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USA will face Canada in gold-medal game after win over Finland – Sportsnet.ca

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EDMONTON — The United States will play for gold at the world junior hockey championship after beating Finland 4-3 on Monday in the tournament semifinals.

Arthur Kaliyev broke a 3-3 deadlock with 1:16 to go with a snap shot from the slot to advance the Americans into the gold-medal game against Canada.

Alex Turcotte, John Farinacci and Matthew Boldy also scored for the Americans, who have won gold four previous times including their last one in 2017.

Kasper Simontaival had a pair of goals and Roni Hirvonen also found the back of the net for Finland, which will face Russia for bronze.

Spencer Knight, one of eight returning players for a U.S., team that finished sixth last year following a quarterfinal loss against Finland, stopped 33-of-36 shots. Kari Piiroinen made 21 saves for the Finns.

Canada, last year’s gold-medal winner, blanked the 2020 silver medallists from Russia 5-0 in Monday’s other semifinal. Both medal games go Tuesday at Rogers Place.

Turcotte held off a Finnish defender to swipe home a bouncing puck from the top of the crease to open the scoring at 12:39 of the first period.

The Finns responded quickly on a power play, with Simontaival finishing off a one-touch pass from Kasper Puutio on a set play at 14:06 to even the score.

Knight stopped 18-of-19 shots through 40 minutes, and was rewarded by his teammates when the U.S. struck twice in a 1:07 span of the second period to take a two-goal lead into the third frame.

Jackson LaCombe caught Finland making a change and sprung Farinacci on a breakaway with a slick pass up the middle from his own zone, with the American forward snapping the puck past Piiroinen at 15:53 of the second.

Then while on a man advantage, Boldy tipped in a perfect snap pass from Trevor Zegras at the side of the net to make it 3-1 with three minutes to go in the period.

Zegras’ assist gives him 16 points in six games and ties him with Jeremy Roenick (1989) for the second highest single tournament point total in American history. Doug Weight set the record with 19 points in 1991.

Simontaival brought Finland back within one midway through the third when he took a pass on his forehand in the slot and snapped it glove side on Knight, and Hirvonen supplied the game-tying goal off a rebound in front on a power play with 3:43 remaining.

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Maple Leafs’ Spezza will retire if claimed on waivers, agent says – Sportsnet.ca

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TORONTO — Jason Spezza simply can’t see himself playing anywhere else.

The veteran centre is so entrenched with the Toronto Maple Leafs that he’d rather walk away from the sport than report to another team that claims him off the waiver wire, according to agent Rick Curran.

“He’ll simply retire,” Curran told Sportsnet on Sunday.

The Leafs placed Spezza and No. 3 goaltender Aaron Dell on waivers as part of roster maneuvering needed to create flexibility in the wake of a left knee injury to Nick Robertson. The NHL’s other 30 teams have until noon ET on Monday to put in a claim.

While Dell is likely headed elsewhere — there’ve been four claims involving goaltenders already in this young NHL season — Spezza intends to stay in Toronto no matter what happens.

The 37-year-old relishes the role he’s carved out with his hometown Leafs and holds the cards here: In the event he was claimed by another team and refused to report, he’d likely see his $700,000 contract terminated.

That would allow him to sign another deal in Toronto.

Spezza said there was “unfinished business” when he returned to the Leafs on a second straight one-year contract in October, and understood at the time that a roster move like the one that occurred Sunday was possible because of the team’s salary cap position, according to Curran.

He’s taken on a mentorship role inside the organization — skating with Robertson and other prospects at the team’s practice facility throughout the off-season — while happily embracing a depth position on the roster.

Spezza is averaging 7:44 through three games and picked up his 600th career NHL assist in the season opener. He won all 10 faceoffs he took during Saturday’s 3-2 victory in Ottawa.

“To me, it’s special to play for the Toronto Maple Leafs,” Spezza said in September. “Being a Toronto boy, it’s something that I dreamed of, and you wanted to be a part of something special.

“I didn’t take for granted any days that I got to put the jersey on.”

He may get to do that again as soon as Monday night, when the Winnipeg Jets visit Scotiabank Arena — assuming he goes unclaimed.

The Leafs’ decision to place Spezza on waivers was tied directly to the knee injury Robertson suffered in Ottawa, the extent of which will be known following an MRI on Sunday. It temporarily left Toronto with only 17 healthy skaters on the active roster, forcing the team to make additional moves in order to bring up reinforcements from the taxi squad.

Spezza, the No. 2 pick in the 2001 draft, has appeared in more than 1,200 career NHL games and remains very much in the Leafs’ plans.

They remain in his, too.

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Maple Leafs' Spezza will retire if claimed on waivers, agent says – Sportsnet.ca

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TORONTO — Jason Spezza will retire if another NHL team claims him off the waiver wire, according to agent Rick Curran.

The Toronto Maple Leafs put the veteran centre and No. 3 goaltender Aaron Dell on waivers Sunday as part of roster maneuvering needed to create flexibility in the wake of a knee injury to Nick Robertson.

But Spezza, playing for his hometown team on a league-minimum $700,000 contract, has no intention of continuing his career anywhere else.

“He’ll simply retire,” Curran told Sportsnet.

The 37-year-old Spezza is in his second season with the Leafs and understood this kind of roster move was possible when he signed another deal with Toronto in October, according to Curran. He’s happy to serve a depth role for the organization — helping mentor younger players while playing fourth-line minutes.

Spezza is averaging 7:44 in the first three games with one assist. He won all 10 faceoffs he took during Saturday’s 3-2 victory in Ottawa.

Robertson suffered a left knee injury against the Senators and is due to undergo an MRI on Sunday to determine the extent of the damage. That left Toronto with only 17 healthy skaters on the active roster, forcing the team to make moves in order to bring up another body from the taxi squad.

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Maple Leafs place Spezza, Dell on waivers – TSN

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The Toronto Maple Leafs placed veteran forward Jason Spezza and goalie Aaron Dell on waivers Sunday.

Spezza has appeared in all three games for the Maple Leafs this season, registering an assist.

The 37-year-old is in his second season in Toronto. He finished with nine goals and 16 assists in 58 games for the Leafs last season.

Dell is behind starter Frederik Andersen and backup Jack Campbell on the Leafs’ depth chart in net and hasn’t appeared in a game for Toronto this season.

The 31-year-old played four seasons with the San Jose Sharks prior to his time in Toronto, and has a career 2.75 goals against average and .908 save percentage.

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