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World junior championship: Jake McCabe, John Gaudreau lead Team USA to gold-medal game; Semifinal Day 3 Stars

McCabe scored the first 2 Team USA goals (The Canadian Press)

No. 1 star: Jake McCabe, United States

The mobile, always attacking U.S. defence might be the story of the tournament. McCabe (2G-1A, +3) was named the victors' best player after scoring the Americans' first two goals in their thorough 5-1 trouncing of Team Canada. The Buffalo Sabres second-rounder picked his spots to go on the offensive, first by going into the slot to put a shot through a tangle of players for the opening goal. Before the end of that opening period, the 19-year-old struck again with a quick screen shot that beat goalie Malcolm Subban.

[Sunaya Sapurji's must-read: U.S. stuns Canada
with emphatic semifinal victory
]

All told, the U.S. defence has 10 goals in the tournament. McCabe, Winnipeg Jets first-rounder Jacob Trouba and 18-year-old Portland Winterhawks star Seth Jones are the top three players in defenceman scoring.

No. 2 star: John Gaudreau, United States

Johnny Hockey had his third multi-goal game in a row, scoring their third and final tallies in the victory over Canada. Gaudreau (2G-1A, +3), a Calgary Flames prospect whom TSN analyst Ray Ferraro aptly described as "slithery," scored the goal of the game in the second period. He toe-dragged Ryan

Gaudreau, who also helped Boston College win the NCAA title last April, sealed the win in the third period. What a stretch it's been for the forward. It could have been two hat tricks in a row for him, since he hit the post in the first period.

No. 3 star: Tom Nilsson, Sweden

Sweden, despite all its injuries on defence, is back in the final after nipping Russia 3-2 in a semifinal shootout. Nilsson, a Toronto Maple Leafs pick, was named their best player after playing his usual quietly effective game during 70 minutes of hockey. The fourth-rounder logged heavy minutes, helping his team limit Russia to only two official shots in the first period and 29 on the night. Russia rose from its sleepwalk to force a shootout, but Montreal Canadiens high second-round pick Sebastian Collberg got the only shootout conversion to send Sweden back to the final.

Honourable mention: Andrei Vasilevski, Russia

The hosts would have been out of the hunt without their goalie. Sweden easily could have been ahead by four goals rather than two after 20 minutes, but Vasilevski made some critical stops. Ironically, the Tampa Bay Lightning first-rounder had a much more convincing effort than he did in Russia's win in the 2012 s played also made 27 saves from the start of the second period through the end of overtime. Collberg made an excellent move to beat him for the shootout winner.

Neate Sager is a writer for Yahoo! Canada Sports. Follow him on Twitter @neatebuzzthenet. Please address any questions, comments or concerns to btnblog@yahoo.ca.

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