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)
First period: Russia 3, Sweden 2
9:45 a.m. — Russia will start the second period with 25 seconds of power-play time.
9:42 a.m. — Russia heads back to the power play with a minute and 34 seconds left in the first period.
9:38 a.m. — Sweden comes oh-so-close to tying this one up as the puck squirts through the pads of Askarov and towards the goal line. Danil Zhuravlyou pulls the puck off the goal line and saves the lead for Russia.
9:36 a.m. — PP GOAL. A big-time wrist shot from Samuel Fagemo with space beats Askarov blocker side. Russia leads 3-2.
9:33 a.m. — Sweden heads to the power play on a cross-checking call.
9:30 a.m. — GOAL. Just seconds after making a great stop on a turnaround shot, Alnefelt goes out of his net to play a loose puck; however, he sends the wobbly puck into the hands of Yegor Sokolov. He takes it and scores from the sharp angle. Russia leads 3-1.
9:27 a.m. — After the power play ends, Alnefelt with another big save as he robs Ilya Kruglov.
9:21 a.m. — Big save by Hugo Alnefelt on Kirill Marchenko on the doorstep keeps it a one-goal game.
9:20 a.m. — GOAL. Off the skate of the Swedish defender in front, the puck goes right to Alexander Khovanov for the easy goal. Russia leads 2-1.
9:18 a.m. — Russia heads to the power play and it is already 1-0 with the man advantage.
9:17 a.m. — Nils Hoglander comes up high with a hit on Grigori Denisenko. Hoglander — one of the top players for Sweden — gets five and is ejected from the game. The Russian captain appears to be shaken up from the hit.
9:14 a.m. — PP GOAL. Ivan Morozov (Vegas Golden Knights) evens things up with a quick shot from the right circle that goes through the wickets of Hugo Alnefelt. Game tied 1-1.
🇷🇺 Russia doesn’t wait around to fall behind even more. Soon after the Swedes open the scoring, Vegas 2nd rounder Ivan Morozov knocks it through. pic.twitter.com/55NM133pfs
— TSN (@TSN_Sports) January 4, 2020
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