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Canada East vs. USA in World Jr A Challenge final

by Mike G. Morreale
The United States and Canada East won semifinal-round contests on Saturday and will face-off in the gold-medal game on Sunday at the 2010 World Junior A Challenge at the South Okanagan Events Centre in Penticton, B.C.

The U.S. defeated Canada East, 6-1, on Nov. 8 in its first game of the preliminary around.

Team USA, which has won two straight World Junior A golds, received a goal and one assist from Garrett Allen in the opening 11 minutes of the game and Jimmy Mullin scored his tournament-leading fifth goal via a penalty shot in the third period as the Americans rolled to a 5-1 victory over Canada West.

"I was very pleased with our start tonight," said Team USA coach P.K. O'Handley. "I know it sounds cliche, but this game was just another step. We need to remain focused (Sunday) and compete like we did tonight."

The U.S. took a 1-0 lead seven minutes into the game when Caleb Herbert knocked in a rebound goal. Only three minutes later, Allen, of Delafield, Wis., extended the lead 2-0 with a goal.

The U.S. had beaten Canada West in the last two gold medal games. The loss means Canada West will not be playing for a gold medal for the first time in the tournament's five-year history. Zane Gothberg made 27 saves for the U.S. Allen was named player of the game for the Americans and Dylan Walchuk was best player for Canada West.

The U.S. was 1-for-6 on the power play and Canada West went 0-for-9 -- the U.S. has allowed only one power-play goal in 21 shorthanded situations in the tournament.

Canada East, meanwhile, knocked off previously unbeaten Switzerland, 4-2, as team player of the game Nick Huard scored twice and Jordan Ruby made 39 saves. 

Canada East received goals by Huard and Maxime Dumond in the second period to grabe a 3-1 lead over Switzerland, which will battle Canada West in the bronze medal game on Sunday.

Swiss forward Ryan McGregor, whose late goal in the first had pulled his team into a 1-1 tie, was named Switzerland's player of the game.
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