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U.S., Canada to meet in Hlinka final

Friday, 08.13.2010 / 2:29 PM / Prospects

By Adam Kimelman - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

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U.S., Canada to meet in Hlinka final
Once again, the U.S. and Canada will meet for supremacy in an international hockey tournament.
Once again, the U.S. and Canada will meet for supremacy in an international hockey tournament.

Both teams won their semifinal matches Friday at the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament to advance to a battle in Saturday's final. It's the fourth time in 2010 the two nations will meet for a gold medal. The U.S. won the World Under-17 Challenge and World Junior Championship in January, while the Canada won Olympic gold in February.

Canada has won two straight Hlinka golds and five of the last six. The last time the U.S. was in the finals was 2006, when the event was called the Under-18 Junior World Cup. The U.S. has won the event only once, in 2003.

The U.S. moved to this year's final in dramatic fashion, rallying from a 3-1 second-period deficit to earn a 5-4 overtime victory against Sweden.

Connor Murphy won the game, played at Zimny Stadion on Piestany, Slovakia, when he scored 41 seconds into overtime.

Lukas Sutter scored twice and Seth Ambroz had a goal and an assist for the U.S., and goalie Steve Michalek had 24 saves.

Viktor Arvidsson scored twice for Sweden.

Sweden took a 2-0 lead just 44 seconds into the second period on a goal by Mika Zibanejad, but Sutter scored at 1:36 to get the U.S. on the board, finishing  a two-on-one rush with Cason Hohmann. Karl Johansson scored to put Sweden up 3-1, but Tanner Sorenson knocked in a rebound in the crease 66 seconds later to get the U.S. back within a goal.

Sutter's second of the game -- with Johansson in the penalty box -- pulled the U.S. even, and then, after Sweden's Jonas Brodin was sent off for tripping, Ambroz scored off a John Gaudreau set-up to put the U.S. ahead, 4-3, after two periods.

Sweden tied the game with 4:28 left in regulation when Arvidsson scored a power-play goal.

Overtime didn't last long, as Murphy skated the puck into the Sweden zone, gave it to Ambroz, drove to the net and took a return pass. He skated around the net and scored off a wraparound to send the U.S. to the championship game.

Canada, the only undefeated team in the tournament, rolled past the Czech Republic, 6-2, at Alcaplast Arena in Breclav, Czech Republic.

Lucas Lessio scored twice and Matthew Puempel had a goal and an assist as Canada now has scored at least six goals in all four of its games.

Alan Quine, Brett Ritchie and Garrett Meurs also scored for Canada, and goalie Tyson Teichmann stopped 15 of 17 shots.

Canada again started fast, taking a 3-0 lead on goals by Lessio, Quine and Puempel in the first period. Lessio's third goal of the tournament made it 4-0 Canada just 3:19 into the second period. Vaclav Tomek scored an unassisted power-play goal late in the second to get the home team on the board, but Ritchie responded with 1:13 left in the second with his fourth goal of the tournament. He's tied with Ryan Nugent-Hopkins for the team lead.

Meurs and the Czech Republic's Tomas Hertl exchanged goals in the third period for the final margin.

Canada has won 12 straight Hlinka tournament games over the last three years. Saturday's final will be the 16th summer under-18 tournament meeting between Canada and the U.S. Canada has won eight of the previous 15 meetings, including the last two, a 3-0 win in 2006 and a 4-0 win in 2004.

In other action Friday, Finland beat Slovakia, 6-4, in the seventh-place game, and Russia beat Switzerland, 5-4, to take fifth place.

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com


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Obviously a lot happened in a short period of time. At the end of the day, considering everything I went through, I really felt close to my teammates and I really feel like what we accomplished, I know we didn't win it all. ... I'm really proud of how we got there and what we did once we got there.

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