Philadelphia Flyers defenseman prospect Jeff Woywitka scored with 8:20 left in the third period, giving Canada a 3-2 win over the United States on Friday, in the semifinals of the World Junior Championships.
Team Canada (5-0), which had a bye in the opening round of medal-round play, outshot the U.S., 42-15, and advances to the gold-medal game against Russia (5-0). Team USA (4-2), which advanced to the semifinals with a 4-3 win over the Czech Republic on Thursday, will play in the bronze-medal game on Sunday against Finland, a 4-1 loser to Russia on Friday.
The U.S. will be looking for its first medal since 1997 in Switzerland, when it won the silver, losing the gold-medal game to Canada. It is assured its best finish since 2000.
Providence’s Bob Goepfert, who came in gunning for his fifth straight win in the tournament, played a strong game by stopping 39 of 42 shots for Team USA.
The United States never led in the game, tying the score in the first period on a shorthanded goal from Michigan’s Eric Nystrom.
Canada scored the only goal of the second period, and at one point have five power plays compared to one for the U.S. But Team USA drew three penalties in the closing minute of the second period, and started the final period on a 5-on-3. It was able to capitalize on that chance, as Ohio State’s Ryan Kesler knotted the game, 2-2, at 1:06.
Woywitka’s goal came on a wrist shot, and left the Americans scrambling for the equalizer. Although Team USA withstood a 5-on-3 penalty kill, it was outshot 14-3 in the final period, and was never able to muster enough chances to tie the game.
Sunday’s bronze medal game will be audiocast live at 3 p.m. (ET) on Sunday at USAHockey.com, then shown on a tape-delay basis at 7 p.m. on YES Network (DirecTV Ch. 622).
Canada, which lost to Russia in last year’s final, is looking for its first gold medal since 1987.