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World Junior Hockey SemiFinals

The World Junior Hockey Championships semi-finals have just been played.  A summary of the quarter-finals is here and the preliminary round is here.

The semi-finals pitted Sweden against Slovakia and Canada against Russia.

Sweden 5 Slovakia 3

Slovakia jumped out to a first period lead on a late power play goal by Marek Mertel (undrafted - who had a three point night).  Sweden tied it up in the second on a goal by Mikael Backlund (Calgary prospect - who scored two goals in the game).  Tomas Tatar (2009 draft eligible - who scored two goals) gave the Slovaks the lead five minutes later.  In the third period, Sweden broke the game open scoring the next three goals, with the game ending 5-3.  Eric Karlsson (Ottawa prospect) had three assists and Mattias Tedenby (New Jersey prospect) added two assists.  The winning goalie was Jakob Markstrom (Florida prospect) who faced 30 shots and allowing three goals.  Slovak goalie Jaroslav Janus (undrafted) had significantly more work facing 50 shots and allowing four goals (with the final goal scored on an empty net).

Canada 6 Russia 5 (shootout)

This was a back and forth game where no team ever had more than a one goal lead.  Jordan Eberle (Edmonton prospect) was the hero as he was credited with three goals including the tying goal with five seconds left sending it to overtime and the shootout goal.  John Tavares (2009 draft eligible) and Evander Kane (2009 draft eligible) both added two assists for Canada. 
For the Russians, Dmitri Klopov (undrafted) scored twice, Maxim Goncharov (Phoenix prospect) and Nikita Filatov (Columbus prospect) both added two points.  The hardest worked goaltender was Russia’s Vadim Zhelobnyuk (undrafted) who faced 42 shots.  Canada’s Dustin Tokarski (Tampa Bay prospect) faced 28 shots.  A shootout is a poor way to end a hockey game.  It did not show that Canada was better at hockey than Russia.  It is a skills competition that is exciting, but it is a poor way to decide anything.

Sweden and Canada are both undefeated and will meet in the gold/silver game.  Slovakia and Russia will meet in the bronze/4th game.

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imageThe Puck Stops Here was founded during the 2004/05 lockout as a place to rant about hockey. The original site contains over 1000 posts, some of which were also published on FoxSports.com.

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