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

‘Beauty amongst such tragedy:’ B.C. photographer captures nature’s trifecta

David Luggi’s photo from a beach in Fraser Lake shows Shovel Lake wildfire, Big Dipper and an aurora

B.C. declares state of emergency as more than 560 wildfires rage

This is only the fourth state of emergency ever issued during a fire season

UPDATE: 5 injured in plane crash following Abbotsford International Airshow

One in critical condition in incident involving vintage plane

Shag Creek area under evacuation order, area expanded

93 properties are being told to evacuate immediately

B.C. Wildfires 2018: Thousands prepare to leave their homes at a moment’s notice

Northwest B.C. and Cariboo seeing most fire activity in province as crews battle 490 fires

Canadians fear for relatives trapped amid flooding in Indian state of Kerala

More than 800,000people have been displaced by floods and landslides

IndyCar driver Wickens flown to hospital after scary crash

IndyCar said Wickens was awake and alert as he was taken to a hospital

Ex-BCTF president ‘undeterred’ after early release from pipeline protest jail term

Susan Lambert and Order of Canada recipient Jean Swanson released early

Fast food chains look to capitalize on vegetarian, vegan trend with new items

Seven per cent of Canadians consider themselves vegetarians and 2.3 per cent identify as vegans

B.C. swimmer halts journey across Strait of Juan de Fuca after hypothermia sets in

Victoria MS athlete Susan Simmons swam for eight-and-a-half hours in 9 C choppy waters

‘Hard on water:’ Smoke not the only long-range effect of wildfires

The project began more than 10 years ago after southern Alberta’s 2003 Lost Creek fire

B.C. VIEWS: Genuine aboriginal rights are misused and discredited

Camp Cloud one of long line of protests falsely asserting title

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to march in Montreal’s Pride parade

Trudeau will end the day in his home riding of Papineau

Most Read