Canada, USA set to battle in semis at Hlinka Gretzky Cup on TSN
The stage is set for another chapter of the Canada – U.S. hockey rivalry to be written Friday on TSN as the two powerhouse nations meet in the semifinals of the Hlinka Gretzky Cup from Czechia’s Fosfa Arena.
Canada and the U.S. enter Friday's game with an identical 2-1 record as they finished preliminary play with six points apiece.
The Canadians' tournament started with a 9-6 loss to the hands of Finland, thanks to a hat trick and a pair of assists from Finnish forward Tuomas Suoniemi.
Canada rebounded in their second game of the tournament, trouncing Slovakia by 10 goals in a 14-4 win. Saginaw Spirit forward Michael Misa tallied six points in the game, while Price Albert Raiders forward Ryder Ritchie contributed five points of his own.
Riding high on their first preliminary win, Owen Sound Attack goaltender Carter George steered aside all 12 shots he faced to help Canada blank Switzerland 5-0 to capture back-to-back wins.
The United States took a similar path to the semis as Canada, dropping their first game of the tournament to Czechia 7-2.
Just as Canada did, the Americans rattled off back-to-back wins, downing Sweden 6-1 and Germany 8-1, on the back of Tri-City Storm forward Trevor Connelly's hat trick in the latter contest.
Having won gold at the tournament 23 times and as most recently as last year, beating Sweden 4-1 in the final, history is on Canada's side.
Leading the Canadians into battle with the U.S. is a trio of point-getters during the prelims in Ritchie (eight), Misa (eight) and the Spokane Chiefs centre Berkly Catton (seven).
Connelly is the lone American skater to record more than five points in preliminary play. Shattuck St. Mary's 18U Prep product Will Zellers was the next-highest scorer for the U.S. with four.
The winner of Canada-USA will face the victor of Finland-Czechia on Saturday at 11 a.m. on TSN.