2013 WJC: Canada doesn't want to repeat history in semifinal showdown with U.S.

Sunaya Sapurji
Yahoo Sports

UFA, Russia — It’s a moment that Jonathan Huberdeau still remembers vividly. He remembers suffering defeat at the hands of the Russians in the semifinals of the 2012 world junior championship.

View gallery

.

Jonathan Huberdeau doesn't want to come up short again in the semis. (Getty)

A year later the wound is still fresh and the disappointment still stings.

“It’s been a year, but it feels like it was yesterday that it happened,” said Huberdeau, one of Canada’s alternate captains.

On Thursday, he will get another chance to advance to the gold medal game when Team Canada faces the U.S. at Ufa Arena at 4 a.m. ET. Like last year, when Canada won bronze in Calgary, the team will have had two days of rest before the semifinal.

“For sure we think about that – we had two days off – it’s the same scenario that happened last year two days off and then we play a semifinal,” said the third overall pick of the Florida Panthers in 2011. “It’s a different team and it’s a different tournament.

“We just want to have a great start and we want to be focused, that’s the most important thing for us to make sure we have a great start because last year we didn’t.”

The Americans had an easy time dispatching the Czech Republic 7-0 in their quarterfinal. John Gaudreau led the U.S. attack with a hat trick, while Riley Barber scored twice and Ryan Hartman and J.T. Miller added singles. Canada beat the U.S. 2-1 when they met in their Pool B round-robin game on Sunday. This time, however, the Americans are going into the game against Canada on a high after scoring seven goals – five of which came on the power play.

“It’s huge,” said Miller, the 15th overall pick of the New York Rangers in 2011. “It’s really good for confidence. Sometimes the pucks weren’t going in for us, but (Wednesday) they definitely were. It’s nice to know we’ve got that confidence and all that momentum going into this big game coming up.”

And while the Americans were preparing for their quarterfinal, Canada spent New Year’s Day hanging out at the team hotel. During their first off-day, Canadian players paired up and spent a lot time competing in a single-elimination NHL Xbox tournament. Huberdeau and fellow Quebec native Phillip Danault ended up winning the Team Canada video game title.

“It was two French guys. We pulled out a win over Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and (Jonathan) Drouin,” said Huberdeau of their 5-3 victory. “It was a great game.

“We had a lot of fun.”

View gallery

.

Team Canada killed time playing 'Pashenka,' a game using an 'Angry Birds' stuffed animal. (Y! Sports)

They also created a new game – Päshénkå – using a stuffed “Angry Birds” toy as a ball.

“We were just trying to score on each other in the hallway,” said Mark Scheifele. “It was like mini-sticks, but without sticks.”

In Team Canada’s case, necessity – or plain old boredom – proved to be the mother of invention.

“I like to think of it as a sign of creativity,” said Scheifele with a laugh. “All the guys are going to find a way to have fun.

“This is our family for the month. All the boys are the same, all the boys have a little kid in them. We all want to have fun and I think that’s why we all get along so well.”

Canada will be well rested while the U.S carries momentum into Thursday’s game. Canadian head coach Steve Spott said he ran a hard practice on Wednesday morning – one that included many battle drills – in order to keep from falling into any kind of complacency.

“That’s a double-edged sword,” said Spott of getting an extra day of rest. “If you play (Wednesday) then you worry about injuries and officiating, if you don’t (play) then you’re worried about taking it too easy. As a coach you have to prepare and you have to make sure that obviously when you do get the rest that you handle your practice the right way and I liked our pace.”

Spott said he also spoke with Nugent-Hopkins and Scheifele about keeping 17-year-old sensation Jonathan Drouin on the top line alongside the pair of NHL first-rounders. Drouin has been outstanding in the tournament and has earned his coach’s trust despite his tender age.

“I think he’s read off of that trust as well,” said Spott. “I think he plays without fear, he’s not afraid to handle the puck – he doesn’t just turn it over – he keeps it. I think that says a lot about his mindset as a hockey player.”

The Americans gave Canada the toughest time in round-robin play and – like Spott’s crew – the U.S. has a lot of fast forwards who can cause trouble on the larger ice surface.

“I think they’ve got real good speed,” said Spott of Canada’s cross-border rival. “I think their (defensive) activation is really good with Jacob Trouba and Seth Jones, they have players that can activate off the rush and create offence.”

In the meantime, Huberdeau said he has spoken to a number of his new teammates who were not there for the 6-5 loss to Russia in the semis. He said his message to them was clear: Be ready to battle and don’t let the opportunity slip past you.

“Try not to be too soft,” said Huberdeau. “We just want to have a good start, that’s important … we’re telling the guys, it’s important and it happened last year so we don’t want it to happen this year.”

