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Ryan Ellis, Canada dethrone Americans, advance to Final…

CAN vs US

Coming into tonight, the Americans had never beaten the Canadians in semifinal play.

And they still haven’t.

Canada used an early surge to suffocate the defending champion TeamUSA squad in the semifinals of the 2011 World Junior Championship tournament, 4-1.

Nashville Predators 2009 first round pick Ryan Ellis, Team Canada’s captain, was held scoreless but finished with four shots and a team high plus-2 rating.

Despite the score, make no mistake, TeamUSA goaltender Jack Campbell, the 2010 first round pick of the Dallas Stars, kept the game closer than the final score illustrated. Most of his 37 saves were of the difficult variety.

Campbell was named the Player of the Game for the Americans and rightfully so.

Not to be outdone, his counterpart at the other end of the ice, Mark Visentin was selected as the Player of the Game for Team Canada. The Phoenix Coyotes prospect finished with 22 saves on 23 shots.

It was all Canada early on. Less than five minutes into the contest, and on only their second shot, Edmonton Oilers prospect Curtis Hamilton took advantage of a scrambling USA defense and put one behind Campbell to put his team up 1-0.

Roughly 10 minutes later, Quinton Howden, a 2010 first round pick of the Florida Panthers, scored what would prove to be the game-winner when he deflected a pass from fellow 2010 first rounder Brett Connolly past Campbell on a 2-on-1.

In the middle frame, the Canadians extended their lead when the star of the tournament Ryan Johansen put home an Ellis rebound on the power play. Ellis, surprisingly, was not credited with an assist.

Just after a TeamUSA man advantage expired, Buffalo Sabres prospect Zack Kassian broke in alone and slid the puck through Campbell’s five hole to make it 4-0.

Chris Brown, the pride of Flower Mound, Texas, finally put the Americans on the board when he roofed a puck over Visentin from right in front while on the power play.

Killing any and all momentum TeamUSA may have had, Sharks blue chipper Charlie Coyle put the puck over the glass and, as a result, took a delay of game penalty with around nine minutes remaining. From that point on, it was all a formality.

Canada advances to play Russia in the championship game on Wednesday night.

The Americans, also on Wednesday, will try to and win the bronze medal when they face-off against Preds prospect Patrick Cehlin and Sweden.

Both games can be see on NHL Network.