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Canada going for Gold

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Batherson gets ‘Rockstar’ status as Canada overpowers Czech Republic

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A rapper from Toronto is no longer Canada’s favorite Drake (at least for one night).

It’s now a hockey player who was born in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

Drake Batherson became all the rage in the Great White North Thursday night getting a hat trick in Canada’s 7-2 win over the Czech Republic in the World Junior Championship semifinals.

“Today we wanted to come out and do anything we could to get the win. I was lucky enough to get a few goals,” Batherson said.

The win advances team Canada to Friday night’s 8 o’clock gold-medal game against Sweden at the KeyBank Center.

“It’s very special,” Dante Fabbro said. “Everyone is excited. We’re happy to be here.”

The other star for Canada was the power play unit which capitalized on three of four man-advantage opportunities. The Canadians have been leading in the category all tournament scoring on 53% of them entering the game.

“We just keep it simple,” said Batherson, who is tied for the tournament’s leading scorer with seven goals. “We’re not forcing things. We get pucks on net. There have been pretty goals and ones where we just keep banging it in.”

Filip Zadina opened the scoring when his shot from the top of the circle went in giving many in the building a bit of a shock and the Czech Republic the lead with 14 minutes left in the period.

The Canadian offense got into their groove after Martin Kaut went to the box for delay of game. They scored as Sam Steel fired a shot home. Canada took advantage of their second power play a minute later when Batherson tipped in a shot from Cale Makar giving them at 2-1 lead at the break.

Maxime Comtois was robbed in the middle of the second period as he was putting the puck in the short side of the net but Czech goalie Korenar Josef lifted his skate at the last second to stop it.

Canada scored on its third power play as Batherson once again tipped in a Makar shot from the point. Comtois made it 4-1 with his goal that was scored from close range. Jordan Kyrou extended the Canadian lead to 5-1 when he patiently held onto the puck and shot it above an out of position Korenar.

Batherson got his hat trick with three minutes left in the second as he slipped it in short side to give his team a 6-1 lead that Canada took to the intermission.

Boris Katchouk scored the Canadians’ final goal and Zadina got his second of the game on a backhander in the third period.

Batherson’s performance probably made those in Ottawa a little extra happy as the forward was a fourth-round pick of the Senators in this past year’s NHL draft.

Canada’s Carter Hart is one of seven players returning from last year’s disappointing Silver medal team that lost 5-4 in a shootout to the US in the final.

“It’s good to celebrate now, but we have to come out and play tomorrow,” said Hart, who made 18 saves. “This win is over with now so it’s now time to prepare. The only thing that makes this win sweeter is a win tomorrow.”

The Czech Republic will play the United States Friday at 4 p.m. in the bronze-medal game.

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