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World Juniors Update: Jan. 3

by Caryn Switaj / Boston Bruins – After a strong showing in the preliminary round, Canada – along with Bruins prospects Malcolm Subban, Dougie Hamilton and Anthony Camara – had its hopes for a gold medal dashed by its North American rival, falling to the United States 5-1 on Thursday in Ufa, Russia. Heading into the match-up undefeated in the tournament, Canada had previously defeated the U.S. 2-1 in preliminary-round play.

Canada and the B's prospects will now play for the bronze medal on Saturday, January 5, against Russia and prospect Alexander Khokhlachev, after the home country fell 3-2 in a shootout to Sweden.

Puck possession led to early offense for Team USA, who went up 2-0 in a penalty-less first period. Accompanied by an outstanding performance in goal from John Gibson, the U.S. notched two more goals in the middle frame from local names John Gaudreau (Boston College) and Jim Vesey (Harvard/North Reading, MA) to take a 4-0 lead that saw Canada’s Jordan Binnington replace Malcolm Subban in net for the duration of the game.

Canada reduced the deficit to 4-1 early in the third period, though could not mount a comeback to challenge Team USA like in years past (see: 2009, 2010). B’s prospect Dougie Hamilton had an opportunity to score from the post on the power play late, but USA’s John Gibson slid across to make the stop.

"We settled in and we built off that lead,” U.S. coach Phil Housley told NHL Network’s Rob Simpson following the game. “We knew Canada was going to come, and we weathered that."

“It had nothing to do with Malcolm at all," Canadian coach Steve Spott told The Canadian Press following the loss. "We left him out to dry and the goals they scored were quality goals.  It was more than anything trying to give our team a little bit of a shot of adrenaline.”

In Thursday's second semifinal, Khokhlachev and Russia suffered a loss that likely brought back memories of 2012's one-goal gold-medal game that ended with a 1-0 OT loss to Sweden.

Russia only mustered up two shots on goal in the first period, as Sweden jumped out to a 2-0 lead. But the Russians came back with a goal in each of the final two periods to knot the game and force a 10-minute four-on-four sudden death OT. Then facing its second straight shootout, Russia failed to come away with the win for its home crowd.

Though Khokhlachev did not end up on the score sheet, the B's 2011 second-round draft pick was named Russia's Player of the Game.

The bronze-medal game is set for Saturday, January 5 at 4:00 a.m. EST (3:00 p.m. local) and will be broadcast live on NHL Network in what is sure to be yet another heated battle between Canada and Russia, with Bruins fans getting to see four Black & Gold prospects in action.
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