World Juniors 2016: Semifinals

We got to see some exciting hockey action as the quarterfinals in the IIHF World Juniors 2016 were decided. At the end of the day, the following teams will face each other in the semifinals Monday, January 4:

Sweden – Canada
Russia – USA

Almost a Danish ”Miracle on ice”

Many of us thought that Russia would eliminate Denmark with ease in the quarterfinal. This was not the case. In fact, Denmark was in both a 2-1 and a 3-2 lead in the third period. Russia scored the 3-3 goal with just 44 seconds to go. In sudden death, Vladislav Kamenev scored the deciding 4-3 goal which sent Russia to the semifinal.

Sweden outplayed Slovakia

Sweden dominated the quarterfinal against Slovakia, despite taking many sloppy penalties. Playing with high pressure all over the field, both in five against five and in special teams, Sweden outmaneuvered Slovakia 6-0. They will now face the host nation Finland in the semifinal. Sweden have had some problems with injuries in the tournament. In the first game, Toronto Maple Leafs forward William Nylander got a checking to the head and have not played since then. In the quarter final, an important defensive piece, Adam Ollas Mattsson got a leg injury. Still, Sweden has to be viewed as favorites in the semifinal since they have played an impressive game with four straight wins.

A good goalkeeper and defense win tournaments

Therefore, Finland will not win the gold at home in the World Juniors 2016. Although they defeated Canada 6-5, it was a game filled with mistakes, penalties and poor defensive play. Both keepers made mistakes and let some loose pucks from almost no angle pass them. Finland changed goalie in the second period and eventually won the quarterfinals.

USA crushed Czech Republic

After 60 minutes of play, the final standing between USA and Czech Republic was 7-0 in favour of USA. Superstar Auston Matthews scored three goals. Before the tournament, USA was the main candidate for the gold medal and after this quarterfinal, they still are.

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