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WJC UPDATE: Going for Gold

Three Flyers prospects look to claim World Junior title in Championship game

by PhiladelphiaFlyers.com @NHLFlyers / http://www.philadelphiaflyers.com

The stage is set for the matchup North America was hoping for - Canada vs. the United States for the gold medal in the 2017 IIHF World Junior Championships, which takes place tonight in Montreal at 8 p.m. and can be viewed on the NHL Network.

The Flyers are well represented on both countries. For the United States, Tanner Laczynski, has appeared in six games, recording a goal and an assist in the tournament, while recording a +2 rating and eight shots on goal.

Laczynski is the Flyers' sixth round pick from this past summer's draft at 169th overall and is currently playing at Ohio State University where he leads the team with 16 assists and 22 points (6g-16a) in 15 games, while also ranking second on the club with a +15 rating.

The U.S. reaches the final after a classic thriller against Russia on Wednesday that saw overtime and a seven-round shootout for a 4-3 victory. This is the first time that they will play for the gold medal since 2013.

Their opponent will be a tough Canada squad that defeated the unbeaten Swedish team, 5-2, in the late game on Wednesday night.

Flyers second round pick in 2016, Carter Hart, did not start the game, but came in relief eight minutes into the first period after Sweden took a 2-1 lead. From there he stopped every shot he faced to close the door on the Swedes making 28 saves and earning "Player of the Game" honors afterwards.

"Obviously we're pretty happy and pumped up now, but we're getting ready for tomorrow and it should be a fun experience and we'll be ready to go," said Hart to TSN after the game.

Hart was the first goalie selected in the 2016 NHL Draft and 48th overall by the Flyers after winning the Canadian Hockey League's Goaltender of the Year award in 2015-16. This season he has a record of 16-3-4 for the Everett Silvertips and leads all WHL goaltenders with four shutouts and a 1.85 GAA.

Philippe Myers appeared in all four games for Canada of the round robin tournament and was on the top defensive pairing, but suffered an injury in the final game against the United Stats that has kept him out of the lineup thus far. 

Flyers GM Ron Hextall gave a brief update on Myers condition: "I talked to Phil two or three days ago before our game. He was feeling good. So far things are going well."

For Canada, they will be looking to recapture gold for the first time since 2015 when they hosted the tournament in Toronto. 

This is the first time the U.S. will play in the gold medal game since 2013 when they defeated Sweden, 3-1, with the help of Flyers defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere.

Tonight's game is also the fourth time in World Junior history that the U.S. and Canada have met for the gold medal… The U.S. has won twice (2010 & 2004) with Canada winning once (1997).

SETTLING FOR BRONZE

Prior to the marquee matchup will be the bronze medal game, which could feature as many as four Flyers prospects, as Russia will face off against Sweden at 3:30 p.m. on the NHL Network

Russia has two Flyers prospects led by Mikhail Vorobyov who has been a key contributor on the top offensive line. He has recorded points in five of the six games and his nine assists lead all players in the tournament and nine overall points rank fifth.

Vorobyov recorded an assist on the first Russian goal and scored in his shootout attempt in the loss to the United States.

The Flyers first round pick last summer, German Rubtsov, did not play in the semifinal game vs. U.S. due to injury. His status is unknown for today's game.

Sweden's Felix Sandstrom took the loss in the Canada game, but stopped 38 shots in the process. It was the 19-year-old netminder's fifth game of the tournament giving him a record of 4-1-0 with a 2.21 GAA and .912 save percentage.

Defenseman David Bernhardt logged 14:40 of ice time in the game vs. Canada but went scoreless. In six games, Bernhardt has three assists, with 13 shots on goal and a plus-minus rating of +6 in his first World Junior tournament.

The games today mean that a Flyers prospect will capture at least one medal in the World Junior Championships for the fifth consecutive year, and with players on both the U.S. and Canada, a Flyer will capture gold for the third time in five years.

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