Sweden and Russia are set to battle it out for a spot in Sunday’s gold medal game — and this one should be a good one. The last time Sweden won gold was 2012, and Russia the year prior. Both squads are motivated to get back to the top game and another shot at gold.
The Swedes have yet to lose a game and easily defeated the host Czechs in the quarterfinals. A squad jam-packed with talent, they’ve potted a tournament-high 25 goals while allowing the fewest (eight). Vancouver Canucks prospect Nils Hoglander leads the tournament with 10 points (five goals, five assists). Samuel Fagemo, the Los Angeles Kings second-round pick in 2019, is first in goals scored with six. Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Rasmus Sandin has been a bit banged up in this one — taking a couple of slashes to the arm — but has been a key offensive threat with five assists.
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Russia enters the semis coming off a 3-1 win over Switzerland. Yaroslav Askarov has had an up-and-down tourney but stopped 14 of 15 shots in net on Thursday. Expected to go high in the 2020 draft, a rarity for backstops, he’ll be back in between the pipes on Saturday. The Russians have a balanced lineup and regularly roll four lines that can bury the puck. Five of their skaters are tied with six points: Nikita Alexandrov (goal, five assists), Kirill Marchenko (two goals, four assists), Dmitri Voronkov (three goals, three assists) Grigori Denisenko (two goals, four assists) and Alexander Khovanov (two goals, four assists).
Sporting News has all the action as Sweden and Russia go for a spot in the gold medal game at the 2020 IIHF World Junior Championship.
Sweden vs. Russia scores, highlights from 2020 World Juniors semifinal
(All times are Eastern)
9:12 a.m. — Russia heads to the power play and will look for the equalizer.
9:09 a.m. — GOAL. Just 16 seconds into the contest the Swedes get a faceoff deep in Russia’s zone. David Gustafsson wins it back to Rasmus Sandin and the Toronto Marlies defenseman fires it past Askarov’s glove. Sweden leads 1-0.
9:09 a.m. — Game on.
8:45 a.m. — Getting ready.
8:35 a.m. — Warmups are underway.
8:10 a.m. — Lineups.
Sweden vs. Russia in the day’s first semifinal. Hugo Alnefelt (TBL) vs. Yaroslav Askarov (2020) in a rematch between U18 Gold Medal Game goalies, which was an epic game. Both teams have all skaters available, too. This could end up being the tournament’s best game. pic.twitter.com/t1NYxmQtvv
— Chris Peters (@chrismpeters) January 4, 2020