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WJC NOTES - January 2, 2005

by Staff Writer / New York Rangers

NYR World Junior Championship Coverage >>

Nigel Dawes tallied the game-winning goal and Canada reached the World Junior Championship gold medal game for the fourth straight year with a convincing 3-1 win over the Czech Republic. Canada will face Russia for the title on Tuesday night after the Russians skated to a 7-2 win over the defending champs, Team USA, on Sunday. The United States will face the Czech Republic on Tuesday afternoon to decide who goes home with the bronze medal.

Ryan Callahan ... Collected 27 penalty minutes (roughing, high-sticking, game misconduct) in Team USA's 7-2 loss to Russia ... Has registered three points (one goal, two assists) in six games.

Nigel Dawes ... Tallied the game-winning goal in Canada's 3-1 win over the Czech Republic on Sunday ... Has posted two goals and three assists for five points in five games.

Al Montoya ... Made 36 saves in Team USA's 7-2 loss to Russia on Sunday. RECAPS: January 2, 2005 >>

Semifinal - Russia 7, United States 2

Russia will be in the gold medal game of the World U20 Championship for the third time in four years after avenging an opening day loss against the United States in a 7-2 win. The game was closer than the score, as the Russians added two empty-net goals, along with an additional five-on-three tally as time expired.

The first period had shades of the Christmas day match-up as the two teams came out firing, netting five goals in the first 20 minutes. It was a special teams shootout as the first four goals came on the power play. Russia took a 2-0 lead in the first five minutes after Enver Liven and Alexander Ovechkin scored on Russia's first two power-play opportunities.

The U.S. answered with a goal on their first power play to pull within one. Patrick O'Sullivan evened things up with a one-timer slap shot with 5:16 left in the period.
But the scoring wasn't finished as Sergei Shirokov restored the lead less than two minutes later, making it a 3-2 advantage.

Things settled down offensively and things remained scoreless for nearly 35 minutes. But penalties haunted the U.S. throughout the game as the U.S. was whistled for 57 minutes in penalties compared with Russia's eight.

Evgeni Malkin showed why he was the second overall selection at the 2004 NHL draft when he fired in a long-distance that proved to be the difference in the win. The important goal gave the Russians a 4-2 lead and gave them some breathing room through the end of the game. Ovechkin and Malkin added the empty-net goals to seal the 7-2 win.

Russia will now face Canada in the rematch of the 2002 and 2003 gold medal game. Russia won both titles and started Canada's three-year silver streak. While the United States will not have a chance to defend its gold medal, it will have a chance win the bronze medal. The team will face the Czech Republic in the third-place game.

Semifinal - Canada 3, Czech Republic 1

For the fourth straight year Canada will play in the gold medal game of the World U20 Championship after earning a convincing 3-1 win over the Czech Republic in the first semi-final game in Grand Forks.

Canada was simply too much for the Czech Republic to handle for the duration of the 60-minute game. Despite the close score, the game was never in doubt as Canada came out and controlled virtually every aspect of the game.

The Czechs allowed only one goal in the first period, which came from Jeff Carter with 1:22 left in the period. It took half of the second period for Canada to start capitalizing on its numerous scoring chances. Nigel Dawes made it a 2-0 game with a power-play goal and the lead was extended just over two minutes later when Patrice Bergeron scored.

Czech goaltender Marek Schwarz did all he could to keep his team in the game, but received virtually no support from his offense, which managed only four shots in the first 40 minutes and 11 during the entire game.

Schwarz was named the Czech player of the game after making 39 saves.

The Czech Republic will play in the bronze medal game for the second consecutive year against the loser of the USA-Russia game. Last year, the Czechs lost against Finland in the bronze game.

Canada will await the winner of the USA-Russia game for its gold-medal oponent. The Canadians have a score to settle with both teams as the Americans beat Canada for gold last year and the Russians did the same in 2002 and 2003.

Relegation - Slovakia 2, Belarus 1

Despite a strong showing at this year's U20 championship, Belarus was relegated to the division I level after a 2-1 loss against Slovakia in the relegation round in Grand Forks.

But Belarus can go to the division I championship with their heads held high after earning a 5-3 win against the defending gold medallists, USA, and nearly defeating the Slovaks in today's relegation round game.

Slovakia had to rely on two goals in the last 10 minutes of the game to earn the win. It looked like Belarus might earn its second win of the championship after Konstantin Zakharov gave his team a 1-0 lead in a defensive game with less than five minutes left in the second period.

The lead stood until Andrej Sekera evened the game at the 10:03 mark of the third period. Peter Olvecky sealed the win and a minimum of an eighth-place finish for the Slovaks with 3:25 left in the game.

Tomorrow's relegation round games has turned into a placement day. In the early game, Belarus will take on Germany for 9th place, while the second game of the day will feature Slovakia and Switzerland duelling for 7th place.
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