Five Oilers prospects are taking part in the 2013 World Junior Hockey Championships in Ufa, Russia. We are providing daily reports and links to interviews and highlights through to the end of the tournament.
USA 5, CANADA 1
Jake McCabe and Johnny Gaudreau each scored twice and John Gibson made 34 saves as the Americans stunned Canada with a 5-1 win to advance to the Gold Medal Game. Canada will now play for the Bronze on Saturday.
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins had three shots on goal and an even rating in the loss.
The Americans got on the board early in the opening period. Riley Barber had two great chances from point-blank range but was denied just outside the crease twice by Canada starting goaltender Malcolm Subban. Barber then threw the puck to the high slot to Jake McCabe who blasted it through a screened Subban for the 1-0 lead.
Just past the midway point of the period, USA had a 9-4 edge in shots on Canada and controlled most of the game's tempo.
Canada's best chance of the period came with about six minutes to play as Lipon pounced on a rebound in front of the net but was turned away by John Gibson as the USA netminder makes a quick left pad save.
The Americans struck with 3:58 to play to make it a 2-0 game. Once again, it was Jake McCabe through a screen at the edge of the left face-off circle where he wristed a shot past a screened Subban glove side for the goal.
Shots on goal after one period were 12 to 8 for the Americans.
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins had a good chance to score early in the second period. Gibson had to make a good save on his wrist shot from the left circle.
The two sides traded chances back and forth for several minutes as the middle frame continued. The teams skated up and down the ice with multiple odd-man rushes that culminated in Johnny Gaudreau scoring on an odd-man rush off a wrist shot from the high slot to give USA a 3-0 lead.
Strome nearly opened the scoring for Canada about a minute later as he tried to go five-hole on the American netminder from the top of the crease but Gibson managed to get down and make the stop.
Nugent-Hopkins took a slashing penalty almost seven minutes into the period to give USA the game's first power play.
After killing off that penalty, Scheifele was tripped up by Connor Murphy to put Canada on the power play for the first time but they were unable to accomplish much.
With 7:16 to play in the second, Jim Vesey made a nifty move in the right circle before firing the puck high past Subban, extending USA's lead to 4-0.
After the goal, Jordan Binnington replaced Subban in net as the Canadians were looking for any possible spark to get back into the game.
Binnington came up huge late in the period on an odd-man rush up the ice, making a big save on McCabe who was all alone in front after a drop pass from Rocco Grimaldi.
While shorthanded in the third period, Canada looked to finally get on the scoreboard but not without some controversy. Ty Rattie blasted a shot that hit the crossbar behind Gibson. He then hammered in the rebound with a slapper from the slot. For some reason, the referee blew the whistle as Rattie's second shot was on its way to the net.
Even though the whistle blew before the puck crossed the line, after video review it was ruled a goal and Canada was now trailing 4-1.
Canada had a number of chances late in the third period but Gibson stood tall for the Americans. The best two chances may have come off the stick of Nugent-Hopkins. On a power play, his shot from the slot was knocked away by Gibson's glove.
Several minutes later, RNH rang a shot off the post and 30 seconds later, JT Miller spotted Gaudreau at the far blue line, sending him in all alone. Gaudreau made no mistake, firing a wrist shot top corner to make it 5-1 USA.
-- Marc Ciampa, edmontonoilers.com
RUSSIA vs. SWEDEN
Sweden advanced to the gold-medal game of the 2013 IIHF World Junior Championship with a dramatic 3-2 shootout victory against host Russia on Thursday in the tournament semifinals.
Sebastian Collberg scored in the third round of the shootout and Niklas Lundstrom made the final save against Nikita Kucherov to seal the win for Sweden.
Sweden, the defending gold medalists, won last year's title with a dramatic 1-0 overtime win against Russia, ending 31 years of championship futility. They'll attempt to become the first team since Canada (2005-09) to win consecutive gold medals.
In the early stages of the 10-minute overtime period, Sweden's Rickard Rakell had the first good attempt when he skated across the slot before releasing a shot that Andrey Vasilevskiy deflected into the corner.
Russia's Albert Yarullin had a great chance for his team when he skated down the right wing before curling back and backhanding a shot that deflected off the left arm of Lundstrom.
Russia captain and Edmonton Oilers prospect Nail Yakupov had one final rush to end overtime, skating 175 feet before firing a backhand that Lundstrom easily turned away.
Mikhail Grigorenko, Russia's player of the game, had pulled his team into a 2-2 tie to the delight of the hometown faithful at Ufa Area 7:56 into the third when he poked a loose puck over Lundstrom's left pad. As they have done all tournament, Grigorenko and linemate Kucherov made the play happen with tremendous work in the Sweden end and in front of Lundstrom.
Lundstrom made a great save on Yakupov with 4:35 remaining in the third. With the game even, Yakupov skated into the slot and launched a quick backhand attempt that was turned away.
The game might well have been Yakupov's best of the tournament.
Sweden seemed to have the better of the play in the opening 26 minutes of the game to open a 2-0 lead before Russia roared back. The Swedes outshot Russia 40-29. If not for the play of Vasilevskiy, who made 38 saves, Sweden probably would have earned the victory in regulation.
At the other end, Lundstrom also was solid. Following a quiet first period, when Russia only mustered two shots, Lundstrom was called upon to make 25 of his 27 saves the remainder of the game.
Russia pulled to within 2-1 when defenseman Andrei Mironov scored his first of the tournament off a blast from the top of right circle at the 7:32 mark. The goal by Mironov, assisted by Yakupov and Kirill Kapustin, at the time was just the fourth shot on goal by Russia.
The goal appeared to ignite the host country and the boisterous crowd.
Sweden outshot Russia, 25-12, through two periods.
Sweden opened a 1-0 lead on a power-play goal by top 2013 NHL Draft prospect Elias Lindholm at the 6:35 mark. Lindholm took a pass from Victor Rask right in front of Vasilevskiy before sliding a backhand shot into the net.
The Swedes made it 2-0 at 9:38 when Filip Forsberg ripped a shot from between the circles that beat Vasilevskiy top shelf on the glove side.
Lundstrom made his best stop of the second with his team leading 2-1 but shorthanded. Kucherov found Grigorenko at the left post, but Lundstrom was able to get his pad on the shot.
Less than three minutes later, Russia's Daniil Zharkov fired a shot from the right circle that rang off the crossbar.
It's a bit of a surprise Sweden reached the gold-medal game, considering the team is without three key defensemen due to injuries -- Oscar Klefbom (shoulder), Jonas Brodin (clavicle) and Hampus Lindholm (concussion).
-- Mike Morreale, NHL.com
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