WJC Quarterfinal Recap: January 2


London Knights forward Connor McMichael had a goal and an assist as Canada advanced to Monday’s semi-final with a 3-0 victory over the Czech Republic.

Devon Levi turned in a 29-save shutout as Canada surrendered its highest shot total to this point in the tournament as the Czechs took the shooting column 29-25.

McMichael got Canada started off right, sending Dylan Cozens (Lethbridge Hurricanes) in on a breakaway 8:22 into the first period. Cozens slipped a shot through Nick Malik (Soo Greyhounds) before defenceman Bowen Byram (Vancouver Giants) extended the lead to 2-0 just over three minutes later.

McMichael would add a late empty netter to seal the deal on the win as the Washington Capitals first round pick went 17-of-24 in the faceoff circle and finished as a plus-three on the night.

Malik made 22 saves in the loss as the Czechs will fail to medal for a 16th consecutive year at the World Juniors. Captain Jan Mysak (Hamilton Bulldogs) finished tied for second in Czech team scoring with three points (2-1–3) over five games.

Canada advances to face Russia in a semi-final clash at 6:00pm ET on Monday, with the winner advancing to the Gold Medal Game.

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The Slovaks made things interesting, but the United States proved too much, pulling away in the end for a 5-2 win to advance to Monday’s semifinals.

Hamilton Bulldogs forward Arthur Kaliyev opened the scoring midway through the first period on a perfect pass from linemate Matthew Boldy before John Farinacci scored his first of two on the night midway through the second to give the Americans a 2-0 lead. Cole Caufield and Slovakia’s Matej Kaslik would swap late second period goals to send the Americans to the second intermission up 3-1. 

Slovakia edged to within a goal approaching the midway point of the third period as Dominik Sojka tipped-home a Samuel Knazko point shot. Farinacci would reinstate the two-goal cushion with five minutes to go however, with Matthew Beniers rounding out the U.S. scoring as Bobby Brink picked up his second assist.

The United States outshot Slovakia 42-18 as Simon Latkoczy made 38 saves in defeat. The U.S. set a World Juniors record for the longest team shutout streak, going a span of 218:53, with Kaslik’s late second period goal spelling an end to the run put together by goaltenders Spencer Knight and Dustin Wolf (Everett Silvertips).

Slovakian defenceman David Mudrak (Oshawa Generals) was named one of his team’s top-three players in the tournament.

The Americans will face Finland in semi-final action at 9:30pm ET on Monday.

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Russia is moving on to the semifinals after defeating Germany 2-1 in Saturday’s opening quarterfinal match.

Vasili Ponomarev (Shawinigan Cataractes) struck first for Russia midway through the first period and Danil Bashkirov widened their lead to 2-0 within the middle frame. Germany’s lone goal came from Florian Elias in the third period. Windsor Spitfires forward Egor Afanasyev pitched in with one assist in his team’s victory.

Nashville Predators first rounder Yaroslav Askarov finished with 18 saves while Swedish goaltender Florian Bugl was good for 25 saves.

Russia improves to 8-0 all-time against Germany at the World Juniors. They prepare for Canada on Monday at 6:00pm ET.

Josh Samanski (Owen Sound Attack) got into two games with Germany in the tournament.

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Toronto Maple Leafs pick Roni Hirvonen found the back of the net with 23 seconds left as Finland crawled back from a 2-0 deficit to edge rival Sweden 3-2 in quarterfinal action.

Detroit Red Wings prospects Lucas Raymond and Elmer Soderblom brought Sweden up 2-0 in the opening frame. Finland cut into the lead early in the second period with a goal from Henri Nikkanen and Anton Lundell scored late in the third period to tie things up before Hirvonen scored the winning goal in the game’s final seconds.

Former Windsor Spitfires goaltender Kari Piiroinen recorded 22 saves in net for Finland. Sweden’s Hugo Alnefelt made 28 saves.

It’s sweet revenge for Finland, who fell to Sweden 3-2 in last year’s bronze medal game. The Finns advance to play the United States in semi-final action on Monday at 9:30pm ET.

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