Tonight we got to experience some good hockey action in the quarterfinals of the 2015 Ice Hockey World Championships in Prague, Czech Republic. In the semifinals Saturday 16th of May we get to see two North American teams, the host nation and mother Russia battle for a place in the final on Sunday May 17.
Sweden almost came back after a weak start against Russia
Sweden’s first period against Russia was probably their worst in this tournament, almost as bad as their second period against Canada in the group stage. Stupid penalties, lack of both defensive and offensive play gave Russia two cheap goals, one of them in a 5-3 power play. The second period started just as bad with a breakaway from Pittsburgh Penguins superstar Malkin which meant 3-0 Russia. Coach Pär Mårts switched goalies. The game started to be emotional with some rough plays and more penalties. John Klingberg gave Sweden some hope with his 1-3 goal. Anton Lander scored 2-3 in the beginning of the third and the Russian began to look shaky in their own zone. Lander, Filip Forsberg and Loui Eriksson got long attack shifts. Eriksson tied the game with an excellent touch in front of the Russian goal. 3-3 and five minutes left of the third period. However, less than a minute later Malkin swiped a loose puck against the Swedish goal. It bounced on a skate and between the pads on Anders Nilsson. Sweden tried to tie the game again by pulling the goalie, but instead Tarasenko scored the final score 5-3 in open net. Overall, despite the comeback, Russia had more speed, force and control in this game. Sweden only had one line that could produce goals, their defensive play was a mess and the goalies didn’t make any decisive saves. Tack och god natt as we say in Sweden.. (”Thank you and good night”).
USA 3-1 Switzerland
Swiss defender Roman Jose gave Switzerland the lead in the first period after a beautiful solo run, skating around the American defensemen. After about half the game Ben Smith could tie the game and one minute later Charlie Coyle gave them the lead. Switzerland got some chances to come back in the third period through the man advantage but failed. Instead could Toronto defender Jake Gardiner make it 3-1 eleven minute into the game which also became the final score.
Canada crushed Belarus
David didn’t stand a chance against Goliath. Belarus had left their sling shot at home and Canada ran over them. 4-0 i the first period became 6-0 in the second. Final score was 9-0 and there were only one team on the ice tonight. It was the biggest playoff victory in over twenty years.
Jaromir Jagr vs Finland
The host nation Czech Republic’s quarterfinal against Finland became a real drama, with a heroic ending. Jan Kovar scored the first goal of the game after ten minutes, while Tuomo Ruutu could tie it eight minutes later. Four minutes into the second period Finland got the 2-1 lead. Then, Jaromir Jagr stepped forward again, as we are used to in this tournament by now. 2-2 came in the 35:th minute and a minute later he assisted to Kovars second goal of the game. In the beginning of the third period Czech Republic slowed down the phase which Finland’s Alexander Bartov could take advantage of and score 3-3. However, with four minutes left of the game Jaromir Jagr scored his second goal and third point of the night. 4-3 Czech Republic. 5-3 came in the open net from Vladimir Sobotka.
The semifinals are played Saturday May 16th. Canada will face Czech Republic and USA Russia. We think that Russia and Canada will face each other in the final on May 17. Jaromir Jagr will win the bronze.