Gold Medal Game Set at Worlds

Happy Memorial Day weekend everyone! I can’t think of a better way to kick off the unofficial start of summer than with a little bit of hockey, so let’s get to it.

The gold medal game has been set at the 2019 IIHF World Hockey Championship. Along the way, the mighty Russians fell to a team of Finns that did not include quite the star power of their opponents and the Canadians took advantage of some timely scoring to set up our final.

The Russia-Finland game was a goalie duel and a good one. The only goal of the game came at 10:18 into the third period when Marko Anttila scored for the Finns. Henri Jokiharju and Joel Kiviranta had the assists on the only time the Finns solved the Russian goaltender.

Both Andrei Vasilevski (Russia) and Kevin Lankinen (Finland) traded great saves back and forth. Vasilvevski made 28 saves on 29 Finnish shots while Lankinen stopped all 32 Russian shots he saw.

Kaapo Kakko had three shots on net and was an even plus/minus in 16:25 of ice time spread over 22 shifts.

The Finns will now play for the gold medal while Russia will play in the bronze medal game. Their opponents would be decided in the next game.

Canada and the Czech Republic squared off for the right to face the Finns in the gold medal game. It was the Canadians who took advantage and punched their ticket to play for the gold. They defeated the Czechs 5-1.

Mark Stone continued his torrid pace when he scored at 5:18 of the first to give Canada the 1-0 lead. Darnell Nurse doubled the lead just 10 seconds into the second period when he scored from Sean Couturier. That made it 2-0 and the Canadians never looked back.

Pierre-Luc Dubois scored at 5:06 of the second from Jonathan Marchessault and Stone (who is the Canadians’ leading scorer for the tournament). That made it 3-0 Canada.

After this goal, the Czechs made a goalie change, pulling Patrik Bartosak in favor of Pavel Francouz. The Canadians had scored three goals on just 15 shots and the Czechs felt it was time for a change between the pipes.

But Francouz would fare no better as the Canada scoring binge continued into the third period. Kyle Turris scored at 6:26 to make it 4-0 and Thomas Chabot scored at 13:00 to make it 5-0.

The Czechs did get on the board when Tomas Zohorna scored at 13:59 of the third, but the damage was done. Canada had the 5-1 win and will play Finland for the gold medal tomorrow.

Matt Murray (playing on his 25th birthday) made 40 saves on 41 Czech shots while Francouz and Bartosak combined to make 25 saves on 30 Canadian shots.

Damon Severson had one shot on net and was a plus-1 in 22:46 of ice time over 31 shifts.

So now we are set for tomorrow as the Canadians and the Finns will faceoff for the gold and silver medals while the Czechs and the Russians will meet to decide the bronze medal. We will have that game for you right here tomorrow.

We will also have the Memorial Cup championship game for you here and, speaking of Canadian major junior hockey, there is some other Devils-related news out of the CHL.

Ty Smith, Devils defensive prospect and a member of the Spokane Chiefs of the WHL, won the CHL “Defenceman of the Year Award” for 2019. The blurb about his win on the CHL website mentioned that he finished “second in Chiefs team scoring and fourth among all WHL blue-liners as he tallied seven goals and 62 assists for 69 points in only 57 appearances.” He also had nine points in 15 playoff games for the Chiefs. The Chiefs were eliminated by the Vancouver Giants in the WHL Western Conference Final.

The CHL website gives his career WHL stats as “26 goals and 150 assists for 176 points in 194 career appearances.”

Smith becomes the first WHL defenseman to win this award since Ivan Provorov of the Brandon Wheat Kings in 2016. The CHL site says that the other finalists for the award this year were Evan Bouchard (London Knights – OHL) and Charle-Edouard D’Astous (Rimouski Oceanic – QMJHL).

Congratulations to Ty Smith on this great honor.

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