Wisconsin sophomore defenseman Jake McCabe (Eau Claire, Wis.) doubled his offensive output from the first five games of the 2012 International Ice Hockey Federation World Junior Championship to provide all the offense Team USA needed in a 5-1 semifinal victory over Canada early Thursday morning.
McCabe, Team USA's captain, scored the first two goals of the game, then had the primary assist on the third goal, to send the Americans to Saturday's gold medal game against Sweden. McCabe was named the Player of the Game for Team USA.
From USA Hockey's game story ...
McCabe opened the scoring at 7:18 of the first period. Riley Barber was stopped on a good chance in the slot, but he stayed with the play and feathered a pass back into the high slot. Left alone, McCabe snapped the puck over Malcolm Subban's glove. With 3:58 to play in the opening frame, McCabe stretched the U.S. lead to 2-0. Vince Trocheck and Rocco Grimaldi exchanged passes before the puck was deflected to McCabe, who again beat Subban over the shoulder from between the circles.
"We got the start we wanted, scoring the all-important first goal," said Phil Housley, head coach of the U.S. National Junior Team. "We wanted to dictate the pace of the game early and we were able to do that and then it carried into the second period. We're going to enjoy this win tonight and then start thinking about the gold medal game tomorrow."
Canada cut a 4-0 U.S. lead to three at 4:03 of the final frame on a short-handed goal, but Gaudreau converted on a breakaway chance at 15:41 to seal the victory for Team USA.
John Gibson stopped 33 shots for the U.S. in the win, while Subban turned aside 12 shots and Binnington made 25 saves for Canada.
USA and Sweden will skate at 6 a.m. CT on Saturday in Ufa, Russia to determine the gold and silver medals. That means U.S. team is guaranteed its third medal in the last four years of the tournament, all with a Badger hockey player as team captain (Derek Stepan - gold in 2010; John Ramage - bronze in 2011). The Americans have won the tournament twice since its official start in 1977.
NHL Network (DirectTV 215, Dish 403) will broadcast the game live and NHL.com will provide a live stream