Connor Carrick rushes the puck up ice (Photo credit: Francois Laplante/HHOF-IIHF Images)
World Juniors semifinalists were determined on Thursday. Washington Capitals prospects combined for three points. Riley Barber had one assist to his name, while Andre Burakovsky recorded a pair of helpers.
The United States fell to Russia in a 5-3 nail-biter. The teams traded goals in the first period, ending with the Americans on top 3-2 after Barber found Nic Kerdiles with an aerial pass and Kerdiles’ long-range shot caught Russian goalie Andrei Vasilevski off-guard. For the most of the second period, they maintained that lead, forcing Russians to play a tight, physical style and limiting their opportunities.
By late in the period, it looked as though the Americans ran out of gas, taking ill-advised penalties (one by Caps prospect Tommy DiPauli) and giving Russia two five-on-three chances, resulting in two goals on two bombs by Sabres’ defensive prospect Nikita Zadorov. It should be noted that the second five-on-three chance came after an incorrect delay-of-game call, as the replay showed that the clearing attempt by Steve Santini hit the top of the glass behind Russia’s net before going into the safety net. In the third, the USA didn’t find enough firepower to generate offense while Russians played an impressive defense. With the American net empty, Russians put the game away.
Caps prospect Connor Carrick was named a player of the game for the United States. Carrick made a few great plays with his puck-carrying ability, joining the rush breaking up Russia’s defensive scheme, especially in the first period.
Barber finished with a team-best four goals. Carrick led the team in plus-minus (plus-7).
One play by Carrick is at 0:38. Barber’s assist is at 3:10.
In the less dramatic news, the Swedes easily defeated the Slovaks in another quarterfinal, 6-0. Both of Burakovsky’s assists came on the powerplay. Christian Djoos didn’t get on the board. In what-could-have-been watch, Filip Forsberg had two goals and two assists.
The Swedes dominated. Burakovsky’s first assist came on– wait for it– Forsberg’s goal (awkward), who finished a picture-perfect three-on-two rush.
Burakovsky got his second point by carrying the puck from his own zone to the Slovaks’ goal line, then feeding the puck to Elias Lindholm, whose shot got denied, but Jacob De La Rose picked up the loose change.
GIF by welshhockeyfan
On Saturday at 6 AM Eastern, Sweden will face Russia in the semifinal. Later that day, Canada and Finland will square off.
Burakovsky’s assists are at the 2:25 and 5:10 marks.