Canada to face U.S. at hockey juniors

Updated: January 2, 2011, 7:09 PM ET
Associated Press

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Canada set up an anticipated rematch, even if it'll be two days earlier than expected.

Canada reached the semifinals of the World Junior Championships with a 4-1 win Sunday over Switzerland, and will face the United States on Monday. The winner will advance to the gold-medal game on Wednesday.

The semifinal will be a rematch of last year's championship game, when the Americans snapped Canada's string of five straight gold medals with an overtime win.

Sweden beat Canada in a shootout in the final game of the preliminary round Friday to grab the top seed in Group B, dropping Canada into the quarterfinals.

The USA won group A and got a bye into the semis.

"It was the most hyped game coming in," Canadian forward Marcus Foligno said. "I think it will live up to it. The U.S. versus Canada. Here it is."

A win over its southern neighbor Monday would give Canada a chance to play for its 16th gold medal since this tournament began in 1977.

A U.S. victory would put the host country into the gold-medal game for the third time in the past 11 years.

"It's the U.S., and I don't think anybody in the locker room really likes them," Canadian forward Louis Leblanc said with a sly smile. "They're a solid and balanced team."

Leblanc, Ryan Johansen, Casey Cizikas and Zack Kassian scored, and Mark Visentin made 21 saves for Canada against a stubborn Swiss team that came in having gone 2-2 in Group A during the preliminary round.

Switzerland gave the Americans all they could handle on Friday in a 2-1 loss.

Benjamin Conz, who made 40 saves against the Americans, finished with 46 against Canada.

After Kassian, who returned after serving a two-game suspension for a hit that knocked out Czech Republic defenseman Petr Senkerik Tuesday, capped the scoring with an empty-net goal with 1:59 left in regulation, the pro-Canadian crowd began chanting, "We want USA!"

"We knew we were going to see them at some point in this tournament and play them," Canada captain Ryan Ellis said. "The finals, semis, or even in the round-robin, I think we just want to play them."


Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press