With his team down three goals in the first 13 minutes on New Year’s Eve, John Tavares started telling his teammates what they had to do last night. Then he showed them.

With two goals in 48 seconds to spark a comeback and a empty-netter to cap his night, Tavares continued to cement his status as hockey’s next phenom with a marvellous performance in Canada’s 7-4 win over Team USA.

“He’s going to be one of the best players you’ve ever seen,” teammate P.K. Subban said. “He’s done it in the OHL. He did it in minor hockey. He’s doing it on this stage. I have no doubt he’ll do it in the NHL.”

The win sets up a possible clash with archrival Russia in the world junior championship semifinals. Canada will play the winner of a quarter-final between Russia and the Czech Republic.

On New Year’s Eve, it was the bash that couldn’t be missed. They bashed each other into the boards in a game that had a bit of everything: A big lead, a big comeback, own-goals, great saves, great pace, stupid penalties and lots of bad blood between two fierce rivals. The Canadians were two-thirds of the way through their first-period comeback — Tavares scored his second of the game — and the Canadian team decided to celebrate the goal by skating by the American bench.

Chris DiDomenico got a stick blade to the face as he went by and fell to the ice. Seeing a fallen comrade, Stefan Della Rovere hammered American James van Riemsdyk into the boards. DiDomenico and van Riemsdyk tended to their aches while the teams began scuffling.

In the end, no penalties were called. American coach Ron Rolston was upset with the refereeing, in particular the beginning of the second period when the game clock didn’t start with the drop of the puck.

Canada finished the first round 4-0, earning a bye into the semifinals. The Americans now face Slovakia tonight in the quarter-finals.

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