The 2017 IIHF World Junior Championship is in its final stages, and this year's semifinals feature a clash of titans.
Team USA and Russia will become reacquainted this afternoon, after the Americans defeated Russia 3-2 in group play. The US outshot Russia 37-27 in that game, but Washington Capitals goalie of the future Ilya Samsonov put forward a strong effort. Samsonov will get the call again today, as will Tyler Parsons, the first time a goalie has made consecutive starts for the Americans this tournament.
Russia keeper Ilya Samsonov (Wsh) postgame after 14-save effort in 4-0 win vs DEN pic.twitter.com/CWStXaUZJ9— Mike Morreale (@mikemorrealeNHL) January 2, 2017
In order to get to this point, the Russians swept aside Denmark 4-0 in the quarterfinals, while Team USA hung on for a 3-2 victory vs. Switzerland. After a two assist effort earned him Team USA player of the game honours against Slovakia, Winnipeg Jets prospect Jack Roslovic has again fallen silent, and currently sits with two points in five games.
Despite head coach Dominique Ducharme's mind games, Canada enters its match-up against Sweden in the position of underdog. It's true that Sweden comes out of what was the significantly weaker group, but the team itself has been firing on all cylinders. Alexander Nylander (BUF) has 11 points in five games, followed by a whole slew of skilled Swedish forwards, not to mention defencemen such as Oliver Kylington (CGY), David Bernhardt (PHI) and Lucas Carlsson (CHI). Felix Sandstrom (PHI) will face down Canada's Connor Ingram (TBL) in net.
Felix Sandstrom on playing against Canada : "I'm not afraid, I'm really exited to play against this team !" #WJC2017— Gabriel Leblanc (@gabhockey46) January 3, 2017
Game 1: USA vs. Russia