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Canada tops Switzerland to keep on medal pace

by Adam Kimelman
SASKATOON, Sask. -- Canada coach Willie Desjardins isn't much of a screamer, but he certainly got his point across to his players in the second intermission of their World Junior Championship semifinal with Switzerland on Sunday.
After watching his team take four penalties in the second period, Desjardins lit into his players, and while no one was telling exactly what was said, it must have worked, as Canada scored 2:56 into the third period en route to a 6-1 victory.
The win keeps Canada on track for an unprecedented sixth straight WJC gold medal. They'll meet the U.S., which defeated Sweden later Sunday, 5-2, on Tuesday (8 p.m. ET, NHLN-US, TSN) at the Credit Union Centre. It is Canada's ninth straight appearance in the gold-medal game.
Taylor Hall scored twice and Marco Scandella and Stefan Della Rovere each had a goal and an assist to lead Canada's offense. Jordan Eberle and Brayden Schenn also had goals, and Alex Pietrangelo and Brandon McMillan each had a pair of assists
Mauro Jorg scored for Switzerland, and goalie Benjamin Conz again played well, making 38 saves.
Switzerland will play for the bronze medal on Tuesday against Sweden (4 p.m. ET, NHLN-US).
Canada led 3-1 after two periods, but Desjardins knew his team could do more.
"That's one thing that really gets to Willie," said Nazem Kadri of the penalties. "That's something that can blow hockey games. When you come this far, you really don't want that to happen. He was getting pretty angry. We talked about taking no more than four minor penalties and we took more than that. He said keep your composure. A few guys were getting under our skin, and basically he said not to let it happen."
"We took a couple of uncharacteristic penalties in the second period, but I think the key is how you respond from them," said Desjardins. "I thought we turned it around in the third and played a real disciplined third."
Schenn kickstarted that early, breaking out of his end and streaking into the Swiss zone. As he got to the circles he tried centering a pass, but it was blocked by Ramon Untersander. The puck bounced right back to Schenn and he lifted a backhander over Conz for his second of the tournament.
That goal seemed to take the wind out of a Swiss team that 24 hours earlier had won an emotional quarterfinal thriller against Russia. Canada hadn't played since its final preliminary-round game New Year's Eve against the U.S.
"It was pretty tough to play two games back to back," Conz said through an interpreter. "Our emotions were pretty raw. It was difficult for us."
"As the game wore on our rest came into factor and they got a little bit tired," said Hall. "I think that's what won us the game in the third period."
While the score may look the same, this one was far tougher than when the teams Canada won 6-0 in the preliminary round.
"Today was a much tougher game," said Desjardins. "I just think because there was more on the line. We watched the Russia game, we knew that if they could be close anything could happen. There was more there and that's why it was a tougher battle."
Canada took control early, pressing the attack and scoring first on Eberle's team-best sixth goal of the tournament. On Canada's first power play, Ryan Ellis made a great pass down low to a wide-open Eberle, and he beat a lunging Conz over his glove at 3:48.
With 6 goals and 11 points, Eberle is tied for the tournament lead in both categories. It also tied him with Jason Allison for second on Canada's all-time WJC scoring list with 24 points. Eric Lindros leads with 31.
Scandella made it 2-0 with a shorthanded goal at 7:26 of the second. McMillan blocked a shot and Gabriel Bourque grabbed the loose puck and broke out of the Canada end. He centered a pass to Scandella, who made a great move to get to the net and his shot barely trickled through Conz.
Hall made it 3-0 just 1:45 later when he took a pass out of the corner, walked in front and beat Conz for his fourth of the tournament.
Switzerland got on the board at 12:27 of the second on Jorg's power-play goal. On the faceoff following Kadri being sent off for boarding, Switzerland won the offensive-zone draw, and the puck was moved to Jorg who fired a point shot that went through a Tristan Scherwey screen and behind Jake Allen.
After Schenn made it 4-1, Della Rovere capped a great shift by him and linemates Jordan Caron and Luke Adam by punching in a short pass from Caron in front at 16:41 of the third.
Hall's second of the game came off a great home-run pass by Scandella that freed him up for a breakaway. The projected top pick of the 2010 Entry Draft came down the wing, faked a shot that drew Conz way out of position, skated behind the net and scored on the wraparound into an empty net.
The game's final moments were marred by a hard hit from behind on Canada defenseman Travis Hamonic by Switzerland's Jeffrey Fuglister. Hamonic stayed down for a few moments but was able to skate off on his own. Fuglister was given a major for cross-checking and a game misconduct.
"That was extremely irresponsible," said Kadri. "Something you don't want to see, especially when the game is out of hand like that. For him to take a run at one of our better defensemen, that shows a lot on his part."
Desjardins said the New York Islanders prospect would be evaluated later Sunday and refused to comment on his availability for the gold-medal game. It was then reported on the Islanders' Web site that Hamonic suffered a separated left shoulder and will miss 6-8 weeks.

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