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Battle of North America: USA to Face Canada at the World Juniors



After going undefeated in the preliminary rounds at the World Junior Championship in Montréal and Toronto, Team USA defeated Switzerland 3-2 in the quarterfinals. On Wednesday afternoon, Team USA faced Russia in an epic semifinal matchup. Russia tied the game up at three in the third period to force a ten-minute, four-on-four overtime period. In overtime, the stakes were raised as both teams faced a flurry of chances. Russian goaltender, Ilya Samsonov was forced to make seven saves while American goalie, Tyler Parsons was required to make eight. After a couple of shots that range off the post, no one found twine, so the game went to a shootout.

According to IIHF rules, the first five shooters for either side must be different. After the five rounds, the teams switch the order in which they shoot, and coaches may then choose anyone on the roster to shoot until the match is decided. Team Russia elected to shoot second, and Denis Guryanov opened the scoring in the shootout. Troy Terry scored in the fourth round to keep USA alive; Mikhail Vorobyov put the Russians up 2-1, but Jeremy Bracco saved the Americans’ chances in the fifth round.

After Russian captain Kirill Kaprizov failed to win it as the tenth shooter, Team Russia was forced to shoot first. Guryanov scored again in the sixth round. Team USA head coach Bob Motzko chose to go with Terry for the rest of the shootout. Terry summoned his inner Olympic TJ Oshie and scored three more times in a row, all five-hole shots. While most would prefer the game to have been decided earlier, the shootout finish proved quite entertaining.

Troy Terry is now a name the hockey world won’t soon forget. In big moments like this, young players have the chance to make a great impression. Terry certainly stepped up. He was drafted in the fifth round (148th overall) at the 2015 NHL Entry Draft by the Anaheim Ducks. At just 19-years old, the Ducks have no reason to rush his development either, as he still has some growing to do at 6’0” and under 170 pounds. In six matchup at the 2017 WJC, Terry has three goals and the same amount of helpers. Not too shabby for a fifth-rounder…

Not surprisingly, Team Canada was heavily favored to win going into the tournament. But after Team USA defeated the Great White North on New Years’ Eve 3-1, the hockey world started to question the Canadians. Prior to that matchup, both squads were undefeated.

Last night, Team Canada faced Sweden in the semifinal round. Connor Ingram started between the pipes but was yanked before the first half of the first period after surrendering two quick goals. Philadelphia Flyers’ prospect, Carter Hart, took over the netminding duties and blanked all Swedish shots for the remainder of the game. Canada netted five-unanswered goals, including an empty-netter by Julien Gauthier, his second of the night. Canadian captain, and WJC veteran Dylan Strome added a goal and an assist in the matchup. Strome has ten points in the tourney, tied for third place with Clayton Keller of Team USA.

Other notable American players to look out for in tonight’s Championship matchup are Jordan Greenway and Colin White, both with seven points. Greenway has been most effective using his size (6’5”, 229 lbs.) to screen goaltenders and pick up rebounds. White has been very effective with his puck protection and knack for finding the back of the net. For Canada, Thomas Chabot and Matt Barzal are two other players to watch out for. Drafted 18th overall by the Ottawa Senators in 2015, Chabot is a fantastic two-way defenseman. He is second on Canada with eight points. Barzal was drafted just two picks ahead of Chabot by the New York Islanders. Barzal spent the beginning of the season with the Isles, appearing on only two games. He was returned to the Seattle Thunderbirds of the WHL to work on his defensive game, a pivotal responsibility of any center.

The stage is set. The United States. Canada. One of the greatest international rivalries in hockey. Who will come out victorious? My prediction: Team USA wins by a score of 4-2!


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Evan is the Hockey Editor for He provides coverage of the New Jersey Devils, New York Rangers, New York Islanders, and Philadelphia Flyers, as well as some league-wide content.

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