CANADA WEST SURVIVES SWEDES, ADVANCES TO SEMIFINALSPENTICTON, B.C. ' Nolan Kaiser's power play goal five minutes into the third period was the difference asCanada West kept its chance for a fifth-straight World Junior A Challenge gold medal game appearance alivewith a 3-2 quarter-final win over Sweden on Thursday night.Kaiser's goal came just five seconds into a Canadian power play ' a WJAC record ' and earned West the winin a game it was outshot 33-22. Matthew Krahn was spectacular in the Canadian goal, making 31 saves.The win moves Canada West into the semifinals on Saturday (7:30 p.m. PT), where it will face the UnitedStates in a rematch of the last two gold medal games. In the other semi, Canada East will face Switzerland (4p.m. PT).After a scoreless first period ' one in which the Canadians were outshot 12-6 ' the Swedes hit thescoreboard first on a power play at 8:32 of the second when Linus Hultstrom snuck a shot past Krahn from asharp angle, but Canada West pulled even just 2:07 later, the puck deflecting off the skate of Dylan Walchukafter a set up from captain Clarke Breitkreuz.The two teams played a wild final minute of the middle frame. First, Canadian defenceman Ben Gallacherpounced on a loose puck in the Swedish crease, poking home the 2-1 goal on the power play at 19:08. Just 40seconds later, however, Swedish forward Sebastian Dyk beat Krahn on a shorthanded breakaway, sending the gameto the second intermission at 2-2.Outshot 28-16 through two periods, Canada West retook the lead early in the third when Kaiser's point shoteluded Swedish goaltender Jonas Gunnarsson, who made 19 saves in a losing cause.With Gunnarsson on the bench and Breitkreuz in the penalty box for the final 45 seconds, the Swedes buzzedthe Canadian goal, but could not get the tying goal past Krahn or the West defence.The loss sends Sweden to the fifth-place game for the second year in a row; it will face Russia on Fridaynight (7:30 p.m. PT).
(Nathan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)