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

Another brewery on tap for Kelowna

Wild Ambition Brewery opened last week in Kelowna

Stolen Kelowna vehicle located in Penticton, driver facing numerous charges

The accused attempted to flee from police, ramming fences and police vehicles in the process

Your guide to winter light ups around the Okanagan

From Vernon to Summerland, with a stop in Kelowna, we’ve found some activities for you to enjoy

Update: Two-vehicle crash triggers rollover in Rutland

A SUV landed on its roof after a driver reportedly ran a red light.

VIDEO: Close encounter with a whale near Canada-U.S border

Ron Gillies had his camera ready when a whale appeared Dec. 7

B.C. man wants trapping laws changed after dog killed

Louis Seguin’s 10-month-old Australian shepherd died in a body-gripping trap last month

Nearly 8,000 homeless in B.C., first province-wide count reveals

Twenty-four seperate counts in B.C. cities found there are thousands of homeless in all corners of province

UPDATE: Highway 1 closed near Revelstoke

A vehicle incident has closed Highway 1 in both directions

UPDATE: B.C. judge grants $10M bail for Huawei executive wanted by U.S.

Meng Wanzhou was detained at the request of the U.S. during a layover at the Vancouver airport

Rikhi family donates $60,000 to Penticton Regional Hospital expansion

Donation made in memory of Raksha Rikhi, a nurse from Summerland

Bobsleigh on display in Summerland

Used sleigh set up in honour of Olympic gold medal athlete Justin Kripps

Cain Franson of Sicamous a USports All-Star once again

Franson will play against Canadian Junior team prospects in Victoria

Oogie Boogie, Sandy Claws and coffin sleigh part of B.C. couple’s holiday display

Chilliwack couple decorates their house for the holidays using Nightmare Before Christmas theme

Most Read