Cam Barker, Dustin Boyd and Kyle Chipchura scored goals to help Canada secure a spot in the World Junior Hockey Championship semifinals with a 3-2 victory over the US on Saturday.
Canada (4-0) needed only a tie in its final round-robin game to win Group A and advance to the semi-finals Tuesday night against the winner of the quarterfinal today between Sweden and Finland.
The US (2-1-1) will play the Czech Republic in the other quarterfinal today, with the winner advancing to face Russia.
"You get an extra day of rest, more time to prepare against your opponent and obviously your opponent is going to be a lot more tired than you, so it's a pretty big deal," Canadian forward Ryan O'Marra said.
The US pulled goalie Cory Schneider with less than a minute to go in an attempt to score the winner, but Chipchura scored into an empty net with 33 seconds left. Steve Downie, who assisted on the goal, was elbowed by Jack Johnson behind the play, and Johnson was given a major and a game misconduct.
"It was kind of a dirty play, I suppose," Chipchura said. "Downie is a big part of our team. He plays on the edge and I know Jack and I know he's a competitive guy. He's a nice guy and maybe it wasn't the best move."
Barker opened the scoring with a power-play goal at 2:25 of the first period, and Boyd made it 2-0 at 6:42. Chris Bourque, the son of Hockey Hall of Famer Ray Bourque, had a power-play goal for the Americans at 10:27 of the first period, and Peter Mueller tied it with a power-play goal at 8:10 of the second.
"That's probably the best team in the tournament we'll play," Schneider said.
Justin Pogge made 23 saves for Canada.
"Having just played in it, it was probably the biggest game of my life and it's going to take some time to sink in," Pogge said.
The top three teams in each group will advance to the playoff round. The group winners get byes into the semifinals, while the second-place teams will face the opposite third-place teams in the quarterfinals today.
In the final Group A game, Finland beat Switzerland 4-1 to set up the quarterfinal game against Sweden. Janne Kolehmainen, Tomas Sinisalo, Perttu Lindgren and Teemu Laakso scored for Finland (2-2). Switzerland finished round-robin play 1-2-1.
Russia (4-0) won Group B, beating the Czech Republic 7-2 in Kelowna. Roman Voloshenko scored two goals and Sergei Shirokov, Evgeni Malkin, Ilia Zubov, Enver Lisin and Alexander Radulov added goals for Russia. The Czech Republic was 2-2 in group play.
In the other Group B game in Kamloops, Daniel Larsson stopped 18 shots in Sweden's 6-0 victory over Slovakia. Robin Lindqvist, Mattias Ritola, Johan Ryno, Fredrik Pettersson, Anton Axelsson and Sebastian Karlsson scored for Sweden (3-1). Slovakia finished round-robin play 1-3.
In relegation games, Switzerland will face Latvia today, and Slovakia will play Norway tomorrow.