Jamie Lundmark's power-play goal with just over five minutes left proved to be the winner as Canada defeated the United States 2-1 Tuesday and advanced to the semifinals of the World Junior Hockey Championship in Moscow.
"I love the kid," coach Stan Butler said of Lundmark, who plays for the WHL's Seattle Thunderbirds. "The character he has shown to me is great. You need guys like that to supply timely scoring."
Canada will face Finland on Wednesday, with the winner advancing to the gold medal game. The two sides skated to a 2-2 tie in preliminary round action.
The Finns advanced to the round of four with a 3-1 victory over Slovakia.
"I thought we outplayed them last time but they've got a good team and a good goaltender so we'll have to be ready," said Canadian captain Steve McCarthy of the Finns.
| Scoring Summary First Period 1. United States, Surma 1 3:18 2. Canada, Ott 2 (Reid, Jackman) 5:48Penalties -- Bouwmeester Can (roughing) 3:37, Ott Can (hooking) 8:11, Meyer US (kneeing) 17:42.
Second Period No scoring.Penalties -- Globke US (slashing) 2:26, Lundmark Can, Hilbert US (unsportsmanlike conduct) 8:12, Bouwmeester Can (cross-checking) 11:38, Globke US (interference) 12:42, Hale US (elbowing) 19:39.
Third Period 3. Canada, Lundmark 4 (Heatley, Cammalleri) 14:54 (pp)Penalties -- Lundmark Can (slashing) 3:42, Forrest US (slashing) 5:24, Forrest US (slashing) 11:42, Cavosic US (hooking) 14:01.
The game was a tight-checking contest that featured some stellar goaltending from Canada's Maxime Ouellet, a first round pick of the Philadelphia Flyers, and future New York Islander Rick DiPietro, the No. 1 pick at last year's June draft.
The U.S. outshot Canada 23-15, including 11-4 in the second period.
"It was very physical, very tight," said Ouellet. "Every time you wanted the puck, you had to battle for it."
Canada stumbled out of the gate, allowing the Americans to draw first blood just 3:18 into the game. Damian Surma intercepted a cross-ice pass from Jay Bouwmeester and blasted a shot past Ouellet.
Windsor Spitfire Steve Ott evened the score two-and-a-half minutes later when he converted a deft pass from Brandon Reid on a 2-on-1 break.
Lundmark's fourth goal of the tournament was the only time during the game that Canada converted on its seven opportunities with the man advantage.
Dany Heatley took a pass from Mike Cammalleri in the corner spotted Lundmark heading toward the net. Heatley's pass through traffic went right to Lundmark, who buried the puck before DiPietro could cover the open side.
"It was getting frustrating," McCarthy said of the team's power play woes.
"Sometimes you're power play gets into a slump. But what a great time to come out of it."