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WORLD JUNIOR CHAMPIONSHIP: SEMIFINALS

Ristolainen advances to gold medal game; Zadorov and Grigorenko to play for bronze

Saturday, 01.04.2014 / 4:47 PM / News
By Kris Baker  - SabresProspects.com
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WORLD JUNIOR CHAMPIONSHIP: SEMIFINALS
In Kris Baker\'s daily recap of the 2014 World Junior Championship, Rasmus Ristolainen advances to gold medal game; Nikita Zadorov and Mikhail Grigorenko to play for bronze
Rasmus Ristolainen

Rasmus Ristolainen scored his second goal of the tournament Saturday as Finland advanced to the gold medal game of the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship with a resounding 5-1 victory over Canada. Finland will square off with archrival Sweden in the title game on Sunday.

Teuvo Teravainen (CHI) collected two goals and an assist for the Finns, who defeated Canada for the first time in 12 years at the prestigious international event. Juuse Saros (NSH) put up a wall in the Finland net, stopping 23 of 24 shots to earn the win. Team Canada netminder Zachary Fucale (MTL) finished with 18 saves in defeat, including a sprawling second-period showstopper with the glove to thwart Otto Rauhala.

The teams skated without a goal through the opening 20 minutes, but that changed 4:19 into the second period when a funky bounce off the endboards sent the puck to the front of the net where Joni Nikko capitalized to give Finland a 1-0 lead.

FINLAND/CANADA RECAP
WATCH HIGHLIGHTS

Less than a minute after the opening goal, Canada took a penalty and Finland made them pay. Teravainen set up at the top of the faceoff circle and zipped a pass to the crease where Artturi Lehkonen (MTL) was there to put it past Fucale for the 2-0 lead.

Canada’s Jonathan Drouin (TBL) halved the Finnish lead to 2-1 when he swooped into the slot, controlled a loose puck, and buried a backhand at 11:36.

Ristolainen restored Finland’s two-goal lead at 15:36 of the middle period by pinching in from the point and going around both Aaron Ekblad (2014 draft) and Connor McDavid (2015 draft) before flipping the puck high over Fucale’s shoulder.

Ristolainen received a heavy workload throughout the game, but especially in the third period as the Finns played a disciplined defensive game to stifle the talented Canadians. The steady rearguard made his mark with smart plays with the puck and hustle on the penalty kill, providing a positive sign considering his two-game absence earlier in the week due to illness.

Teravainen closed the game out with a pair of goals in the final 3:17, with one coming on a penalty shot and the other going into an empty net. The markers were the first of the tournament for the slick centerman.


In the day’s first semifinal matchup, Mikhail Grigorenko and Nikita Zadorov were each unable to connect Saturday as Russia fell to Sweden 2-1. Grigorenko produced four shots on goal and Zadorov recorded just one for the Russians, who will face Canada Sunday for the bronze medal.

Russia played an inspired opening frame, winning the majority of the 1-on-1 battles and matching the Swedes in all three zones of the ice. They also looked to set Zadorov up for his cannon shot from the back end. The game would tilt back-and-forth until a pair of late penalties to Russia shifted the game’s momentum.

SWEDEN/RUSSIA RECAP

WATCH HIGHLIGHTS

Sweden held the zone with a two-man advantage, eventually using the power play to take a 1-0 edge into the first intermission thanks to a Filip Forsberg (NSH) backdoor tally seconds after the first penalty expired.

After a scoreless second period, Oskar Sundqvist (PIT) put the Swedes in front 2-0 in the game’s 44th minute when he accepted a long breakout feed through the neutral zone and roofed a breakaway backhand over the shoulder of Russian netminder Andrei Vasilevski (TBL), who finished the day with 19 saves.

Just under two minutes later, Russia would finally get on the board with a Damir Zhafyarov tally from a sharp angle to cut the deficit to 2-1 with 13:23 left on the clock. The goal ignited the Russian attack but they were no match down the stretch for Sweden, who was backboned by a 26-save effort from Oscar Dansk (CBJ) to skate into Sunday’s gold medal game.

Grigorenko, who recorded four goals and seven points through six games, was named one of the Russia’s top three players in the tournament at the conclusion of the contest on Saturday. Along with his offensive production, the forward has logged a plus-6 rating (T-3rd overall) and won 68 of 104 faceoffs (58.6 percent) while seeing time on the both the power-play and penalty-killing units.

Zadorov was a major physical presence in his own zone and a catalyzing puck-mover for the up-ice attack. Despite the lack of production Saturday, the towering Zadorov leads all tournament defenders with four goals, while his five total points place second.


For more on all the youngsters in the Sabres pipeline, check out Kris Baker’s website: sabresprospects.com. You can also follow him on Twitter (@sabresprospects) for in-game updates throughout the week on any Buffalo prospects that are in action.

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - BOS 82 54 19 9 261 177 117
2 y - PIT 82 51 24 7 249 207 109
3 x - TBL 82 46 27 9 240 215 101
4 x - MTL 82 46 28 8 215 204 100
5 x - NYR 82 45 31 6 218 193 96
6 x - PHI 82 42 30 10 236 235 94
7 x - CBJ 82 43 32 7 231 216 93
8 x - DET 82 39 28 15 222 230 93
9 WSH 82 38 30 14 235 240 90
10 NJD 82 35 29 18 197 208 88
11 OTT 82 37 31 14 236 265 88
12 TOR 82 38 36 8 231 256 84
13 CAR 82 36 35 11 207 230 83
14 NYI 82 34 37 11 225 267 79
15 FLA 82 29 45 8 196 268 66
16 BUF 82 21 51 10 157 248 52

STATS

2013-2014 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
C. Hodgson 72 20 24 -26 44
T. Ennis 80 21 22 -25 43
D. Stafford 70 16 18 -19 34
C. Ehrhoff 79 6 27 -27 33
C. Stewart 63 15 11 0 26
C. Conacher 79 7 19 1 26
T. Myers 62 9 13 -26 22
Z. Girgensons 70 8 14 -6 22
M. Foligno 74 7 12 -17 19
J. McBain 69 6 11 -13 17
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
M. Neuvirth 4 8 2 .921 2.78
J. Enroth 4 17 5 .911 2.82