  • Florida diving coach killed in boating accident

    GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) -- University of Florida diving coach Donnie Craine died Thursday morning in a boating accident off the coast of Bokeelia, the school announced. … More »

    AP - Sports - 3 minutes 1 second ago
  • Optimistic Arizona Cardinals begin conditioning

    Optimistic Arizona Cardinals begin conditioning

    TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) -- The optimistic Arizona Cardinals began work this week under an intense new conditioning coach in their first formal gathering to prepare for the coming season. … More »

    AP - Sports - 5 minutes ago
  • Blackhawks, Blues prepare for Game 5

    Blackhawks, Blues prepare for Game 5

    ST. LOUIS (AP) -- One more game, and the Chicago Blackhawks will have linchpin defenseman Brent Seabrook back in the lineup. … More »

    AP - Sports - 7 minutes ago
  • Marcus Trufant retires as member of the Seahawks

    Marcus Trufant retires as member of the Seahawks

    When it was clear Marcus Trufant's time with the Seattle Seahawks was over following the 2012 season, he was given a message by general manager John Schneider and coach Pete Carroll on his way out. If it became apparent that Trufant was ready to … More »

    AP - Sports - 9 minutes ago
  • Bobcats' McRoberts fined $20,000 for LeBron foul

    Bobcats' McRoberts fined $20,000 for LeBron foul

    NEW YORK (AP) -- Charlotte Bobcats forward Josh McRoberts was fined $20,000 by the NBA on Thursday for making unnecessary and excessive contact with Miami Heat forward LeBron James. … More »

    AP - Sports - 9 minutes ago
  • Bolsinger earns 1st MLB win, Diamondbacks top Cubs

    Bolsinger earns 1st MLB win, Diamondbacks top Cubs

    Mike Bolsinger earned his first major league win, pitching into the seventh inning and hitting an RBI single as the Arizona Diamondbacks beat the Chicago Cubs 5-2 Thursday. Bolsinger (1-1) allowed one unearned run and four hits in 6 2-3 innings. … More »

    AP - Sports - 10 minutes ago
  • Sevilla earn two-goal cushion against Valencia

    Stephane MBia and Carlos Bacca were on target for Sevilla as they took a big step towards reaching the Europa League final with a 2-0 victory over Valencia on Thursday. The Andalusian side continued their good form which has seen them win nine of … More »

    Reuters - 16 minutes ago
  • Late Lima strike gives Benfica win over Juve

    Late Lima strike gives Benfica win over Juve

    (Reuters) - A brilliantly-worked Lima goal gave last year's runners-up Benfica a late 2-1 win at home to Juventus in the first leg of their Europa League semi-final on Thursday. Central defender Ezequiel Garay headed Benfica in front after three … More »

    Reuters - 18 minutes ago
  • Colorado PG Dinwiddie entering NBA draft

    Colorado PG Dinwiddie entering NBA draft

    University of Colorado junior point guard Spencer Dinwiddie is skipping his senior season and will declare for the NBA draft. Dinwiddie said at a news conference in Boulder on Thursday that he believes he's a ''first-round talent'' and doesn't … More »

    AP - Sports - 18 minutes ago
  • Yankees pitcher Michael Pineda suspended 10 games for using pine tar

    Yankees pitcher Michael Pineda suspended 10 games for using pine tar

    BOSTON - New York Yankees pitcher Michael Pineda was suspended for 10 games by Major League Baseball on Thursday for using pine tar to help him grip the ball. "I accept it," Pineda said before Thursday's game against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway … More »

    The Canadian Press - 20 minutes ago
  • Impact brass confident new coach Klopas can turn around bad MLS season start

    MONTREAL - Montreal Impact management are confident that new coach Frank Klopas will get the team back on track after a horrendous start to the Major League Soccer season. Sporting director Nick De Santis said Thursday that Klopas has done a good … More »

    The Canadian Press - 21 minutes ago
  • Twins get rare road series win vs. Rays

    Twins get rare road series win vs. Rays

    ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) -- Aaron Hicks hit a three-run homer, Kurt Suzuki drove in three runs, and the Minnesota Twins beat the Tampa Bay Rays 9-7 Thursday. … More »

    AP - Sports - 23 minutes ago
  • NBA fines Josh McRoberts $20K for forearm to LeBron James' throat, upgrades foul to flagrant-2 (Video)

    NBA fines Josh McRoberts $20K for forearm to LeBron James' throat, upgrades foul to flagrant-2 (Video)

    Despite the increased penalty and fine, the Charlotte Bobcats forward avoids suspension, and will be available for Game 3 in North Carolina. … More »

    Ball Don't Lie - 23 minutes ago
  • Canadian alpine skier and former world champion John Kucera retires

