United States back in championship

Updated: January 4, 2010, 12:35 AM ET
Associated Press

SASKATOON, Saskatchewan -- RPI star Jerry D'Amigo scored two goals, the second short-handed, and the United States beat Sweden 5-2 on Sunday night to set up a title showdown against Canada in the world junior championship.

"The plays just came to me today," D'Amigo said. "Luckily, my teammates fed me the puck and I found a way to put it in the back of the net."

In the first semifinal, Taylor Hall scored twice, and Jake Allen made 20 saves in five-time defending champion Canada's 6-1 victory over Switzerland.

The championship game is Tuesday night.

"That's going to be a fun game," D'Amigo said. "I've been looking forward to it. The championship game is going to be a battle. We'll play hard-nosed, try to get the puck deep, try to bury some early, and get on top."

The United States reached the championship game for the first time since beating Canada in the 2004 final in Finland. On Thursday night in the Group A finale, Canada rallied to beat the United States 5-4 in a shootout.

"They play a great game and have experienced and skilled guys," U.S. forward Jason Zucker said. "Nobody really expects us to win because Canada has won five times in a row, but we're going out there to give our best and hopefully win the gold medal."

Tyler Johnson, John Carlson and A.J. Jenks also scored for the Americans, and Mike Lee made 27 saves. Anton Lander scored twice for Sweden.

Carlson broke a 2-2 tie with 7:26 left when his shot from the blue line bounced under goalie Jacob Markstrom. D'Amigo added a short-handed goal with 3:28 left.

"They scored too easily on us," Swedish coach Par Marts said. "I don't know who to blame but myself."

Swedish captain Marcus Johansson received a major penalty and game misconduct for elbowing D'Amigo in the head early in the third, but Sweden managed to kill off the lengthy penalty before the U.S. pulled ahead on Carlson's goal.

In the first semifinal, Marco Scandella scored short-handed, and Jordan Eberle, Brayden Schenn and Stefan Della Rovere added goals to help Canada reach the final for the ninth straight year.

"It's very special," Hall said. "When you're put in that position, you do everything you can to achieve it. This is the opportunity of a lifetime for us, just to get to the final. To win that sixth goal medal would be unbelievable."

Eberle had a power-play goal in the first period to tie John Tavares' career Canadian goals record with 12. The Regina Pats star also matched Jason Allison for second place on the career Canadian points list with 24.

Mauro Jorg scored for Switzerland, a 3-2 overtime winner over Russia in the quarterfinals Saturday night.

"We played well, but our strength was down, our batteries were down after our game with the Russians," Swiss coach Jakob Kolliker said. "We wanted to keep it close for as long as possible. The short-handed goal hurt us too much to come back."

In relegation play, Tomas Knotek scored three goals in the Czech Republic's 10-2 victory over Latvia.


Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press

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