Canada will play for gold at the 2023 World Junior Hockey Championship in Halifax. Joshua Roy had two goals and an assist and Thomas Milic made 43 saves as Canada defeated the United States 6-2 in the semifinals on Wednesday night. Connor Bedard, Logan Stankoven, Adam Fantilli and Brandt Clarke also scored for the Canadians who will face Czechia tonight (5:30 p.m.) in the gold medal game. Jiri Kulich scored at 9:10 of overtime to lift Czechia past Sweden 2-1 in the other semifinal. Canada's only loss of the tournament was to Czechia on Boxing Day in their preliminary round opener.
The Niverville Nighthawks gave up three second period goals and lost 4-1 to Selkirk. Carter Cormier and Lucas Brennan had two goals each for the visiting Steelers. Josh Paulhus had the lone marker for the Nighthawks who outshot the Steelers 37-24.
The Portage Islanders are still perfect. Tyler Harland and Jens Meilleur had two goals each as Portage defeated Notre Dame 8-3 at Stride Place. Landon Thomson, Riley Hay, Tanner Lesann and Brody Moffatt also scored for the Islanders who improved to 9-0 and are tied with the Ste. Anne Aces for top spot in the SEMHL. Portage does have two games in hand on Ste. Anne. Eli Carels had a goal and an assist for the Hawks.
Brett Hyland scored a pair of power play goals and Nolan Ritchie had three assists as Brandon downed the Regina Pats 6-2 at Westoba Place. Jake Chiasson, Anthony Wilson, Trae Johnson and Logen Hammett also scored for the Wheat Kings who received an 18-save performance from Carson Bjarnason.
The Winnipeg Jets held their team skills competition for the first time since 2019 on Wednesday night with Team Blue prevailing 11-10 over Team White. Team Blue picked up the first point of the evening when Morgan Barron closed the six-player fastest skater competition with a winning time of 13.43 seconds. Adam Lowry responded for Team White in the accuracy shooting by knocking down the four corner targets on four shots in just 8.56 seconds. Team White’s Mark Scheifele, Adam Lowry, Sam Gagner, and David Rittich put up the fastest time in the skills relay to win their heat and post the best overall time at 52.6 seconds. Team Blue’s Axel Jonsson-Fjällby, Kevin Stenlund, Neal Pionk, and Connor Hellebuyck won the second heat by completing the challenge in 79.9 seconds. Dylan Samberg blasted a 102.1 MPH shot on his third attempt to win the hardest shot competition and give Team White the lone point from the event. He was the only player to break the 100 MPH barrier. Team Blue completed the comeback by winning the breakaway challenge 9-6.
The Manitoba Moose dropped a 6-3 decision to Laval. Rafael Harvey-Pinard had a hat trick and Rem Pitlick chipped in with four assists for the hometown Rocket. Evan Polei and Wyatt Bongiovanni each had a goal and an assist for the Moose who have lost three in a row.
Steinbach defeated the Winkler Flyers twice since returning from the Christmas break and will face the Terriers in Portage on Friday. Head coach Paul Dyck will join Clayton Dreger on the Pistons Report which airs Thursdays at 5:15 p.m. on AM 1250 Radio.