    CALGARY - John Kucera's career was shorter than he wanted but he leaves alpine ski racing knowing he achieved two firsts for Canada. … More »

    The Canadian Press - 25 minutes ago
  • New statue of Penn State's Paterno set for 2015 unveiling: alumni

    By David DeKok HARRISBURG, Pennsylvania (Reuters) - Fundraising for a new statue depicting Joe Paterno "as the man he was and not Joe the football coach" is set to begin two years after his image was removed from Penn State University because of a … More »

    Reuters - 26 minutes ago
  • Mavs home after split in San Antonio

    Mavs home after split in San Antonio

    Dirk Nowitzki and the Dallas Mavericks are coming home after showing they won't go quietly in a first-round series with top-seeded San Antonio. Part of the big German wants to stay in South Texas after the Mavericks squandered a strong game in the … More »

    AP - Sports - 27 minutes ago
  • Keeneland to run its final races on Polytrack

    Keeneland to run its final races on Polytrack

    When Keeneland's spring meet ends Friday, so will an era. The scenic horse racing landmark in the heart of the Bluegrass State will run its final races on the Polytrack synthetic surface before replacing its main track with dirt and a new drainage … More »

    AP - Sports - 30 minutes ago
  • Joey Hishon's long road from concussion recovery ends with NHL debut

    Joey Hishon's long road from concussion recovery ends with NHL debut

    On Tuesday, Joey Hishon was skating with the Colorado Avalanche’s Black Aces in Cleveland. Afterward, he was called into the coach’s office and given the news that he was being called up to the NHL. … More »

    Puck Daddy - 30 minutes ago
  • Lubash wins Big A feature

    NEW YORK (AP) -- Lubash, making his season debut, held off Kharafa by a neck Thursday in the $62,000 allowance feature for New York breds on the turf at Aqueduct. … More »

    AP - Sports - 32 minutes ago
  • Phelps wins first race in comeback

    Phelps wins first race in comeback

    By Julian Linden PHOENIX (Reuters) - Michael Phelps made an ominous start in his comeback to competitive swimming on Thursday, setting the fastest time in the 100 metres butterfly heats at a USA Swimming Grand Prix meet in suburban Phoenix. Racing … More »

    Reuters - 33 minutes ago
  • Late Lima strike gives Benfica win over Juventus

    (Reuters) - A brilliantly-worked Lima goal gave last year's runners-up Benfica a late 2-1 win at home to Juventus in the first leg of their Europa League semi-final on Thursday. Central defender Ezequiel Garay headed Benfica in front after only … More »

    Reuters - 36 minutes ago
  • Yankees' Pineda banned 10 games for using pine tar

    Yankees' Pineda banned 10 games for using pine tar

    (Reuters) - New York Yankees pitcher Michael Pineda has been suspended 10 games by Major League Baseball on Thursday for having a foreign substance on his body during Wednesday's game against the Boston Red Sox. Pineda was ejected from the game in … More »

    Reuters - 38 minutes ago
  • Sharapova to face Radwanska in quarters

    Sharapova to face Radwanska in quarters

    STUTTGART, Germany (AP) -- Defending champion Maria Sharapova defeated Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-4, 6-3 on Thursday to set up a Porsche Grand Prix quarterfinal with top seed Agnieszka Radwanska. … More »

    AP - Sports - 40 minutes ago
  • Swimming-Phelps wins first race in comeback

    * Qualifies for national titles later this year * Reached turn in second place before pulling away (Adds quotes) By Julian Linden PHOENIX, April 24 (Reuters) - Michael Phelps made an ominous start in his comeback to competitive swimming on … More »

    Reuters - 40 minutes ago
  • Why Jones vs Teixeira will be a 'fun fight'

    Why Jones vs Teixeira will be a 'fun fight'

    Yahoo Sports’ Kevin Iole breaks down UFC 172’s main event … More »

    Yahoo Sports Videos - 42 minutes ago
  • Kevin Iole’s prediction for UFC 172 - Jones vs Teixeira

    Kevin Iole’s prediction for UFC 172 - Jones vs Teixeira

    Yahoo Sports' Kevin Iole explains why the main event of UFC 172 won’t go the full distance … More »

    Yahoo Sports Videos - 42 minutes ago
  • Pine tar, Vaseline, spit all part of baseball

    Pine tar, Vaseline, spit all part of baseball

    It's fair to suspect that Michael Pineda isn't the only pitcher trying a few tricks on the mound from time to time. The Yankees pitcher was suspended for 10 games for having a glob of pine tar on his neck to rub on his hands to grip the ball on a … More »

    AP - Sports - 43 minutes ago
  • Everest climbing season in disarray after deaths

