Team USA teammates John Gaudreau, left, Jacob Trouba and Seth Jones celebrate… (Nathan Denette / Associated…)
While the NHL and the players’ association continue to exchange proposals in an effort to resolve their labor dispute and start a 48-game season by the league’s Jan. 19 deadline, the world junior championships are winding toward a dramatic conclusion in Ufa, Russia.
Team USA, which routed the Czech Republic, 7-0, in a quarterfinal game played early Wednesday morning Pacific time, will face Canada in a semifinal Thursday. The game will start at 1 a.m. Pacific time and will air on the NHL Network and stream live on Nhl.com.
In the other semifinal to be played Thursday, Sweden will face Russia, which needed a shootout to win its quarterfinal match against tenacious Switzerland, 5-4. The two semifinal winners will play for gold Saturday.
The U.S. lost a preliminary-round game to Canada, 2-1, and had to beat Slovakia in its preliminary finale to remain in contention for a medal. The U.S. then dominated the Czechs on the strength of five power-play goals and a short-handed goal. Johnny Gaudreau of Boston College, a Calgary Flames prospect, had the hat trick in the victory.
The play of U.S. goaltender John Gibson, chosen by the Ducks in the second round and 39th overall in the 2011 entry draft, has won raves. Gibson, who plays for the Kitchener Rangers of the Ontario Hockey League, has a record of 3-2-1, a goals-against average of 1.51 and a save percentage of .950 in the tournament.
And at the world under-17 challenge in Drummondville and Victoriaville, Canada, the U.S. earned the top seeding in its group by defeating Slovakia, 7-2.
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