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U.S. Youth Olympic hockey to play for gold after shootout win

Jan. 30—GANGNEUNG, South Korea — At this point, the United States Youth Olympic men's hockey team must be as comfortable in the shootout as Doc Holliday.

For the third game in a row, Team USA went to the skills competition after 45 minutes of play, and this time their experience shone through, leading to a 6-5 win over Canada in the tournament semifinals on Tuesday night, Jan. 30 and a berth in Wednesday's gold-medal game against Czechia.

The result ensures that Superior's Jackson Marthaler and Hermantown's A.J. Francisco will come home with at least a silver medal from the six-team tournament, which concludes at 5 a.m. Duluth time on Wednesday morning.

Similar to Monday's last preliminary game against the Czechs, the U.S. had trouble holding on to leads, emerging from a flurry of second-period goals with a 3-1 advantage, only for Canada to tie the game at 3, then equalize at 4-4 and 5-5 after the U.S. scored first, with Canada's last goal coming with 2:06 to play.

Neither Northland player had a point in regulation, though both were plus-1.

J.P. Hurlbert scored on the first shootout attempt for Team USA, which proved to be enough, as all five subsequent attempts by both teams were unsuccessful. Francisco took a turn in round 3, as he has in all three shootouts for the U.S., and his shot was denied.

The United States has played in the last two Youth Olympic men's hockey gold medal games, defeating Canada in 2016 and losing to Russia in 2020. Czechia defeated Finland 3-1 in the other semifinal earlier on Tuesday.

Wednesday's gold-medal game will be streamed on the

Gangwon 2024 Youth Olympic website (registration required).