No doubt they’re cheering for the same golden finish.
It’ll be Canada vs. Sweden in the gold-medal match Saturday (2 p.m., TSN) at the 2008 IIHF world junior hockey championship in Pardubice, Czech Republic. Canada dumped the U.S. 4-1 in Friday’s semifinals
, while the Swedes edged Russia 2-1 in overtime to earn their berth in the final.
Sweden rallied from a 2-0 deficit to edge Canada 4-3 in their earlier meeting in the round-robin portion of the tournament.
Shawn Matthias, Karl Alzner, Colton Gillies and Brad Marchand scored for Canada in Friday’s win – the second straight year they’ve vanquished the Americans in the world junior semis.
Goaltender Steve Mason stopped 33-of-34 U.S. shots and was named player of the game.
Saturday’s matchup marks the first time in 12 years that Canada and Sweden have faced off for world junior gold. At the 1996 world juniors in Boston, a Canadian team that included Redden and Phillips topped the Swedes 4-1. Also worth noting: Canada’s victory that year gave it four straight world junior golds, a streak the current team sporting the red maple leaf is aiming to match.
The 1996 gold-medal team was led offensively by current Calgary Flames star Jarome Iginla, and also included future NHLers Daymond Langkow and ex-Ottawa 67’s star Alyn McCauley, along with goaltenders Marc Denis and Jose Theodore.
Sweden’s roster included current NHL stars Mattias Ohlund and Samuel Pahlsson.Field set for Ottawa 2009
With Denmark and Switzerland officially relegated to Division I for 2009, the field of 10 has been set for next year’s world junior hockey championship in Ottawa.
Slovakia secured its ticket to the nation’s capital by turning back the Swiss 5-2, while Kazakhstan completed a 2-0-0 run through the relegation round by doubling up on Denmark 6-3.
Switzerland’s relegation ends a 13-year run in the elite group.
Joining Slovakia and Kazakhstan in the 2009 world juniors will be Germany and Latvia, who won promotion back into the top group in December, along with Canada, Sweden, the U.S., Russia, Finland and the Czech Republic.
The 2009 world junior hockey championship runs from Dec. 26-Jan. 5, 2009. Seventeen games, including all Team Canada and medal matches, will be played at Scotiabank Place, with the other 14 scheduled for the Ottawa Civic Centre.