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Monday January 4, 2010 7:12 pm

Canada-USA match at World Juniors set to explode




Posted by Adrien Griffin Categories: Championship, Editorial

Jordan EberleThe finals of the 2010 World Junior Hockey Championship is set, and it’s going to be a rematch of last Thursday’s tournament-highlight match between Team USA and Team Canada. The Canucks are defending champions on home ice for the second year in a row, while the last time Team USA was in the gold medal game was against Canada in 2004, when they won their one and only gold. Since then, Canada has won gold every year; the first three against Russia, the last two against Sweden.

These two teams faced in the round robin on New Year’s Eve in what’s becoming a growing tradition of fantastic games with fantastic finishes. In last year’s tournament, Canada won the Group A matchup 7-4 in a game that was a lot closer than the score would indicate. Future first-overall draft pick John Tavares scored a hat trick to lead Canada to help Canada clinch first in their group. This year was even better. Canada had yet to be tested, outscoring their opponents 30-2 before the match against the USA.

The States took a 4-2 lead early in the third period and seemed en route to handing Canada their first tournament loss since Dec. 29, 2007 against Sweden. However, the Canadians found a way to battle back, with last year’s hero Jordan Eberle scoring just after the halfway mark of the period, and WJHC veteran Alex Pietrangelo netting the game-tying goal short-handed with 4:15 left on the clock. Overtime solved nothing, and Canada’s Jake Allen outlasted USA’s Jack Campbell as the host team won the shootout – and a quarter-final bye – 3-2. The two teams breezed through their respective playoff games to set up the dream final set for Tuesday night.

This will be just the third time that the two North American countries will face each other in the championship game. Before 2004’s US triumph, Canada took home top honors in 1997 in Switzerland. This time around, Canada comes in as heavy favorites, unless you count their spectacular New Year’s Eve game that could have gone either way. If so, the only thing to expect is one hell of a game. The final puck of the 2010 World Juniors drops Tuesday at 7:30pm EST.

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