TORONTO -- Russia forward Alexander Sharov scored two goals and Igor Shesterkin made 26 saves to lead Russia to a 4-1 victory against Sweden in the semifinal round of the 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship at Air Canada Centre on Sunday.
The victory assures Russia a third appearance in the gold medal game in the past five years. It last won gold at the 2011 WJC in Buffalo following a five-goal third period that led to a 5-3 victory against Canada. It was the country's first gold medal-winning effort since 2003 in Halifax and Sydney, Canada.
CHICAGO -- Those outside the Chicago Blackhawks' locker room might be rolling their eyes about the outcome of the 2015 NHL All-Star Fan Vote presented by SiriusXM, but those on the inside are all smiles.
The Blackhawks, who took five of the first six spots for the 2015 Honda NHL All-Star Game in Columbus, are thrilled with the outcome. After top vote-getter Zemgus Girgensons of the Buffalo Sabres, the next five spots were all Chicago players.
"When the balloting started there, we seemed to come out of the gate very strong; picked up some momentum along the way," Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said. "Good for the guys. Organizationally, it should be proud of the representation we’re going to have at the All-Star Game. It’s one of those days [when] it’s fun for the game [and] fun for the League."
The Chicago Blackhawks will be prominently represented at the 2015 Honda NHL All-Star Game, with five of their players revealed Saturday as part of the first six NHL All-Stars.
Buffalo Sabres forward Zemgus Girgensons will join Blackhawks forwards Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews, defensemen Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook, and goaltender Corey Crawford at NHL All-Star Weekend, Jan. 24-25 at Nationwide Arena in Columbus.
Girgensons, the Sabres' second-year center, topped all vote-getters with 1,574,896. The 20-year-old has 11 goals and 20 points in 39 games.
TORONTO -- It's a smile that lights up and energizes a nation.
Curtis Lazar's ever-present grin has been the backdrop for a team trying to win Canada's first gold medal at the IIHF World Junior Championship since 2009.
Lazar (Ottawa Senators) is Canada's captain and leader. In a pressure-packed event where the host country is expected to succeed, he has drawn on his experience from a year ago, when Canada finished fourth after losing 2-1 to Russia in the bronze-medal game. That loss came two days after a 5-1 loss to Finland in the semifinal.
He had three goals and seven points in Malmo, Sweden, at the 2014 WJC, but Lazar knew it would be different playing the 2015 WJC in Canada in front of family and friends, not to mention a hockey-mad nation that expects nothing less than gold.
TORONTO -- Sweden, Russia, Canada and Slovakia are the final four teams left at the 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship, and they'll play in the semifinals Sunday at Air Canada Centre.
Sweden, who won the silver medal at the 2014 WJC, plays Russia, the 2014 bronze medalists, in one semifinal; Canada faces Slovakia in the second game.
The survivors will meet in the gold-medal game in Toronto on Monday at 8 p.m. ET. The bronze-medal game is Monday at 4 p.m. ET.
Canada is making its 17th consecutive appearance in the tournament semifinals, Sweden is making its ninth straight appearance and Russia is in the final four for the fifth straight time. Slovakia, which has finished no higher than sixth (2012) the past five years at the WJC, last earned a semifinal berth in 2009.
A new champion is guaranteed this year since Finland, the 2014 gold medalist, lost 6-3 to Sweden on Friday in the quarterfinals. The other quarterfinal games saw Canada beat Denmark 8-0; Russia defeat the United States 3-2; and Slovakia defeat the Czech Republic 3-0.
Here is a closer look at the semifinal games: