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IIHF WORLD JUNIOR CHAMPIONSHIPS

Alex Newhook, Devon Levi lead Canadian men into gold medal game at World Junior Championships

Canada players celebrate a goal by teammate Alex Newhook in Monday night's 5-0 win against Russia in the World Junior Championship semifinals.
Canada players celebrate a goal by teammate Alex Newhook in Monday night's 5-0 win against Russia in the World Junior Championship semifinals.JASON FRANSON/Associated Press

EDMONTON, Alberta — Alex Newhook scored 59 seconds into the game and Devon Levi stopped 28 shots to help Canada advance to the final game of the IIHF World Junior Championships with a 5-0 victory over Russia on Monday.

Connor McMichael, Cole Perfetti and Braden Schneider also scored, and Dylan Cozens added an empty netter for the defending champions.

Levi, who is a freshman at Northeastern, had his third shutout of the tournament and praised his teammates for their play in front of him.

“The backchecking has been unreal,” Levi said. “It’s amazing to see how much help everyone is giving. It makes my job a lot easier, for sure.”

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Russian goalie Yaroslav Askarov struggled to hang on to his stick at times and finished with 30 saves.

Canada will play in Tuesday’s championship game against the winner of Monday’s late United States-Finland matchup.

“Our defense today was phenomenal,” Team Canada coach Andre Tourigny said. “They were solid, made plays under pressure, made plays at the blue line. We knew how the Russians attack and break through the middle. That was a key to be able to defend against their speed and skill. They broke up a lot of plays and took their offense toward the boards.”

Newhook, a sophomore at Boston College, returned after suffering an upper-body injury in Canada’s final preliminary-round game against Finland last Thursday night. The Colorado Avalanche prospect missed Saturday’s quarterfinal game against the Czech Republic but looked healthy Monday when he scored his third goal of the tournament on his first shift of the game.

Newhook’s shot hit the back bar of the net and popped back out before anyone on the ice knew it went in. Play continued until the goal horn was sounded and officials reviewed the video.

“That early goal gave them momentum, and they deserve the credit,” Russian coach Igor Larionov said. “They were fresher and more determined to start the game. Team Canada played a good, solid game, sound defensively and very efficient offensively, too.”

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McMichael added to Canada’s lead midway through the first after a battle in front of the net resulted in Askarov misplacing his stick.

Jakob Pelletier sent a crisp pass to McMichael, who popped it in behind the Russian goalie to put Canada up 2-0.

A power-play goal from Perfetti widened the margin 15:05 into the first.

“Having a lot of time before the tournament allowed us to get close as a group,” Newhook said. “In these tournaments, that helps any team. We trust each other on and off the ice to get the job done.”

Less than five minutes into the second, Askarov lost his stick once again and Canada capitalized. Schneider took a long shot from the top of the face-off circle and beat the Russian goalie glove side. It was his first goal of the tournament.

Russia 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.

Cozens nearly added to the Canadian tally with just 30 seconds to go in the second period when the Buffalo Sabres prospect was awarded a penalty shot. But Askarov stopped Cozens’ backhand attempt with his skate.

Russia pushed hard in the third. Shakir Mukhamadullin came close to scoring midway through the frame, ringing a shot off the post.

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Both teams went down to four men with just over four minutes left on the clock after Peyton Krebs and Zakhar Bardakov were called for roughing.

The Russians pulled Askarov with about three minutes to go, and Cozens buried the empty-net goal with 1:29 left on the clock.

The 19-year-old also had two assists in the game. With 16 points (eight goals, eight assists), Cozens leads the tournament in scoring.