Gauthier, Hart power Canada past Sweden; will face USA for Gold
With one win away from reaching the gold medal game at the World Junior Hockey Championship, Team Canada still had to get through their semi-final game, where they were facing a tough opponent: Sweden, considered one of the tournament powerhouses. Luckily, two goals from Julien Gauthier as well as a stellar performance from Carter Hart were enough to lead Canada past the Swedes, ultimately winning by the score of 5-2.
Needless to say that things got off to a rough start for Canada, who initially started the game with Connor Ingram between the pipes. He gave up the game’s first goal, a shot from Joel Eriksson-Ek, as Canada was actually on the power play. Refusing to let that get to them, they answered back shortly after, with Mitchel Stephens grabbing a rebound in front of the net to bury behind the opposing goaltender.
However, Sweden quickly regained the lead, with Ingram letting in a weak shot from Carl Grundstrom. His second goal allowed in five shots, his game then came to an end, being replaced by Carter Hart.
As of this moment, things seemed to take off for Canada, with Anthony Cirelli scoring a top-shelf goal to tie the game at the end of the first period.
The second period belonged solely to Hart, as he made several key saves to keep his team in the game. Afterwards, towards the end of the period, Julien Gauthier thanked his goaltender the best way possible, sliding the puck just under Felix Sandstrom’s pad for his first goal of the night. This goal also gave Canada their first lead of the game.
Later on, Canada secured the win during the final frame, taking advantage of a goal from captain Dylan Strome while there was traffic in front of the net. Finally, Gauthier scored his second goal of the game in an empty net, ending Sweden’s hopes of advancing to the final.
Felix Sandstrom made 38 saves out of 42 shots for Sweden. As for Carter Hart, he stopped all 26 shots he faced for the win. Furthermore, he was also named player of the game for Team Canada.
Canada will now face off with the USA in the gold medal game as of Thursday, 8 p.m. EST. As for Sweden, they will play for the bronze against Russia, Thursday as well, at 3:30 p.m. EST