World Junior Semis Are Set: USA-Russia, Sweden-Finland

Published on 3-Jan-2016 by J Square Humboldt

NHL    NHL Daily Update

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World Junior Semis Are Set: USA-Russia, Sweden-Finland

There are six traditional powers in international hockey.

So when it comes to this stage of IIHF tournaments, the winnowing gets harsh, and when one of the dumpees is Canada, pointed questions will be asked in the Great White North.

This year, the answer should be simple. Play like a team next time. A smart one.

How does a contender let a 5-on-3 situation occur in the late stages of an elimination game?

The host Finns did what they always do: find a way to keep it close and then congeal fundamentally as a team to give themselves a chace. They won't cost themselves a game; if the other side wins, they'll have deserved it.

Canada's litany of mistakes rarely made it deserving, in spite of its abundance of world-class talent.

Actually, the amazing game was Russia v Denmark.

Amidst blowouts that weren't totally unexpected, the feisty newcomers to the IIHF's top level almost stole one. They got within 44 seconds of what would've been a spectacular upset when Nashville Predator draftee Vladislav Kamenev stepped up:

And Russia's captain wasn't done, as he bailed out this quarter-final's heavy favorites, big time:

The Americans, meanwhile, cruised to a 7-0 whitewash of an outgunned Czech squad in a display Canada could only envy:

Thus, the stage is set for two high-octane semi-finals on Mon 4 Jan:

WJC bracket

Canada may not think so, but the host Finns couldn't be more pleased with these pairings: a heated traditional rivalry and an international confrontation.