2021 World Juniors Recap: Semi-Finals

 

After the semi-finals, we finally know who will play for gold, and who will have to battle it out for the bronze. As predicted in our quarterfinals recap, Canada will take on the US for gold while Finland and Russia will compete for the Bronze. Here are the recaps from the quarterfinals as well as a prediction for the medal games.

Canada versus Russia:

In a landslide victory, Canada beat Russia 5-0 to advance to the gold medal game. Devon Levi carried the team stopping all 28 shots for his third shutout of this tournament tying Justin Pogge’s record for shutouts in a single World Juniors. He also is on pace to break Carey Price’s save percentage record of .961. Levi is at .975 currently.

Canada started the game off with three goals in the first period. The first goal came from Alex Newhook when he rocketed a wrist shot past Askarov at 0:59 of the period. The shot had so much speed that the refs did not notice it even went in. After the command center called down, it was confirmed to be a good goal and Canada led 1-0. Canada had goals from Connor McMichael at 10:33 and Cole Perfetti on the powerplay at 15:05 to take a 3-0 lead.

A wild second period:

In the second period, Canada extended their lead thanks to a Braden Schneider rocket at 4:09 of the period to go up 4-0. Near the end of the period on the power play, it looked as though Russia had scored to make it 4-1, but on review, it was determined that the Russians were offside on the play. Semyon Chistyakov’s skate entered the zone early and because his left skate was lifted up in the air behind the line, he was deemed to have entered the zone early without possession. Canada was able to kill the remainder of the penalty after the goal was called back. With less than 30 seconds left in the second period, Dylan Cozens was awarded a penalty shot. Luckily for Russia, Askarov was able to stop the Canadian captain to keep the game at 4-0.

Despite pressure from Russia, Canada was able to seal the game with an empty-net goal from Cozens at 18:31 of the third period. Canada cruised to a 5-0 win and a place in the championship game.

Askarov’s stick problems:

One main reason Canada was able to get three shots past Askarov in the first period was his inability to hold onto his stick. Watching the game, it was bizarre to see. He never looked comfortable in the net, and continually lost possession of his stick. On McMichael’s goal, Askarov lost his stick and was playing with his defenseman stick. This meant the defenseman was without his stick to block the pass across the crease. If Russia wants to have a chance against Finland in the bronze medal game they need to play better, and that starts with Askarov. This has been a really disappointing tournament for Russia but it can be salvaged with a bronze medal tomorrow.

A dominant game from Canada:

Canada was great in this game, they played hard, did not let the Russians get set up, and kept pressing even when they were up by four goals. Now they face the US in what is sure to be a high scoring game. Levi will have to stand on his head for Canada to win the gold, but judging by the way he has played throughout the tournament, it looks as though he is ready for the challenge.

Three stars from each team:

Canada:

Devon Levi- 28 save shutout

Dylan Cozens- 1 goal, 2 assists, 6 shots, +2, 16:53 TOI

Bowen Byram- 1 assist, 4 shots, 25:42 TOI

Russia:

Vasili Podkolzin- 1 shot, 18:03 TOI

Semyon Chistyakov- 6 shots, 23:58 TOI

Rodion Amirov- 5 shots, 16:39 TOI

The USA versus Finland:

Thanks to a goal in the dying minutes of the game, the USA squeaked out a 4-3 win over Finland. This game included a third-period comeback, the US giving up two powerplay goals, and great goaltending. The US will take on Canada for gold while Finland will face Russia for the bronze.

In a back and forth first period, the US struck first thanks to a goal from Trevor Zegras at 12:39. Finland tied it up on the powerplay courtesy of Kasper Simontaival’s third goal of the tournament. The teams skated into the intermission tied at one.

In the second period, the US took control with back-to-back goals. John Farinacci, who has been a goal-scoring machine this tournament, scored his fifth at 15:53 of the period followed by a powerplay goal from Matthew Boldy at 17:00. The US held its 3-1 lead going into the third period, but as we have learned, Finland was not going to give up without a fight.

In the third period, Finland’s pressure and determination paid off with a pair of goals to tie the game. Kasper Simontaival’s second goal of the game at 11:38 of the period brought Finland within striking distance. Then on a powerplay, Roni Hirvonen beat Spencer Knight to tie the game with less than five minutes left in the third period. The game looked like it was headed to overtime, but the US had other plans. Alex Turcotte found Arthur Kaliyev in the slot at 18:44, and he ripped a shot past the Finnish goalkeeper to give the US the late advantage. Despite the late pressure from Finland, Spencer Knight shut the door and the US advanced to the gold medal game.

The Americans Knight in shining armor:

Spencer Knight was sensational for the US in this game. He made 33 saves to help his team advance to the gold medal game. Although the third goal allowed was not great, Knight is the reason the US won’t be playing for bronze. He will need to be sharp against a high-powered Canadian team if the US wants to play spoiler and beat Canada on their own soil.

A gutsy performance By Finland:

Although they came out on the wrong end of the scoreboard, Finland played great this entire game. They dominated the third period but fell just short. Throughout this tournament, Finland has shown they are a powerhouse. Players like Anton Lindell, Ville Heinola, Topi Niemelä, and Aku Räty have had phenomenal tournaments, and fans should be excited to watch them develop in the NHL in the next few seasons. If Finland plays as they did against the US, they will walk away with a bronze.

Three stars from each team:

USA:

Spencer Knight- 33 saves on 36 shots

Alex Turcotte- 1 goal, 1 assist, 1 shot, +1, 16:45 TOI

Arthur Kaliyev- 1 goal, 1 assist, 3 shots, +1, 15:41 TOI

Finland:

Ville Heinola- 2 assists, 5 shots, 27:22 TOI

Anton Lundell- 1 assist, 5 shots, 21:09 TOI

Topi Niemelä- 1 shot, 24:39 TOI

Cheering for your country or your team’s prospects/players

An interesting debate has been happening on social media about who you should cheer for during international competitions. Do you cheer for your home country, or do you cheer for the country that houses your favorite team’s players and prospects? You want to see your country do well but at the same time see your favorite team’s players succeed. We posed the question and these were the results.

Although the results were one-sided, this is a fun debate to have. We would love to hear your feedback on why you voted the way you did. If you did not vote, let us know on social media which side you cheer for.

Predictions:

Before the predictions are announced, a big thank you to all our readers for the support during the World Juniors is needed. Your support is appreciated and we hope you enjoyed our coverage of the 2021 World Juniors.

Bronze Medal Game: January 5th, 2021, 3:30 pm MST

Finland: 4 versus Russia: 1

Gold Medal Game: January 5th, 2021, 7:30 pm MST

Canada: 5 versus the USA: 3

DUBNetwork Forums 2021 World Juniors Recap: Semi-Finals

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