals in the world junior hockey championship.

Jordan Eberle, Zach Boychuk, Tyler Ennis and Cody Hodgson also scored for four-time defending champion Canada (4-0), down 3-0 midway through the first period in the Group A game in front of a tournament-record 20,223 fans at Scotiabank Place.

On Saturday, Canada will face the winner of the Russia-Czech Republic quarterfinal.

Kevin Shattenkirk, Jimmy Hayes, Jim O'Brien and Jonathan Blum scored for the United States. The Americans (3-1) will face Slovakia -- a 3-2 shootout winner over Finland -- on Friday night, with the winner advancing to play Group B champion Sweden (4-0).

"We'll easily come back from this," American forward Colin Wilson said. "It's a little disappointing, but we've got Slovakia in the quarterfinals. We're definitely going to bounce back for that one."

Earlier, Andre Petersson scored two first-period goals in Sweden's 5-0 victory over Russia, and Jan Kana had four goals in the Czech Republic's 10-2 victory over Kazakhstan. Kazakhstan was outscored 46-2 in its four losses.

Tavares, in position to become the top pick in the 2009 NHL draft, started the comeback with a power-play goal at 14:55 of the first and made it 3-2 less than a minute later.

"Johnny was unbelievable for us today," Hodgson said. "Those two back-to-back goals were what got us back in that game and turned the momentum for us."

The United States scored on its first shot and was up 3-0 at 12:35 of the first.

"I think our team was over the edge a little bit early on," Canadian coach Pat Quinn said. "It wasn't artistic, but it was full of emotion."

Dustin Tokarski rebounded to make 22 saves for Canada.

"I could have made a save or two for the guys early, but we showed the character we have, getting three quick ones to tie it up," Tokarski said. "For us to do that gives us a lot more confidence going into the next game."

In the seven years the tournament has awarded a bye to the pool winners, only Russia (1999) and Canada (2008) have won the gold medal after playing in the quarters.

"We talked about that going into the third period," Canadian captain Thomas Hickey said. "You play 20 minutes as hard as you can and you get 60 off. That's going to be huge for us. The rest is important."

Canada is 26-5-3 against the United States in the event.


Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press

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