A quartet of intense quarter-final matchups on Monday saw Canada, the United States, Russia and Sweden advance to Wednesday’s semi-finals in Montreal. The 2017 IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship has come down to four world powers as they continue in their quest for gold. Here is how Monday’s quarter-finals unfolded.
CANADA 5 – CZECH REPUBLIC 3
MONTREAL – A three-goal second period that featured a goal and two assists from Tampa Bay Lightning prospect Mitchell Stephens (Saginaw Spirit) vaulted Canada past the Czech Repubic 5-3 at the Bell Centre. Carolina Hurricanes first round pick Julien Gauthier (Val-d’Or Foreurs) added a pair of goals in the third period to secure the victory for Canada. Blake Speers (Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds) and Thomas Chabot (Saint John Sea Dogs) also scored in the victory while Connor Ingram (Kamloops Blazers) earned the win in goal with 16 saves. Canada outshot the Czechs 41-19 as Anthony Cirelli (Oshawa Generals) and Kale Clague (Brandon Wheat Kings) each recorded a pair of assists. Tomas Soustal (Kelowna Rockets) and Simon Stransky (Prince Albert Raiders) scored goals for the Czech Republic while Filip Hronek (Saginaw Spirit), Jakub Zboril (Saint John Sea Dogs) and Adam Musil (Red Deer Rebels) gathered assists. The Czechs finish as the sixth place team at the 2017 World Junior Hockey Championship. Spacek and Hronek were each selected as two of the club’s best three players by the coaching staff. Canada advances to face Sweden in semi-final action on Wednesday in Montreal at 7:30pm ET.
UNITED STATES 3 – SWITZERLAND 2
TORONTO – Toronto Maple Leafs prospect Jeremy Bracco (Kitchener Rangers) had a goal and an assist to earn Player of the Game honours for Team USA in a 3-2 quarter-final win over Switzerland. The Americans scored three times on 17 shots, prevailing despite being outshot 21-17 by an eager Swiss group. 2017 NHL Draft prospect Nico Hischier (Halifax Mooseheads) starred for Switzerland, scoring twice to tie the score 2-2 early in the third period. Jordan Greenway’s power play winner just 18 seconds after the equalizer proved to be the difference maker for the United States. Calgary Flames prospect Tyler Parsons (London Knights) made 19 saves in the win. Switzerland finishes as the seventh place team at the 2017 IIHF World Junior Championship. Hischer was selected as one of Switzerland’s three best players in the tournament by the coaching staff. The United States advances to take on Russia in semi-final action in Montreal on Wednesday at 3:00pm ET.
RUSSIA 4 – DENMARK 0
TORONTO – Russian captain Kirill Kaprizov scored a pair of goals in a 4-0 win over Denmark. Former Calgary Hitmen foward Pavel Karnaukhov also scored while Nashville Predators prospect Yakov Trenin (Gatineau Olympiques) registered an assist. Russia outshot Denmark 32-14 as goaltender Ilya Samsonov turned aside every shot to come his way. Russia held the Danes to an 0-for-6 mark on the power play. Denmark’s tournament comes to an end following their third quarter-final appearance in tournament history. The Danes finish as the fifth place team at the 2017 IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship. Alexander True (Seattle Thunderbirds) was selected as one of Denmark’s three best players in the tournament by the coaching staff.
SWEDEN 8 – SLOVAKIA 3
MONTREAL – Joel Eriksson Ek and Tim Soderlund each scored twice while Rasmus Asplund recorded four assists in Sweden’s 8-3 quarter-final win over Slovakia. Ottawa Senators prospect Filip Ahl (Regina Pats) had an assist as the Swedes outshot Slovakia 50-18 in the lopsided win. Former Mississauga Steelheads forward Alexander Nylander had a goal and an assist to stretch his tournament scoring lead to 11 points (5-6–11) over five games. 2017 NHL Draft prospect Adam Ruzicka (Sarnia Sting) had a goal in the loss for Slovakia while captain Erik Cernak (Erie Otters) recorded an assist. Slovakia finishes as the eighth place team at the 2017 IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship. Cernak was selected as one of Slovakia’s three best players in the tournament by coaching staff. Sweden’s quest for its first gold since 2012 continues on Wednesday in semi-final action against Canada at 7:30pm ET.
FINLAND 2 LATVIA 1
MONTREAL – Detroit Red Wings prospect Vili Saarijarvi (Mississauga Steelheads) had a goal as Finland snuck past Latvia 2-1 in relegation play, taking a 1-0 series lead. Finland outshot Latvia 45-24 as goaltender Mareks Mitens was tremendous, turning aside 43 shots in the loss. Renars Krastenbergs (Oshawa Generals) had an assist on Latvia’s lone goal. The two nations meet again in Montreal on Tuesday at 5:30pm ET.