YARMOUTH, N.S. – Jonah Imoo (Surrey, B.C./Powell River, BCHL) made 17 saves for the shutout, his second of the tournament, as Canada West advanced to the gold medal game at the 2012 World Junior A Challenge with a 1-0 win over Canada East on Friday night.
It’s the fifth time in as many meetings West has beaten East, including gold medal game victories in 2006, 2007 and 2011, and a semifinal win in 2009.
The victory means Canada West will face the United States for the gold medal on Sunday night (7:30 p.m. AT, TSN), the third time the two teams will meet for the top prize – the U.S. beat the Canadians in 2008 and 2009.
Seb Lloyd (Prince George, B.C./West Kelowna, BCHL) scored the game’s only goal, tipping in a James de Haas (Mississauga, Ont./Penticton, BCHL) point shot just over three minutes into the second period, helping Canada West to only the second 1-0 win in tournament history – Sweden blanked the U.S. by the same score in 2011.
Imoo was the story, becoming the first goaltender ever to record multiple shutouts at a single World Junior A Challenge; he also turned away every shot he faced in a preliminary round win over the Czech Republic on Tuesday night.
His Canada East counterpart, Charlie Finn (North Vancouver, B.C./Kingston, OJHL), did his part to keep his team close by making 23 saves, including breakaway chances by Alex Kerfoot (West Vancouver, B.C./Coquitlam, BCHL) and Brandon Morley (Burnaby, B.C./Coquitlam, BCHL) in the third period.
Canada East will play for bronze for just the second time when it takes on Switzerland in the third-place game on Saturday night (7:30 p.m. AT). The Canadian side lost to Russia in its only previous bronze medal game appearance in 2009.