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World U18 Championships: Team USA Outlasts Canada in Semifinals

Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

It was a tight game for forty minutes, but Team USA exploded for five goals in the first ten minutes of the third period for a convincing 7-2 win over Canada in the semifinals fo the World U18 Championships in Zug, Switzerland.

The United States controlled play in the first period, outshooting Canada 15-4 in the frame, but could not get a puck past Canadian goalie Zach Sawchenko.

Clayton Keller opened the scoring in the second period when he cut into the slot and unloaded a backhand past Sawchenko for the game's first goal. Canada would have an answer back with a power play goal from Deven Sideroff to even the game. Auston Matthews put the US back in front when he followed his own rebound off a defender's shin pad and jammed home the second opportunity past Sawchenko.

The key moment of the game came late in the second period when the United States had to kill off over a minute of 5-on-3 man advantage for Canada. The Americans survived the penalty kill that carried over into the third period and shortly after killing the penalties, got goals from Auston Matthews and Colin White 32 seconds apart to give them a commanding 4-1 lead.

Canada's last attempt at pushing back came when captain Mitchell Stephens cut the US lead to 4-2. But shortly after, Canadian goalie Evan Cormier, who replaced Sawchenko after the fourth American goal, turned the puck over behind his own net, allowing Team USA's Jordan Greenway to score an easy empty-net goal.

From there, Team USA dominated. Colin White added two more goals to complete a hat trick and close out the 7-2 victory.

The Americans will play the winner of the second semifinal between Finland and host Switzerland for the gold medal tomorrow. The victory guarantees a medal in this event for the 11th straight year for the Americans, and the opportunity to win their sixth gold medal in seven years in this event.