Heartbreak for American 'Pegger

PAUL FRIESEN

, Last Updated: 7:07 AM ET

PARDUBICE, Czech Republic -- It was the matchup Colin Wilson had been dreaming of, with a nightmare ending.

The Team USA forward, a dual citizen born near New York who grew up in Winnipeg, saw his gold-medal chances at the World Junior Championship wither and die in yesterday's 4-1 semifinal loss to Canada.

Tied for the tournament's goal-scoring lead with six, Wilson was shut out by a Canadian team that turned it on against its most bitter rival.

"We should have been flipping a switch, too," Wilson said. "It should have been the exact same way, back. It just didn't happen. Home-ice advantage -- Canada brings their whole country here. But that's no excuse. We just didn't play our best game."

An 18-year-old expected to be a first-round draft pick this summer, Wilson wasn't thrilled with the way he played, especially in the first period. That's when one of the boisterous Team Canada fans caught his attention.

"We were all going off the ice after the first period, and he goes, 'Wilson, you're from Winnipeg, you S.O.B.!' It got me going," he said.

Born near New York while his father, Winnipegger Carey Wilson, was playing for the Rangers, Colin says he's always felt like an American.

So when the American developmental program recruited him at age 16, he jumped at the chance, joining their under-17 and under-18 programs based in Michigan.

This year, while a freshman at Boston University, he made the national junior team.

Yesterday, Wilson vowed the U.S., bronze medal winners a year ago, would bounce back in today's bronze medal game against Russia.

"No American junior team has ever medaled back-to-back," Wilson said. "So we really want to get that medal. Everybody's p----d off. They want to go play the next game."

As for the fan who heckled him, Wilson shrugged it off.

"It makes me laugh," he said. "I don't care. I still have my friends there. Everybody back home was supporting me, so that's fine."


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