Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 2/1/2011 (2366 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Red and white are the dominant hues left at the 2011 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge but a little blue must be thrown into the mix to get the true colours.
While three of the remaining four teams will wear red and white Canada patches it will be the red, white and blue of Team USA everyone is gunning for.
The American squad wrapped up its round-robin segment of the tournament with a 5-2 pasting of Quebec on Sunday at MTS Iceplex to finish a perfect 4-0 and are undoubtedly the favourite heading into the medal round.
The tourney now moves to downtown Winnipeg with a pair of semifinals scheduled for today. The U.S. squad faces Team Pacific (3 p.m., MTS Centre) and Team Ontario takes on Team Quebec (7:30 p.m., MTS Centre).
Ontario went through the event with an unblemished 4-0 mark also, including a 4-2 win Sunday night over Team Pacific in Portage.
The event is in Canada. Three of the four teams left in the tournament are Canadian. Most of the crowd at every playoff game will be cheering for a Canadian team. Yes, it's all Canada except for one team and they just happen to be the steamrolling USA.
Stephane Matteau, son of the former NHLer of the same name, popped his first goal of the tournament to help lead the U.S. to their Sunday win.
"We've worked well as a team for all four games and we're happy with the way we're going," said Matteau. "It's all or nothing now and we're pretty confident. First place was important for us. We get last change and it's a confidence builder."
Matteau's father played in the first every Under-17 challenge in 1986.
"He's always telling me stories about his team winning the first-ever challenge and for me to get my first goal in the tournament with him in the stands watching was huge," said Matteau.
Team USA coach Danton Cole was happy to enjoy the win over Quebec but was also intent on quickly turning the page to the playoffs.
"That's the first hurdle. The hard part is before us now. We knew in all likelihood we would have four games in a row against Canada and the next two will be the toughest," said Cole, a former NHLer who spent time with the Winnipeg Jets.
Cole says despite his club being the favourite, any of the remaining four can win.
"All the teams left are good. There are very good hockey players on each team," said Cole. "No one wants to lose now and everyone is in it to win. It's a gauntlet from here on out."
Team West, made up of players from Manitoba and Saskatchewan, took their final bows on the Winnipeg stage with a 4-1 win over Slovakia.
Winnipeg's Brendan Leipsic fired his second goal of the tournament to open the scoring. The Portland Winterhawks sniper grabbed the puck along the wall and stepped deep into the circle before unloading a wrist shot high past Slovakia's Richard Sabol.
Defenceman Reid Gow of Killarney made it 2-0 for Team West with a second-period goal and then Saskatoon's Chandler Stephenson potted his fourth of the tournament early in the third for a 3-0 West lead.
Andy Desautels' bid for a shutout was lost nine minutes into the third period as Andreas Strauch beat him at the end of a scrambly bit of work by Team West in their own end.
Grandview's Ryan Pulock scored a dandy to make it 4-1 as he broke down the wall on a two-on-one and without even looking at his teammate shelved a wrister that Sabol barely flinched at.
Team West will play its last game of the tournament today in Portage against Team Atlantic (7:30 p.m., PCU Centre).