World Juniors: The Usual Suspects Gird for the Semi-Finals
Two cruisers, two squeakers, and two crazy goals set the stage for this year's World Junior Championship semi-final showdown.
Here are the pairings for Wed 4 Jan in Toronto:
- USA v Russia in a rematch of the pool play that saw America prevail, 3-2.
- Canada v Sweden in a clash of pre-tourney favorites.
While some sort of combination involving these teams was expected, moments of doubt did arise.
Clearly, they did.
Switzerland has steadily built its program into a puncher's chance contender since becoming a consistent presence in the international game's first division.
And they damn near punched their own ticket to the semis, in part because Nico Hischier is the real deal.
After jumping out ot a quick 2-0 first-period lead, the Americans got their patootie saved time and again by goalie Tyler Parsons before Jordan Greenway nailed a power play goal halfway through the third period to secure the 3-2 victory.
Next up is the Russians, who dashed Denmark's upset dreams with a 4-0 whitewash.
That result included a long-range bomb that's rarely seen at this level.
It's first up in the highlight clip:
On the other side of the bracket, host Canada may have outshot the Czechs, 41-19, but they needed a deuce in the third to secure their semi-final berth:
They'll now face Sweden, who's undefeated so far in this event.
The Små Kronor took no prisoners in shellacking the Slovaks, 8-3.
The World Juniors have become hockey's version of the NCAA's Big Dance. They just do it on an international level.
Expect some serious high-steppin' for the remainder of this week.