Because the outdated saying goes: “What’s outdated is new once more.”
Like Monday’s first World Junior Championship semifinal, which noticed Canada and Russia battle for a spot within the gold-medal recreation, United States-Finland is a rivalry with historical past. Two years in the past, the Finns bested the People within the gold-medal recreation when now-Rangers ahead Kaapo Kakko netted the go-ahead aim with 1:26 on the clock. Final 12 months, Finland pitched a shutout to ship the People residence within the quarterfinals and sprint their hopes of a fifth straight 12 months with a medal.
Eight gamers return from final 12 months’s squad for the U.S. (Bobby Brink, Cole Caufield, Arthur Kaliyev, Spencer Knight, Alex Turcotte, Dustin Wolf, Cam York and Trevor Zegras), whereas Knight was considered one of three goalies in 2019. Finland has 5 gamers coming back from 2020 (Santeri Hatakka, Ville Heinola, Mikko Kokkonen, Kari Piiroinen and Aku Raty); Heinola and Anton Lundell, who missed final 12 months with an damage, additionally gained gold two years in the past.
“I’d think about the blokes that performed within the event final 12 months may need a chip on their shoulder about it. And definitely, we hope to make use of that to our benefit,” USA head coach Nick Leaman mentioned Monday afternoon.
The USA comes into the sport off a quarterfinal win Saturday night time over Slovakia. Whereas the ultimate rating was 5-2, it was shut till John Farinacci scored his second aim of the sport, a great thing about a backhand wraparound, within the third. Matthew Beniers iced it with an empty-netter.
Trevor Zegras chipped in two assists and retook the event scoring lead from Canada’s Dylan Cozens at 15 factors (Cozens handed him Monday in Canada’s semifinal victory). That complete additionally strikes him up the U.S. single-tournament listing, tying him with Corridor of Famer Mike Modano (1989). Zegras now has 9 assists, matching his quantity (and level complete) from final 12 months and placing him one level behind Jeremy Roenick for second on USA Hockey’s profession World Juniors factors listing.
Knight was stable in web as soon as once more as he stoned the Slovaks on an uncomfortable variety of pictures from the slot. The Slovaks’ first aim, by Matej Kaslik late within the second interval, ended the People’ shutout streak at a World Juniors-record 218:53. Knight and Dustin Wolf mixed for 245:07 of shutout time with a goalie within the web. Knight can be again between the pipes for the U.S. towards Finland.
Additionally again can be Patrick Moynihan, who missed his second consecutive recreation Saturday with an damage. The Devils prospect took a late, excessive (and, many would say, soiled) hit towards Austria (the participant was suspended two video games for the hit) and was knocked round towards the Czechs. He’ll be a welcome addition to the lineup because the People tackle a robust Finnish staff led by Lundell (seven factors) and a powerful core of Topi Niemela (a Leafs prospect who additionally has seven factors), Jets prospect Heinola and Hatakka. The People did beat Finland 3-2 of their lone event tune-up.
“I do not suppose it is a completely different staff,” mentioned Leaman, who talked about his staff watched the New 12 months’s Eve Canada-Finland recreation and famous Canada performs an identical model to the People. “I definitely went again and watched that recreation [Sunday] and I’ve watched a few their different video games, however groups develop all through the event. You play 4 video games in seven days and you are going to get higher; hopefully, your weaknesses aren’t going to be fairly as weak.”
In that exhibition recreation, the groups traded power-play targets earlier than Cole Caufield potted two. Finland enters comes into this matchup off a come-from-behind, last-minute win over Scandinavian rival Sweden.
“They are a pesky staff,” Leaman mentioned. “They stick round. They’ve an excellent energy play, they’ve the second-best energy play within the event [the USA is No. 1]. So, I feel self-discipline by our staff goes to be crucial. I feel managing the puck goes to be necessary. I feel making an attempt to get them to play of their zone as a lot as attainable goes to be necessary.”
Sporting Information has all of the motion as america and Finland battle for a spot within the gold-medal recreation towards Canada.
(All occasions Japanese)
USA vs. Finland rating, highlights from 2021 World Juniors semifinals
9:04 p.m. — Traces.
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