World Junior Hockey Championships 2020 – Day 7 Semi Finals

Jerred Bapty
BarnBurner Sports Writer

@CaptainBapty

Saturday, January 4, 2020


Finland easy revenge for Canada in dominant victory

OSTRAVA, CZECH REPUBLIC – Finland had beaten Canada in their previous three medal round meetings in the last three tournaments but, got off to a much better start in this one. 

 

It took just 3:55 of playing time for Canada to jump to a 3-0 lead in the 1st period. 

 

Connor McMichael sent a shot through Justus Annunen from the near faceoff dot just over a minute and a half in. 

 

Shortly after, Nolan Foote picked off a Finnish pass and found Alexis Lafreniere driving the net. He backhanded the puck over the left shoulder of Annunen and made it 2-0. 

 

55 seconds later, Jamie Drysdale had some space in the high slot and ripped a shot to make it 3-0. Drysdale was given a bigger role in this game to fill in for Bowen Byram, who took the warmup but decided to sit out with an illness. 

 

Midway through the period, Sampo Ranta was penalized 10 minutes for a late shot after the whistle on Joel Hofer in the Canadian net. The term ‘late’ is used sparingly, as the shot wasn’t that much after the whistle, a call that TSN’s Ray Ferraro wasn’t impressed by at all. 

 

Four minutes later, Ty Dellandrea banked in a rebound after Aidan Dudas sent a dribbling shot towards the net that Annunen mishandled. Nothing was going right for Finland in 1st period. 

 

A somewhat more even and uneventful 2nd period concluded with another Canadian goal. Lafreniere wired his second of the game from the top of the far circle on the powerplay to make it 5-0. 

 

A couple of penalties in the 3rd period and an unfortunate situation. Barrett Hayton and Lassi Thomson raced for the puck into the Finnish zone and it looked like Hayton was going to gain possession as the puck went behind the net. Thomson makes contact with Hayton before he does so and the two go down awkwardly into the boards. 

 

Hayton let out a cry you could hear on the broadcast and immediately grabbed his left wrist. The Canadian captain went to the dressing room and did not return. 

 

Hofer stood tall in net and finished with a 32-save shutout. Hayton had two assists along with Dudas, while McMichael had a goal and an assist. 

 

Canada advances to the Gold Medal game and will face Russia. They lost 6-0 to the Russians in round robin, while Finland will play Sweden for the Bronze Medal. 

 

 

Russia upsets Sweden in OT, Goldless streak continues

 

After Sweden had controlled the puck for the majority of the overtime period and had a real big scoring chance, Russia took the puck over in their end and began a change to get fresh legs. Vasili Podkolzin hit Ivan Morozov with a pass as Morozov picked up speed off the bench. 

 

Morozov exploded through the neutral zone and cut to the right around Toronto Maple Leafs’ prospect Rasmus Sandin. He fired a sharp angle shot underneath the glove of Hugo Alnefelt, off the post and into the net for the 5-4 overtime winner. 

 

Sweden started the game much better than it ended. Just 16 seconds in, Sandin ripped a one-time shot off the faceoff win right past Yaroslav Askarov for a 1-0 lead. 

 

Their good start would be short-lived however, as Alexander Holtz was sent off for slashing and Russia’s now lethal powerplay went to work. Morozov wired one past Alnefelt from the far side faceoff dot to tie the game. 

 

A minute later, Nils Hoglander appears to brace himself for an open ice check from Grigori Denisenko and, after passing the puck, drives into Denisenko and barely catches him in the head. Sweden’s top scorer was given a five-minute major and a game misconduct for the check just four minutes into the game. 

 

Alexander Khovanov pounced on a juicy rebound in the high slot to go ahead 2-1 on the powerplay. 

 

Midway through the frame, Alnefelt came out of his net to play the puck near the faceoff dot, only to throw it straight to Yegor Sokolov. Alnefelt couldn’t recover and Sokolov scored an easy one to give Russia a two-goal lead. 

 

90 seconds later, Romanov took a cross-checking penalty that allowed Samuel Fagemo to wire a wrist shot from the top of the circle to bring Sweden back to within one. 

 

Midway through the 2nd period, Khovanov was penalized 2 minutes and a 10 minute misconduct for a check to the head that was arguably worse than the Hoglander check he was ejected for. Khovanov stepped into Albin Eriksson as he made a pass at the Russian blue line and made direct contact with his head but, wasn’t ejected. 

 

Sandin ripped another point shot on the ensuing powerplay for his second of the game to tie it at 3. 

 

Sweden got another powerplay early in the 3rd period and capitalized once again. Nils Lundkvist wired another point shot past Askarov for their third straight goal and a 4-3 lead. 

 

Askarov was pulled on an interesting decision by veteran Russian Head Coach Valeri Bragin, possibly for allowing multiple long shot goals against. 

 

Amir Miftakhov comes into the game and Sokolov potted his second of the game off a give and go rush with Khovanov at the side of the net. Game tied again. 

 

Soon after that, Miftakhov finally saw his first shot of the game off a dangerous turnover in front but, he managed to keep the game tied and help send it to overtime. 

 

Russia at one point in the 3rd was outshooting Sweden 40-20 and had completely out chanced them in the period. 

 

Sweden controlled possession for the majority of overtime, until Morozov was the hero. 

 

The Swedish winless streak continues with just 2 gold medals since 1981. Russia will play Canada for the gold medal on Sunday. 

 

Meanwhile, Kazakhstan remains alive with a 4-1 win over Germany in Game 2 of the relegation round.