Saturday, June 5 | 7 a.m. ET | Riga, Latvia | Semifinal
TV: TSN | Stream: TSN Direct
It’s hard to say that a team that has won gold 26 times at the IIHF World
Championship can go on a Cinderella run at the tournament, and yet, here we
are. Left for dead a week ago after three consecutive losses,
Canada’s National Men’s Team will face the U.S. in a Saturday semifinal in Riga.
Canada sprung an upset in its quarterfinal,
downing ROC 2-1 in overtime. Facing rested Florida Panthers goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky, the Canadians
could manage only a third-period power play goal from Adam Henrique against
Bobrovsky. But the Russians only got one past Darcy Kuemper in regulation.
That set up three-on-three overtime and paved the way for
a must-see moment from Troy Stecher, who eluded one Russian defender with a between-the-legs backhand toe drag
and dangled around another before sliding a perfect pass to Andrew
Mangiapane, who sent Canada to the semis.
The Americans were never challenged in their quarterfinal, opening up a
three-goal lead in the first period en route to a comfortable 6-1 win over
Slovakia. Conor Garland and Colin Blackwell each scored twice for the U.S.,
which is the highest-seeded team left in the tournament and rides a
seven-game win streak into the semifinals.
You have to go all the way back … two weeks ago. The North American rivals
clashed in the preliminary round in Riga on May 23, with the U.S. scoring
the game’s first four goals in
a 5-1 win. It was just the third regulation time win ever over Canada for the
Americans, spanning 48 games over 90 years.
Trevor Moore led the way with a pair of goals for the U.S., while Maxime
Comtois was the lone marksman for the Canadians, ending their
tournament-opening scoring drought at more than 111 minutes.
WHAT TO WATCH
Let’s be honest, we all just want to see what this Canadian team can do for
an encore. The big line of Henrique, Mangiapane and Brown continues to
produce at a red-hot rate (30 points in five games), Owen Power is looking
more and more like a seasoned veteran instead of an 18-year-old on the
blueline and Darcy Kuemper has stopped 92 of 99 shots in his last four
starts. We asked this question before the quarterfinals, and we’ll ask it
again – how many upsets have been sprung by nothing-to-lose teams over the
years? Canada is playing with house money, so anything can happen.
No team left in the hunt for gold is hotter than the U.S. Even after losing
captain Justin Abdelkader the Americans continue to roll, having gone
without a loss since a 2-1 setback to Finland in their tournament opener.
They have been lights out in their own end, conceding a worlds-low nine
goals in eight games and allowing just a single power-play goal in 22
opportunities (a 95.5% success rate).
A LOOK BACK
Even with the loss earlier in the tournament, Canada has convincingly owned
the head-to-head history with 41 wins in 48 games. This marks just the
third time the rivals have met in the semifinals or later at the IIHF World
Championship; Ryan Ellis scored the winner early in the third period
to give Canada a back-and-forth 4-3 victory in the semifinals in 2016, but the Americans had the upper hand in
a 4-1 win in the bronze medal game in 2018.
All-time record: Canada leads 41-7 (U.S. leads 4-1 in OT/SO)
Canada goals: 236
United States goals: 97