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World Juniors Quarterfinal RECAP: Czechs stun Finland, USA gets more late period heroics

Two Bruins’ Prospects finish their tournament early, and Russia-USA is once again a tremendous game

Matt Zambonin/HHOF-IIHF Images

Relegation Game 1: Denmark stays alive for at least one more game, wins in a comeback rally 5-4

I dunno how this happened.

Belarus went up 2-0 in the first, got tied up, took a lead...and then Denmark by the skin of their teeth ended up tying and winning the game on the final minute of the game. I cannot do this justice, just watch the clip:

A Few Thoughts:

  1. Why didn’t either of these two play each other in the tourney? This would’ve made fantastic TV.
  2. Denmark desperately tried to not get their backs against the wall for their next game and got really close to being so. It’s a buffer...but now they gotta do it again. Good luck!
  3. Belarus showed fight. They’re gonna need to fight harder than ever to win this.

Quarterfinal Game 1: Czech Republic completely stuns the Finns in the shootout 4-3, will play Canada in the Semifinals

I expected The Czechs and the Finns to put on a classic and boy, did they ever pull it out. The Czechs pulled, the Finns pulled back, both goaltenders did their best and the scorers went crazy in this game. It needed a shootout and...somehow....

The Czechs came out on top. What a moment.

A Few Thoughts:

  1. The Czechs are my “heart” team: I know they have obvious flaws and they’re going up against an absolute monster, but they are really fun to watch and I really hope they go all the way for no other reason than that they entertain me.
  2. I have no way to describe it: The Finns were favored, and they just kept stumbling at the last possible moment. It was kinda tragic, given how well they were coached, what a tournament. I can’t wait to see what this team looks like with another year on them.
  3. Filip Zadina might end up being the standout of the tournament with how he takes over shifts, what a special player.
  4. Final Bruins Prospect Roundup for Finland: Joona Koppanen finishes the tournament with 4 points (3 games, 1 assist) in 5 games. In this game, he finished with 11 minutes of ice time. Urho Vaakanainen got a single assist in 5 games, he played 18 minutes in this game. Koppanen will be returning to play Center and/or Left Wing for Ilves, and Vaakanainen will return to SaiPa, both in the Finnish Liiga.

Quarterfinal Game 2: Canada murders Switzerland 8-2

There is no real way to put this: It was like a little dinghy taking on a battleship. An avalanche of sledgehammers coming out of a thundercloud.

A Few Thoughts:

  1. Man, what were you expecting? Canada demolished an inferior team and made it look easy. There is no story here.
  2. Poor Switzerland. They were fun to watch, but otherwise anything about them being low on offensive talent wasn’t a lie: They just didn’t have enough gas to keep up.
  3. Canada is the “brain” team. Everything says “This team will win and you shouldn’t get your hopes up”. It’s a bit bleak, but whatever ends up happening I hope Canada and Czech Republic is a 9-5 game.

Quarterfinal Game 3: Slovakia tries their damnedest, can’t beat Sweden. Sweden wins 3-2 and will play the USA in the Semifinals

Slovakia had something to prove, and in this game, they played their hearts out. Keeping Sweden off the scoresheet for an entire period, and climbing into it when Sweden finally broke in, but alas...the better team had to get somewhere, and the 2 goal performance of Isac Lundestrom got Sweden their win and onto Semis.

A Few Thoughts and Bruins Prospect Update:

  1. That Isac Lundestrom can go completely under the radar and then just decide to be fantastic out of nowhere is kind of a testament to the kind of depth Sweden has walked into this tournament with.
  2. Poor Slovakia, Sam Bucek played his heart out for his country and the team could only get as far as this blue and gold brick wall. They played a real close one...but you can only go so far on that.
  3. Bruins Prospect Update: Oskar Steen got an assist on Lundestrom’s 2nd goal! He’s currently got 3 points in 5 games. He played 10 minutes.

Game 4: USA’s late game heroics once again save them, Russia goes home. USA wins 4-2 and faces Sweden in the Semifinals.

USA might be the best 3rd period team in the world as far as I’m concerned, and that’s incredible considering how crappily they started this particular 3rd, getting tied early.

But then Kieffer Bellows just got a cannon-like shot past Sukhachyov and the US never looked back.

A Few Thoughts and Bruins Prospect Update:

  1. This was an absolute blast for Kieffer Bellows who played a lights out game for the States. He was all over the ice and agitated the hell out of the Russians.
  2. Joseph Woll had a miserable game in net, all things considered. The only reason the US needs these huge efforts is because he usually gets them into these snags to begin with, not that the US defense does him any favors...
  3. Russia played like champs but just squandered every power play opportunity they had. They can’t be happy about this performance and I expect they’ll be back with a vengeance next year.
  4. Bruins Prospect Update: Trent Frederic took an absolutely ridiculous high sticking penalty to finish out the 2nd period, and only played 10 minutes. Ryan Lindgren played 19 minutes, and got an assist by breaking the US out of their own end when Russia had the goalie pulled. That brings him to 1 point in 5 games.

We’ll talk more about the Semis on Thursday. Stay warm, and get ready for more IIHF action!