2013 World Juniors Report (Semi-Finals)

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The Medal round is drawing to a close as the champions and the relegated teams will be determined soon. As the Semi-Finals approached there were two big favorites with the Russians and the Canadians looking to be on the path to the Gold Medal game in another chapter to their rivalry. At the end of the day both the Russians and Canadians will face off in another part of their rivalry. This time though it will not be for a gold medal as the two long-time rivals will face off in the bronze medal game. It was a strange day with the two favorites dropping their games to make way for the USA and the defending champions Sweden. In the first game of the day the border battle between the USA and Canada would be in focus as the two rivals faced off for a chance at the gold medal game. The Canadians had already beat the Americans once in this tournament but they were also the only team to give the Canadians a scare. With a 2-1 win under their belt the Canadians may have been looking ahead because they were not prepared for this game. The Americans came out hungry to get revenge for the first game. The Americans would score 2 goals in the first period and put the Canadians on their heels from the start. Once again the Canadians’ nemesis would be the goalie as John Gibson would stand on his head to lead the Americans past the Canadians for the win. In the end the Canadians would only manage 1 goal in 34 shots while one of the best defences in the tournament would allow 5 goals on 42 shots. It was a very convincing win for the Americans as they left no doubt that they were the better team in this game. Meanwhile the Canadians were sent home in a losing effort that forced them to fight for the bronze medal. They would meet the loser of the Sweden-Russia game as many thought that it would be Sweden who would take on the Canadians. Instead the Swedes would get out to a 2-0 lead in the first period and would carry it into the second looking like they might pull out a win. Then the Russians got a deflection goal at the end of the second to make it a game. The Russians would complete the comeback in the third with a game tying goal that looked very familiar to their previous game against the Swiss. It seemed like the Russians would pull out another close game as they did in the win against the Swiss when they won in a shootout after going down 3-2 in the third period. The overtime would not vole anything as the Russians would be back in the shootout for their chance at a gold medal. The Russians would not get the goal they needed this time though as the Swedes would win the shootout and win the game. The Swedes would earn their way back into the Finals only a year after winning gold. This time they will do it against the Americans in a matchup of underdogs in the tournament. For Sweden it is a chance to repeat as champions after a long drought that was broken last year. It would be the start of a strong showing for the Swedes who would quickly be noticed in the Junior world instead of being overlooked for the Canadians and Russians. For the Americans this is a chance to recover from a terrible 2012 tournament where they finished in 7th place. Now the two favorites will play with only one getting a medal while two underdogs fight it out for the gold medal. The gold will stay in the big four though as three of them will win a medal and one will go home empty-handed. As the tournament comes to its final days the rankings will be finalized to determine the best junior team in the world and it won’t be Russia or Canada once again this year.

 

Scores:

Semi-Finals
USA 5 – 1 Canada
– John Gibson saved 33 of 34 shots and the American defence held off the Canadians as the USA earned a spot in the gold medal game one year after they finished in 7th place as they got revenge on the Canadians who beat them 2-1 earlier in the tournament

Sweden 3 – 2 Russia (SO)
– The Russians disappointed the home crowd as they would come back to tie the game in the third period and go to their second shootout in as many game but this time would lose in the shootout giving the Swedes a chance to repeat

 

Relegation
Slovakia 5 – 3 Latvia
– Slovakia ensured their spot in the 7th place game with a win over Latvia while the Latvians showed more life than usual but came up just short forcing them into the relegation game once again

 

Upcoming Games:

Relegation
Germany vs. Latvia (Friday January 4th; 4:00 am EST)
– This is the most important game for both teams as the loser of this game will not be back next year as they will fall into the second division of the tournament while the winner will earn a spot in the 2014 tournament 

Finland vs. Slovakia (Friday January 4th; 8:00 am EST)
– Finland did not want to be here at this point in the tournament but they will need to somehow get motivated to play the Slovakians as they hope to finish in 7th place while the Slovakians are looking to do the same and prove they belong

 

5th Place Game
Czech Republic vs. Switzerland (Friday January 4th; 8:00 am EST)
– The Czechs were a team that many though might be able to surprise some people but the biggest surprise would be the Swiss who beat out Finland for a spot in the quarter-finals and almost beat the Russians and will now look to finish in 5th place to end a great tournament

 

Bronze Medal
Canada vs. Russia (Saturday January 5th; 4:00 am EST)
– Both of these teams were supposed to play but for a much better medal as neither expected to be in the bronze medal game only one loss away from not medaling and both teams will have a hard time getting up for a game that means nothing to the two best hockey programs in the world

 

Gold Medal
USA vs. Sweden (Saturday January 5th; 8:00 am EST)
– Sweden is going for a repeat to show to the world that they are not a program to be overlooked while the Americans are on one of the biggest turnarounds after finishing in 7th place in 2012 as they go for Gold this year

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