    Nepal's attempts to salvage the Mount Everest climbing season fell flat Thursday as major expedition companies canceled their climbs and many Sherpas quit the mountain after an avalanche killed 16 of their fellow guides last week. While the season … More »

    AP - Sports - 44 minutes ago
  • Known for glove, Nolan Arenado improving at plate

    Known for glove, Nolan Arenado improving at plate

    Nolan Arenado is known for his hit-robbing glove at the hot corner. So he sends Troy Tulowitzki batting practice video for evaluation, hangs around Carlos Gonzalez near the cage to pick up pointers and has hitting conversations with Justin Morneau … More »

    AP - Sports - 45 minutes ago
  • Secret to Dallas Stars success? Meet the #RallyBelly

    Secret to Dallas Stars success? Meet the #RallyBelly

    Jamie Benn didn't start the fire. It wasn't Benn. It was the Rally Belly. … More »

    Puck Daddy - 46 minutes ago
  • Michael Phelps qualifies fastest for 100 butterfly final in comeback meet

    Michael Phelps qualifies fastest for 100 butterfly final in comeback meet

    MESA, Ariz. - A giddy Michael Phelps qualified fastest for the 100-metre butterfly final Thursday in his first competition since retiring after the 2012 London Olympics. Friend and rival Ryan Lochte was second-quickest, winning his heat in 52.94. … More »

    The Canadian Press - 49 minutes ago
  • Pacers GM Kevin Pritchard cites pretty high-ranking source in tweet saying Frank Vogel's job is safe

    Pacers GM Kevin Pritchard cites pretty high-ranking source in tweet saying Frank Vogel's job is safe

    "Larry Bird just told me his sources say Frank Vogel's job is safe." … More »

    Ball Don't Lie - 52 minutes ago
  • Tiger Woods' rocky season

    Tiger Woods' rocky season

    While the PGA Tour continues to roll on with golf tournaments and new champions, a lot of the focus still sits with a man that is recovering from a back surgery.

    Tiger Woods, the No. 1 player in the world, missed the Masters because of a surgery on

    More »

    59 minutes ago
  • Habs sign pair to entry-level contracts

    MONTREAL (AP) -- The Montreal Canadiens signed Union College scoring leader Daniel Carr and Ontario Hockey League forward Connor Crisp to entry-level contracts Thursday. … More »

    AP - Sports - 53 minutes ago
  • Texas' Kouzmanoff to have back evaluated

    Texas' Kouzmanoff to have back evaluated

    Texas third baseman Kevin Kouzmanoff was scheduled to be evaluated Friday at home by a back specialist before the Rangers have to make a roster move to active Adrian Beltre from the disabled list. Kouzmanoff, who is hitting .362 in 13 games and is … More »

    AP - Sports - 1 hour 1 minute ago
  • Cabrera, Scherzer lift Tigers by ChiSox

    Cabrera, Scherzer lift Tigers by ChiSox

    Miguel Cabrera drove in three runs, Max Scherzer struck out 10 and the Detroit Tigers beat the Chicago White Sox 7-4 Thursday. Joe Nathan pitched the ninth for his fourth save in six tries. He got the final two outs on a strikeout where Jose Abreu … More »

    AP - Sports - 1 hour 2 minutes ago
  • Michael Phelps wins 100 fly heat in comeback meet

    Michael Phelps wins 100 fly heat in comeback meet

    A giddy Michael Phelps qualified fastest for the 100-meter butterfly final Thursday in his first competition since retiring after the 2012 London Olympics. The 28-year-old swimmer was second at the turn and came on down the stretch to win his heat … More »

    AP - Sports - 1 hour 3 minutes ago
  • Meet the hardest thrower in baseball

    Meet the hardest thrower in baseball

    Yordano Ventura has reached 103 miles per hour on the radar gun this season. Yahoo Sports' Evan Doherty looks at the Royals pitcher and what kind of difference his speed makes for opposing batters. … More »

    Yahoo Sports Videos - 1 hour 4 minutes ago
  • Marshall hires Lakers' Dan D'Antoni

    Marshall hires Lakers' Dan D'Antoni

    Marshall hired Los Angeles Lakers assistant Dan D'Antoni as its men's basketball coach Thursday. The 66-year-old D'Antoni is scheduled to be introduced at a news conference on Friday. He replaces Tom Herrion, who resigned last month after an 11-22 … More »

    AP - Sports - 1 hour 9 minutes ago
  • NLRB to review Northwestern union ruling

    The National Labor Relations Board has granted Northwestern University's request that it review its ruling that football players at the university are essentially employees of the school with full collective bargaining rights. It said a previously … More »

    AP - Sports - 1 hour 9 minutes ago