Canada going for gold
Canada going for gold
Valiant effort from USA in 4-3 loss
Just as was the case in 2007, the last time Moscow hosted the World Championship, Canada will face Finland for the gold.
"We made some mistakes tonight that almost cost us, but we were able to outlast them. It's never easy," said Canada's Matt Duchene, a member of the team a year ago. "We sat back at times tonight, but fortunately we were able to outlast them."
The speedy and impressive Americans will play Russia for bronze and will try to make history. Having won bronze last year, they hope to win consecutive medals for the first time since 1949 and 1950.
"We are a young team," said American defenceman Chris Wideman. "They have about $90 million in payroll in the NHL I don’t even think we are close to $10 million, so I don’t think that guys were used to playing against some of these guys. I thought we outworked them tonight and deserved better. It is an unfortunate outcome."
The winning goal started innocently enough. Connor McDavid merely played the puck back to defenceman Ryan Murray as he went to the bench. Murray then wired a hard puck around the boards to Ellis, who skated down the right wing alone. With few options, he let rip a slapper that Kinkaid simply couldn't react to in time.
"He's an unbelievable player," teammate Taylor Hall said of Ellis. "He's a guy who gets overshadowed by other guys in Nashville. Since he got here, he's been a really calming influence every time he's on the ice. It seems like he's in the offensive zone every shift he plays."
Tonight's game was no classic, but the difference between the winners and losers was marginal. Nervous and tentative play often produced icings and more whistles than what one would have liked, but the tension was palatable as the U.S. tried to get to a game for a medal it hasn't won since 1933.
Canada, last year's champions, now have a chance to repeat while Finland is trying to make history as the first country to win U18 gold, U20 gold, and World Championship gold in the same season.
A nervous first period produced two goals at one end, a nice save at the other, and not much else. Canada drew first blood at 8:59 after an extended period of puck possession in the U.S. end, culminating with a poor-angle shot by Boone Jenner.
Keith Kinkaid made the save but the puck came out the back side to Brendan Gallagher, who swatted it in while being checked.
Canada made it 2-0 at 18:02 on a gorgeous play involving Brad Marchand and Cody Ceci. Marchand scooped up a loose puck at centre ice and produced a two-on-one with Ceci. The two exchanged nice passes, leaving Marchand with an open cage. From a bad angle, he managed to find the net.
Cam Talbot did his part at the other end, robbing Hudson Fasching on a shot and then his own rebound from in close.
The Americans started the second with a power play that carried over from the first, and they didn’t waste time getting back in the game. Auston Matthews ripped a slapshot over Talbot’s glove at 1:14 to make it 2-1, but the U.S. was only just beginning.
Less than three minutes later, they tied the game when David Warsofsky wired a shot to the top corner over Talbot’s shoulder, and then at 8:25 they took the lead.
Dylan Larkin made a sweet pass to Tyler Motte, and he also fired high to beat the Canadian goalie. Teams settled into a tense game with many whistles, but Canada managed to tie the game late on a power play.
A point shot bounced and deflected several times before landing fortuitously on the stick of Derick Brassard, who pooped it into the net. On a later man advantage, Taylor Hall was stopped by Kinkaid on a breakaway.
And so now Canada has a chance to win a second straight gold, but it will have to beat the only team Canada has lost to this year, a resounding 4-0 loss in the Preliminary Round.
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