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World Juniors

USA, Canada compete for gold medal

In U.S.: Watch live on, NHL Network; in Canada: Tune in on TSN

by Mike G. Morreale @mikemorrealeNHL / Staff Writer

MONTREAL -- The United States and Canada will play for the gold medal at the 2017 IIHF World Junior Championship at Bell Centre on Thursday (8 p.m. ET).  Fans in the United States can watch live on and NHL Network; Canadian-based viewers can tune in on TSN.

It will be the fourth time in the history of the tournament the countries will play against each other in the final.

The United States defeated Russia 4-3 in a shootout in the semifinal to end a seven-game losing streak in the playoff round against its international rival. Canada extended its winning streak against Sweden in the playoff round to seven games with a 5-2 victory.  

Canada has reached the championship round a record 25 times. It has won one gold medal in the past seven WJC, celebrating the last of 16 gold medals in a 5-4 win against Russia at Air Canada Centre in Toronto in 2015.

The United States will be making its fifth appearance in the gold medal game. It has won its past three championship round games against Sweden in 2013, and Canada in 2004 and 2010. Its only loss came 2-0 against Canada in 1997.

Video: USA-CAN Gold Medal Game Preview

U.S. center Colin White (Ottawa Senators), who scored twice against Russia, has six goals in six games. He's been thinking of this moment since elementary school.

"I've dreamed of playing in this [WJC gold medal] game since I was 7 years old," White said. "Now that it's here, I'm just trying to keep all distractions out of my head and hope for the best. It's going to be crazy [Thursday]."

The United States defeated Canada for the first time in seven tries, 3-1 in the preliminary round on Saturday to take first place in Group B.

"We've learned a lot through the tournament, learned a lot through that game against [the United States]," Canada coach Dominique Ducharme said. "I don't think you get the motivation out of who you're playing; you're playing for gold so I think just that's enough. We're going to be thinking about ourselves and we're going to be ready."

Video: WJC Semifinal Round Highlights: CAN 5, SWE 2

Each country proved resilient in their semifinal wins, twice rallying after trailing by a goal. Troy Terry (Anaheim Ducks) scored three times and Jeremy Bracco (Toronto Maple Leafs) scored once for the U.S. in the eight-round shootout. Forward Julien Gauthier (Carolina Hurricanes) scored his first of two goals 12:02 into the second period to give Canada a 3-2 lead.

"This is something we've been looking forward to ever since this team was put together," U.S. forward Clayton Keller (Arizona Coyotes) said. "We have great leadership and everything that comes with it."

Canada defenseman Thomas Chabot (Ottawa Senators) and U.S. defenseman Charlie McAvoy (Boston Bruins) have each been exceptionally strong for their respective countries.

"It's going to be good," Chabot said. "I think it's going to be a hard-fought game but it's fun to see a team that beat you in the tournament. I think we all remember how we were feeling after the game. We were all mad and I don't think we could get a better setup.

"I think we're going back for the gold medal against the only team who beat us in the tournament so obviously everyone's looking forward to it and we're going to bring our A game."

Video: Crew talks Terry's shootout performance in 2017 WJC

The leadership has been tremendous for each country. Captain Dylan Strome (Arizona Coyotes) leads Canada with 10 points (three goals, seven assists) in six games. Luke Kunin (Minnesota Wild), captain for the U.S., has two goals and two assists, and is second at the WJC with 25 penalty minutes.

U.S. goaltender Tyler Parsons (Calgary Flames), who was making his second straight start for the first time in the tournament, made 33 saves in regulation and overtime, before stopping four attempts in the shootout. Canada goalie Carter Hart (Philadelphia Flyers) stopped all 28 shots faced in relief of Connor Ingram (Tampa Bay Lightning) in the win against Sweden. Hart will start against the United States.

"This might sound corny but we just felt like we had a special group of guys at development camp in Michigan [in August]," U.S. coach Bob Motzko said. "Our quest has always been to be the best team we can be. We have a great group of guys and they're playing awfully good hockey."

Video: Mears, Starman on Team USA vs. Russia in 2017 WJC

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