With this year’s tournament nearing it’s end, the games have become must win. With Canada and Russia achieving automatic advances to the semifinals, that left four teams battling for the remaining two spots. The US and Finland would face each other to play against Canada, while Sweden would face off against the Czech Republic for the right to play Russia.
The US was coming off an emotion overtime win against Sweden to keep their drive alive, so there was no doubting they were mentally ready to play. Many however, questioned if they were physically ready. This would be the US’ fourth game in five days. They put all doubts to rest though, as they came out firing.
With the States leading midway through the third, Luc Bourdon would unleash a rocket shot from the point to tie it up. Carey played excellent in regular time, but this game would need to head to overtime.
Early in the extra period, Kris Letang would take a high-sticking penalty, making it four players against three. The US would launch shot after shot, but Carey stood to the challenge, making amazing save after amazing save.
Canada would survive thanks to Price, head to the shootout. As the 7th round approached, John Toews would notch his 3 shootout goal of the game, and Carey Price would stop the next shot, as Canada is heading to the gold medal game.
Meanwhile, the hosts who managed to tame the Czechs, would take on Russia. It was all Sweden early on, as they notched a quick goal followed by three posts. Russia would respond however. Solid play by goaltender Varlamov would help the Russians shift the momentum of the game in their direction, and allowed them to score four straight goals. Sweden would score their 2nd late in the final frame, but it was too little too late. For the 3rd time in three years, Canada would face Russia in the finals.
Two Montreal prospects played in the semifinals, and both had great games. There was one however, who really stood out.
Carey Price: How much can you say about this guy? He was amazing in regular time, making numerous key saves. Though one lucky goal got past him on a deflection, he was nearly unbeatable. He would stop 22 of 23 shots in regular time. As they headed to overtime, Carey would really begin to shine. As Canada took a penalty, the game would become a firing range. Price, however, would stop all 12 shots the US took in overtime, making some saves that looked near impossible. He would then make a key save in the shootout, and win it for Canada. In this game, he would stop 34 of 35 shots (not including the shootout) for the win.
Pavel Valentenko: Pavel’s defensive play against the Swedes was solid. Though not doing anything special, he was very reliable and kept his game simple. In this game, he would notch 2 shots and 2 PIM. He continues to show that he was a good pickup in the 5th round, with his very solid play. He is expected to, and will need to bring that very same level of play when they face Canada.
There was no question the Canada game was an instant classic. This nation held it’s collective breath, as Canada and the US played a very intense game, with each team teetering on the edge of victory and defeat on numerous occasions. There is merely one game now remaining for Canada, and with a win, they could be golden for the 3rd straight year.