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2019 World Juniors: Day 6 recap

...Michael DiPietro was named Player of the Game for Canada

by Tyson Giuriato @TysonGiuriato / Freelance writer

Two Canucks prospects were named the Player of the Game for their respective team on Monday as the preliminary round of the 2019 World Juniors came to a close.

Michael DiPietro was named Player of the Game for Canada in a 2-1 loss to Russia in a game with first place in Group A on the line.

Across the Salish Sea in Victoria, three Canucks prospects were in action as the United States and Finland clashed in a game to decide who finishes second in Group B and who finishes third and has to face Canada in the quarterfinals. Tyler Madden was named the Player of the Game for Team USA after scoring twice, including the winner.

All teams are off on Tuesday before quarterfinal action gets underway Wednesday afternoon.

Russia (2) - Canada (1)

Michael DiPietro (CAN): 29 saves

Tweet from @HC_WJC: Game over. 🇨 pushes late, but drops a narrow decision to 🇷 to close out the preliminary round. Game stats: https://t.co/qGauZyQ1A5 #WorldJuniors #REPRESENT pic.twitter.com/zXuvd8S5jn

With exactly nine minutes remaining in the 3rd period, Team Canada found themselves in a situation they haven't been in all tournament. They were losing a game.

Some poor defensive zone play by the Canadians allowed Pavel Shen to cut right across the crease and slide the puck past DiPietro, giving Russia a 2-1 lead, breaking a deadlock that lasted nearly 46 minutes.

Canada opened the scoring 2:20 into the game on a Cody Glass goal, but three minutes later on a Russian powerplay, Grigori Denisenko took a cross-ice feed at the faceoff dot and was able to one-time the puck into the back of the net before DiPietro could get across.

DiPietro finished with 29 saves on the night and was named the Player of the Game for Canada.

With 1:32 left in the opening frame he stoned Stepan Starkov on a rebound opportunity, having to come way out of his crease to do so. Another big save came with just under three minutes to play, DiPietro kept his teams' chances alive when he stopped Kirill Slepets all alone on a breakaway, the second breakaway he faced in the final minutes.

DiPietro continues to get better with each game, however his teammates haven't been sharp in front of him at times and they will need to find another level against Finland in a win or go home quarterfinal matchup.

Next up: Quarterfinals vs. Finland (Wednesday, 3:30pm PT, TSN 1)

United States (4) - Finland (1)

Quinn Hughes (USA): 3 shots, +2
Tyler Madden (USA): 2 goals, 8 shots
Toni Utunen (FIN): 1 shot

Tweet from @usahockey: 🎥 HIGHLIGHTS | #TeamUSA finishes up the preliminary round with a win over Finland. #USAWJC Full story >> https://t.co/SouoVnADQJ pic.twitter.com/UQP9Sk5YUM

Tyler Madden scored his second and third goals of the tournament as the United States downed Finland.

It was the best game of the tournament for Madden as he continues to impress. He finished with a game-high eight shots on goal and logged 19:29 of ice time, which not only led all USA forwards, but was third on the entire team.

On his first goal, he snuck down low behind all Finnish defenders, took a nifty cross-ice feed from Josh Norris and rifled a wrist shot that went under the arm of goaltender Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen and into the back of the net. That goal couldn't have come at a better time for the United States as the momentum was all Finland at the time. 

"Obviously a one-goal lead is not too safe of a lead," said Madden. "That goal was a big confidence booster for everyone and then (Ryan) Poehling got another one a few minutes later and we put them where we wanted them."

Madden added his second of the night just 2:02 into the 3rd period, banging home a loose puck and giving his team a four-goal lead.

Finland entered the game having not allowed an even strength goal against all tournament, but on this night surrendered three. It was a good game by the United States who have some momentum going into the quarterfinals where they will face the Czech Republic.

"I think tonight was a good step for us," said Madden. "It as a good example of what we can be and we will build on this and be even better."

Quinn Hughes finished the night with three shots on goal and logged 22:38 of ice time on the United States blueline, while Toni Utunen finished with one shot on goal in 13:32 of ice time for Finland.

Next up (USA): vs. Quarterfinals vs. Czech Republic (Wednesday, 5:00pm PT, TSN 2)

Next up (FIN): vs. Quarterfinals vs. Canada (Wednesday, 3:30pm PT, TSN 1)

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