Canada forward Drake Batherson (19) celebrates after scoring against Czech Republic goaltender Josef Korenar (30) during second period semifinal IIHF World Junior Championships hockey action in Buffalo, N.Y., on Thursday. (THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Canada will face Sweden for IIHF World Junior Championship gold

Canada defeated the Czech Republic 7-2 in the semi-final at the 2018 IIHF World Junior Championship

A hat trick from Drake Batherson helped lift Canada over the Czech Republic and into the gold medal game against Sweden at the 2018 IIHF World Junior Championship.

Batherson (New Minas, N.S./Cape Breton, QMJHL) had four points in the 7-2 semi-final win and is now tied for the goal scoring leader of the tournament with six goals in seven games.

“Not getting the invite this summer, I think I saw a few guys last year who had a good start; got an invite to came and ended up making the team so maybe I thought I could be like that and it’s worked out. I just worked on my game all summer, just progressing as a player and getting better every day,” said Batherson about his impact in his first international experience representing Canada.

Canada, which includes B.C. players Dillon Dubé (Cochrane, Alta/Kelowna Rockets, WHL), Cal Foote (Kelowna/Kelowna Rockets, WHL) and former Penticton Vees player Dante Fabbro (Coquitlam/Boston University, HE), heads to the gold medal game for the second straight year. They are one win away from extending their world juniors record to 17 gold medals in 24 tournaments.

Sweden is seeking their 16th gold medal, but first they will have to figure out how to solve Canada’s power play, the best in the tournament with a 56.5 per cent effectiveness rate. Canada has out scored opponents 36-10.

“It’s going to be a different game, it’s a tournament and it’s a different group. I think our guys have learned a lot this year. We went through a lot in the first round and tonight with the way we played the game, trailing 1-0 early, guys didn’t panic and we established our game. All those things we need to take and play our best game (Friday). They (Sweden) have a lot of skill and they’re playing well, there’s a reason why they’re in the final. It will be a great game,” said Canadian head coach Dom Ducharme.

Friday marks 10 years to the day that Matt Halischuk scored in overtime to give Canada a 3-2 win over Sweden and their fourth consecutive gold.

In the other semi-final, the host U.S. were downed by Sweden 4-2. Sweden opened scoring in that game with 6:30 remaining in the first period. They then scored three goals in a two-minute span near the midway mark of the middle frame to give them a 4-0 lead.

“This was a tough night for us but I thought we fought to the very end,” said Bob Motzko, head coach of the 2018 U.S. National Junior Team. “Fortunately, this tournament isn’t over. There’s still a medal at stake and I know our guys are going to be ready to make our country proud.”

The gold medal game takes place at 5 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 5. The U.S. will face the Czech Republic in the bronze medal final at 1 p.m.

Just Posted

PHOTOS: Chilliwack comes together to rebuild fairy village

About 300 people came out to rebuild the fairy village by Vedder River which was vandalized in June

PHOTOS: Lock’s Pharmacy celebrated 70 years with free street party in Chilliwack

The party was based on community spirit and giving back, says general manager David Lock

Kennedy, Cartier Roads could see upgrade in Kent’s next budget

Residents living and working on Kennedy Road wrote to complain about the dust from the gravel

Seven Days in Chilliwack

A list of community events happening in Chilliwack from Aug. 19 to 25

Get a free sneak peek at modern ballet performance in Chilliwack

New ballet @giselle is putting the final touches on its show at the Chilliwack Cultural Centre

VIDEO: Facebook rolls out tool to block off-Facebook data gathering

CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced the “clear history” feature more than a year ago

Teacher disciplined after bringing 45 grams of cannabis to Surrey school

Eugenio Bahamonde was also charged with trafficking in Vancouver, but later acquitted

B.C. rainbow crosswalk covered in mysterious black substance

Black substance spilled intentionally near Vancouver Island school and difficult to remove

New anti-drone tech deployed at Abbotsford Airshow

Operators could locate drones from up to 23 kilometres away

RCMP originally planned to arrest Meng Wanzhou on plane, defence lawyers say

The allegations have not been proven in court. Meng was arrested Dec. 1 at Vancouver airport at the behest of the U.S.

Bodies of two missing Surrey men found near Ashcroft

Ryan Provencher and Richard Scurr have been missing since July 17

Ethics commissioner ready to testify on Trudeau, SNC-Lavalin: NDP critic

A new poll suggests the report hasn’t so far hurt the Liberals’ chances of re-election this fall

Inflation hits Bank of Canada 2% target for second straight month

Prices showed strength in other areas, including an 18.9 per cent increase in the cost of fresh vegetables

Most Read