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Connolly Marks Score Sheet as Canada Advances to Gold Medal Game

by Peter Pupello / Tampa Bay Lightning

Lightning prospect Brett Connolly assisted on a goal Monday to help Team Canada defeat the United States, 4-1, in the semifinals of the 2011 IIHF World Junior Championships being held in Buffalo, New York.

Now, along with teammate and fellow Tampa Bay prospect Carter Ashton, he hopes to follow up with a repeat performance and earn another assist as he attempts to win Team Canada a gold medal.

Curtis Hamilton, Quinton Howden, Ryan Johansen, and Zack Kassian had goals for the Canadians, while Chris Brown scored for the United States midway through the final period to break a shutout bid by Canadian goaltender Mark Visentin.

Canada avenged a loss in last year’s championship, falling ironically to the United States, and will appear in its 10th consecutive gold medal game on Wednesday against Russia, who defeated Sweden in the tournament’s other semifinal game.

Hamilton put Canada out to an early lead nearly three minutes in before Connolly assisted on his squad’s second goal of the period. Team Canada would add an additional goal in each of the last two periods to make it 4-0, with the United States finally getting on the board with just over 10 minutes left in regulation.

Team Slovakia, featuring Lightning hopefuls Richard Panik and Adam Janosik were idle Monday, but play today in a relegation round matchup against the Czech Republic in the team’s final game of the tournament.

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