Thursday, January 3, 2013

2013 World Juniors - 1/3

Dasherboard: Thursday's Semifinals at the 2013 World Junior Tournament began the United States defeating Canada by a score of 5-1, a shocking result based on how the Americans dominated the previously undefeated Canadians, who had yet to even be taken to an overtime.

Jake McCabe scored twice in the first period to put the US up 2-0 after the first period after outshooting Canada 12-8. John Gaudreau also added a pair of goals to extend his hot streak following his hat trick against the Czech Republic and two goals against Slovakia prior to that, giving him 7 goals and 9 points in his last three games.

The United States led 4-0 after two periods while holding a 26-18 advantage in shots. After Gaudreau made it 3-0 three minutes into the second, Jim Vesey's goal at 12:44 chased Malcom Subban from the Canadian goal for the first time all tournament.

Canada showed they weren't giving up with a goal four minutes into the third period, but the US held firm after that, with Gadreau's second on a breakaway sealing the victory for the United States.

In the second game, Sweden dominated the first period, needing just seconds to score on their first power play opportunity, and then scoring their second goal before the Russians even registered their first shot on goal. When the period ended, Sweden was leading 2-0 and held a 14-2 advantage in shots on goal.

Against the flow of play, Russia broke through with a goal seven minutes into the second period. Following that goal, the game finally came alive as both teams had multiple chances with the Swedish goaltender Niklas Lundström providing some stellar saves to keep the Russians at bay, including one late in the period where he had to look behind him to see if the puck had made it through.

And if you thought the second period was entertaining, the intensity only ramped up to an even greater level in the third period as the teams flew up and down the ice with the home fans really filling the intimately sized 8,000 seat Russian arena with their pleas for their squad to score, which were rewarded with the tying goal by Grigorenko at 7:32.

That goal proved to be the only one of the third period despite all the magnificent chances each team generated, only to be stopped by the strong play of both net minders. With the game tied at 2-2 at the end of regulation, the contest moved into the overtime, which ended scoreless, sending the game into a shootout, despite Nail Yakupov's last gasp dash at the buzzer.

In the shootout, both shooters were stopped in the first of three rounds, as were the second round pair, Sebastian Collberg converted for the Swedes past Andrei Vasilevski, who played great for Russia, before Lundström stopped Nikita Kucherov, sending the Swedes into the final to defend their championships from last year.

Sweden will now advance to face the United States in the gold medal final on Saturday following Russia vs. Canada for the bronze, which will be again televised on the NHL Network in the United States and on TSN in Canada.

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