Garrett Allen had a goal and an assist in the first 11 minutes and Jimmy Mullin scored his tournament-leading fifth goal on a third period penalty shot as the United States kept its dreams of aWorld Junior A Challenge three-peat alive with a 5-1 semifinal win over Canada West on Saturday night.
The Americans, who beat Canada West in the last two gold medal games, will face Canada East in Sunday’s final (5:30 p.m. PT, TSN2), while Canada West will play for bronze against Switzerland on Sunday afternoon(1:30 p.m. PT).
Off since Wednesday after sweeping through Group A preliminary round play, the U.S. struck first whenCaleb Herbert deposited a rebound behind Canada West netminder Matthew Krahn, and made it 2-0 just 3:29 later thanks to a deft deflection by Allen.Outshot 14-10 in the first period, the Canadians found themselves in a three-goal hole just 1:29 into thesecond period as Mike Parks beat Krahn, silencing a pro-Canadian crowd of more than 3,000 at the South Okanagan Events Centre.
Canada West finally caught a break late in the second period when a loose puck popped into the slot andonto the stick of captain Clarke Breitkreuz, who ripped a shot through American goaltender Zane Gothberg tocut the lead to 3-1, but Nick Mattson got that back on a U.S. power play just over two minutes later, sendingthe game to the dressing room at 4-1 after 40 minutes. Mullin put the cap on the U.S. victory three minutes into the final frame with a penalty shot goal, neatly sliding the puck through the legs of Krahn.
The loss means Canada West will not appear in the gold medal game for the first time in the tournament’s five-year history; it won gold in 2006 and 2007 before settling for silver in 2008 and 2009.