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Russia Captures Bronze Medal at World Juniors

Nikolai Kovalenko and Danila Zhuravlyov help their home country defeat Switzerland

by Dan Vatch / ColoradoAvalanche.com

Colorado Avalanche prospects Nikolai Kovalenko and Danila Zhuravlyov each played more 15 minutes on Saturday in Russia's 5-2 win against Switzerland in the Bronze Medal Game at the 2019 IIHF World Junior Championship.

The Russians held a 2-0 lead after the first period, but Switzerland tightened up the score in the middle frame with the game at 3-2 heading into the second intermission. Team Russia pulled away in the final stanza as Kirill Slepets tallied twice to complete the hat trick and help give his country its 13th medal in 15 years.

Kovalenko appeared in his sixth contest of the tournament for his home nation, recording one shot in 15:21 of time on ice against the Swiss. The 19-year-old finished his first World Juniors with one goal and two assists.

Zhuravlyov patrolled the blue line in all seven of Team Russia's games during the tournament, posting one assist through those contests. He saw 17:19 of ice time and had a plus-1 rating in the victory at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, British Columbia.

After helping their country to a 6-1-0 record and a medal, both players will now return to their respective professional teams in Russia. Kovalenko has posted five points (four goals, one assist) in 24 games for Lokomotiv Yaroslavl of the Kontinental Hockey League and Zhuravlyov has appeared in 24 matches with Bars Kazan of the Supreme Hockey League.

In the Gold Medal Game on Saturday night at Rogers Arena, Team Finland defeated the United States 3-2.

Josh Norris and Alexander Chmelevski each tallied goals for the U.S. as the team took home the Silver Medal. Jesse Ylonen, Otto Latvala and Kaapo Kakko lit the lamp for the Finns, with Kakko scoring the game-winner with 1:26 left in regulation.

It was Finland's first World Junior Championship victory since 2016 when it hosted the tournament in Helsinki.

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