The Canadian National Junior Team just completed, perhaps, its best 20 minutes of hockey in the 2011 World Junior Championship.
The fine effort resulted in 2-0 lead over the United States, the defending gold medalists. The winner of tonight's second semifinal will play Russia in Wednesday's gold medal game at 7:30 p.m. ET.
Quinton Howden, who performed splendidly in the first, struck 13:54 into the game to give Canada a 2-0 edge. Brett Connolly took a feed from Erik Gudbranson and skated down his right wing before hitting the tip of Howden's stick in the slot. The deft deflection entered the far corner on Campbell.
Canada opened the game dictating much of the pace, throwing its weight around and bottling the Americans up in their own end. Curtis Hamilton opened the scoring for Canada on a fine individual effort. After gathering the puck in the left circle, Hamilton sped towards U.S. goalie Jack Campbell and backhanded a shot that Campbell got with his left toe. Hamilton alertly jammed home the rebound at the 2:38 mark.
U.S. forward Jerry D'Amigo was the target of two big hits in the opening 20 minutes. Just 1:40 into the game, defenseman Erik Gudbranson slammed D'Amigo into the side boards. D'Amigo was also the recipient of a thunderous body check at the U.S. players' bench by Howden, the Florida Panters' 25th overall choice last June.
U.S. defenseman Brian Dumoulin got in on the relentless hit parade by both teams when he decked Carter Ashton in the Canada end.
Canada outshot the Americans, 12-5, in the opening period. Despite yielding two goals, Campbell did play well, turning back 10 shots. Canada's defense did a marvelous job in support of starter Mark Visentin, not allowing much down the middle of the ice.