Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
Team USA knocked off tournament favorite Canada, 5-1, Thursday morning.
As team captain, and one of the older players on the U.S.A. roster, Jake McCabe was expected to play a defensive role for the United States in the World Junior Championships. While McCabe has been outstanding in his own end all tournament, Thursday's semi-final contest vs Canada provided the Badger blue-liner an outlet to show his offensive skills to the entire world.
The Wisconsin sophomore had a breakout performance in the biggest game of his life, registering the first two goals of the game to give the U.S.A. a lead over Canada that they would never relinquish. For his effort, McCabe was named the player of the game for Team U.S.A.
McCabe's first goal came after a massive scrum out in front of the Canadian net. The puck bounced out to McCabe, and the Eau Claire, Wis. native buried it past screened Canadian goaltender Malcolm Subban.
Later in the period, "Captain America" would help extend the lead for the United States. McCabe jumped up in the rush and caught a cross ice pass from North Dakota forward Rocco Grimladi. The UW sophomore once again fired a puck past Subban to extend the lead for the American's.
"It feels awesome, especially in such an emotional game against Canada," McCabe said. "I'm so proud of my team. This was the best game of the tournament for us."
McCabe added a second period assist to give himself three goals and three assists for six points in six games during the tournament. Team USA's captain also leads the team in plus/minus at +7.
The win is especially huge for the United States as Team Canada has a full compliment of players as the NHL is currently locked out.
Team U.S.A. will play the winner of Sweden and Russia in the gold medal game Saturday morning at 7 a.m. CST. The game will be broadcast on TSN, the NHL Networks, and live-streamed on NHL.com.
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