After an intense, high-scoring hockey game, Team Canada has moved on to the gold medal round after besting Sweden 5-2 in the World Junior semifinals.
Julien Gauthier put Canada ahead while team captain Dylan Strome added an insurance goal in the third period.
A wild first period lead to the removal of Canada’s starting goaltender Connor Ingram after the young netminder allowed two goals on three shots. Carter Hart saved all 28 shots in relief of Ingram.
Sweden’s opener was a seeing-eye low blocker shot from Joel Eriksson Ek that started the back-and-forth period six minutes into the game.
Wild prospect Joel Eriksson Ek opens the scoring against Canada in the semi-finals #WJC2017 pic.twitter.com/e5vvrLf3di— Brady Trettenero (@BradyTrett) January 5, 2017
The equalizer came from Mitchell Stephens nearly two minutes later, on a rebound after a scramble in front of Swedish goaltender Felix Sandstrom.
Stephens goal pic.twitter.com/9lHRdMjWnh— GIF Grand Maester (@myregularface) January 5, 2017
Carl Grundstrom put the Swedes up ahead once again on a goal off a rush just moments after Canada tied the game. Alex Nylander’s incredible assist started Sweden’s movement up-ice for the go-ahead goal.
Unreal assist from Alex Nylander on Team Sweden's go-ahead goal. Pure skill. pic.twitter.com/IEbzmfmO2E— Brady Trettenero (@BradyTrett) January 5, 2017
Of course, Canada tied the game up 2-2 with less than two minutes on the clock in the first. Anthony Cirelli’s snipe over the high blocker of Sandstrom even had his mom dancing for joy!
Lightning prospect Anthony Cirelli snipes to tie it for Canada. His mom jumps for joy. pic.twitter.com/GkhmRlLwfd— Brady Trettenero (@BradyTrett) January 5, 2017
Canada took the lead in the second period after a Swedish turnover in their own defensive zone cost them dearly. Sandstrom was unable to cover up a loose puck at the side of his net and the puck was poked in by Julien Gauthier.
The Canadians poured on the pressure in the middle frame, but outside of the one hiccup, Sandstrom was solid in net, including this remarkable pair of saves on Tyson Jost.
Sandstrom robs Jost twice pic.twitter.com/MmnXd8NQR7— Marc Dumont (@MarcPDumont) January 5, 2017
Sweden fought back by the end of the period, forcing Canadian goaltender Carter Hart to make some great saves in return.
SO CLOSE pic.twitter.com/a2eT27mF4h— Pete Blackburn (@PeteBlackburn) January 5, 2017
Canada extended their lead in the third period on a four-on-four. Captain Dylan Strome won a face off in the offensive zone and the defense cycled before the forward took a shot that got through Sandstrom from the top of the right circle.
Gauthier potted the empty netter to seal the win 5-2 with 1:58 to play.
Team Canada will play Team USA in the gold medal match Thursday evening at 8 p.m.