The United States handily defeated Canada 5-1 in the semifinals at the 2013 World Junior Hockey Championship in Ufa, Russia on Thursday, dominating in every department. The United States will play for the gold medal on Saturday againt Sweden. Canada will play Russia for bronze and will not earn gold for the fourth straight tournament.
"Obviously its disappointing," said Canada's Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. "It's not the result we came here for."
Jake McCabe opened the scoring for the United States 7:18 into the game, firing a shot through a crowd that beat Malcolm Subban.
McCabe struck again with 3:58 left in the period, snapping a shot from the slot past Subban, who was screened again - this time by his own defence.
John Gaudreau made it 3-0 USA snapping home a high shot after a nice toe-drag on a two-on-two rush less than three minutes into the second period.
Ryan Strome had a great chance to get Canada back in the game just after Gaudreau's goal, walking in all alone on American goaltender John Gibson, but he was unable to convert. Jonathan Drouin followed with another chance on a 2-on-1 break, but he missed the net and Canada remained down three.
Subban was chased from the net with 7:16 to go in the second period when he was beaten by Jim Vesey for the American's fourth goal in 16 shots. Jordan Binnington took over for Subban.
Canada got on the board early in the third period when Ty Rattie buried his own rebound after initially hitting the crossbar, with some help from the officials. The whistle clearly blew before the puck entered the net, even though there appeared to be no reason for the whistle to have sounded in the first place. After a review, the referee decided to count the goal.
Canada battled for a second goal during the third period, but was unable to beat Gibson, who made a couple of big saves. Gaudreau ended thoughts of a Canadian comeback with his second of the game late in the third period. It was Gaudreau's tournament-leading seventh goal.
TSN Hockey Insider Bob McKenzie said the loss was a total team effort by the Canadians, from head coach Steve Spott on down. "There wasn't any area of the game that Canada did well," McKenzie said. "They didn't have any jump."
Spott acknowledged that the first 20 minutes did not go as planned despite a good practice the day before.
"We didn't have the start that we wanted," said Spott. "We gave the Americans a lot of time and space with the puck.
"That start to the game put us in a hole that we weren't able to recover from ... Ultimately, the legs simply weren't there in the first period and that cost us."
Subban told TSN after the game that he didn't see the first two shots that beat him.
"It wasnt anyone's fault, they just caught us in bad positions," Subban said. "It's tough to lose like this, but it happens... They're a good team, you got to give credit where credit it is due."
TSN Analyst Ray Ferraro said Gibson deserved a lot of credit, noting that his stellar play has allowed the American defenceman to gamble and join the rush - their blue-liners have contributed 10 goals in the tournament, including McCabe's pair in the semifinal. Gibson stopped 33 of 34 shots against Canada and has allowed just eight goals in the tournament.
"We got the start we wanted, scoring the all-important first goal," said Phil Housley, head coach of the U.S. Team. "We wanted to dictate the pace of the game early and we were able to do that and then it carried into the second period. We're going to enjoy this win tonight and then start thinking about the gold medal game tomorrow."
Canada had won eight of the last nine meetings against the U.S. at the World Juniors, with four of the last five games between the teams decided by one goal.
The Americans had defenceman Shayne Gostisbehere back in their lineup; he was suspended for one game for a stick infraction against Slovakia.