Seattle Kraken forward Shane Wright, the captain for Team Canada at the World Junior Championship in Halifax, Nova Scotia, fired three shots on goal in 16:03 of ice time in Canada’s 6-2 quarterfinal win over the United States.
Tourney MVP-to-be Connor Bedard from North Vancouver, BC tallied a goal and an assist, but the real hero for Canada was goaltender Thomas Milic of the Western League’s Seattle Thunderbirds. He turned aside 43 of 45 shots as the Americans dominated chances. The 19-year-old from British Columbia is in his fourth season with the T-birds.
Seattle teammates Kevin Korchinski, a defenseman, and forward Reid Schaefer, saw very limited ice time in the semi, but Korchinski has chipped in a goal and three assists over six games.
Defenseman Olen Zellweger of the Everett Silvertips has averaged an assist per game for Canada.
Joshua Roy from Quebec led Canada with two goals and two assists against Team USA.
The game was closer than the score indicated with the Americans having two goals disallowed upon video review while trailing 4-2. In fairness, the first review in the second period for goalie interference seemed sketchy, probably a bad decision, while the third period review was a no-brainer and definitely an infraction. In both cases, the score would have been 4-3 had the goal counted.
Instead, the Canadians finished things off and now prepare to play Czechia in the Gold Medal Game on Thursday. The Americans will play Sweden in the earlier game for the Bronze Medal.
The Canadians lost to the Czechs in the opener of the round robin by the score of 5-2, and as we all know, it’s tough to beat a team twice in a tournament like this one. That fact will make the favored home team Canadians even bigger favorites.
Thursday just happens to be Kraken prospect Shane Wright’s 19th birthday. He’ll hope to celebrate it with Gold.
No Kraken Kokko
The Kraken’s other WJC representative, 2022 2nd-round NHL Draft pick, 58th overall, Niklas Kokko was named to Team Finland, but as the extra goalie didn’t play. Finland was knocked out in the quarterfinals by Sweden.