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3 'Star' keys for United States against Canada in WJC championship

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Roman Bychkov #7 of Russia shoves Matias Mantykivi #32 of Finland to the ice during the 2021 IIHF World Junior Championship bronze medal game at Rogers Place

At the center of this highly-anticipated game are Devon Levi and Spencer Knight - two goalies playing out of their minds. "But the job's not done yet".

Tourigny's Canada side shut out a stubborn Czech Republic team 3-0 in the quarterfinal round.

And as this year's 45 edition of the 10-nation tournament played its semifinal rounds Monday in Edmonton's bubble zone, Barnes was reminiscing by phone from his Dallas home about his own experiences 31 years ago in Helsinki, Finland.

"The mood is really good, we have a really great group of guys and we're excited for the game, so we'll be ready".

Russian Federation got on the board with less than three minutes to go in the second period, but it was disallowed after a challenge for an offside zone entry.

The tension was lower this year, however, with Canada dominating the Russians from the start.

"I remember it was both of our first games coming into the tournament, and both teams were getting a feel for each other", said defenseman Ryan Johnson after the USA advanced with a quarterfinal win over the Slovaks.

"I had him past year when he was the D coach", said Drysdale. The Almonte, Ont., native has risen the referee ranks quickly from his early days wearing the stripes as a 15-year-old managing U9 and U11 games. Marie Greyhounds, stopped 22 shots in the loss. They've only given up one power-play goal in 17 tries over the tournament.

"Yeah, that was certainly on my mind, I wanted some revenge after losing in double overtime", said Levi, who goes through a three-hour pre-game preparation to get himself dialled in. "I'm going to be able to look back on this for the rest of my life. That's the rule", he said. Each player knows what's expected and no one feels the pressure to carry the team, and each has displayed what the strength of their game is. "They were solid defensively and very efficient offensively, too", he said. "You want to be part of something special and that last game will be something special".

"That was tough out there, the Czechs really battled hard", said Canadian head coach Andre Tourigny, whose club couldn't exhale until an empty netter sealed it for good. The valley native has spent his entire hockey career in the national capital region, playing for local minor teams like the Upper Ottawa Valley Aces and the Kanata Lasers, before being drafted by the Ottawa 67's.

The thing is, that win over Russian Federation looms large over the proceedings - and if they can put together a similar showing tonight, things could be very interesting indeed.

Tourigny gave a lot of minutes to the top defensive pairing of Byram and Jamie Drysdale - nearly 25 and over 23 respectively - to contain the Czechs and shrink their chances of a comeback.

"There's a lot of emotion in that tournament and you want to be in the last game", he said. "Tomorrow will be a hell of a game".

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