|Vincent Hinostroza (left), Teuvo Teravainen (middle) and Ryan Hartman helped their countries battle for a spot in the semifinals of the U20 World Championship on Thursday. (Photos by Matt Cashore/Notre Dame Athletics, Bill Smith, and Terry Wilson/OHL Images).
Thursday marked the biggest elimination day at the 2014 IIHF U20 World Championship, as eight teams battled head to head for spots in the semifinals. When the snow settled, two Blackhawks prospects remain in the hunt for World Juniors glory, while two others are going home earlier than anticipated.
The first game on the slate was a classic matchup, pitting Team USA—last year’s gold medalists—against the Russians’ high-octane offense. The first period was a back-and-forth affair as the two teams combined for five goals on 30 shots, including one by Illinois native and Chicago prospect Ryan Hartman; the Americans led 3-2 at the break. But Russia capitalized on a couple of 5-on-3 power plays in the second period, with Nikita Zadorov (a Buffalo Sabres draft pick in 2013) netting a pair to put his team up by a goal. The score remained 4-3 through the final frame after the Americans failed to score on numerous power plays, and with U.S. netminder Jon Gillies pulled, the Russians added an empty-netter to oust the defending champions and seal a spot in the semifinals.
Teuvo Teravainen and Team Finland took on the Czech Republic, and the Finns faced yet another two-goal deficit halfway through the game, trailing the Czechs 3-1. Patience and perseverance won out, though, as Finland scored the next four goals to record a 5-3 win and advance to face Team Canada (who won their match against Switzerland 4-1).
Host country Sweden rode a wave of hometown support en route to a dominant 6-0 win over Slovakia, featuring four-point nights from Filip Forsberg (NSH) and Elias Lindholm (CAR). The Swedes are looking to secure their third straight medal after winning gold in 2012 and silver last year, but they must get past Russia in the semis on Saturday.
Ryan Hartman (USA): Paired with Jack Eichel (2015 eligible) and new linemate Stefan Matteau (NJD 2013), his updated line paced the Americans offensively in the first period. Hartman scored his second goal of the competition, capping off a nice transition play with a backhanded shot over the Russian goaltender. He ended the game with five shots on goal and a +2 plus/minus rating, and finished the tournament with four points (2G, 2A) in five games as well as 16 shots on goal (fourth-most on the squad).
Vincent Hinostroza (USA): Like in previous games, Hinostroza was used primarily in an offensive role, although his ice time was somewhat diminished in the second period due to Team USA’s penalty trouble. The 2012 sixth-round pick was held without a point in the game, and he finished the tournament with five points (3G, 2A) in five games and a +2 rating.
Teuvo Teravainen (FIN): Finland’s captain took the tournament lead in assists with another pair of helpers against the Czech Republic, bringing his total to nine in five games. Both of Teravainen’s assists led to goals by linemate Saku Maenalanen, who also leads all skaters with six goals. He also won a game-high 15 of 34 draws and now leads the competition with 76 wins on 140 faceoffs (54.3 percent); no other players has taken more than 105 total draws (Switzerland’s Dominik Simon).
Robin Norell (SWE): Sweden’s defense had a painless outing as the team dominated the shot count against Slovakia 40-18. Norell registered one shot on goal and finished the game with a +2 rating.