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WORLDS: Canada, Finland to meet in Gold Medal Game

Finland tops Russia 1-0 and Canada defeats Czech Republic 5-1 as both advance to Sunday's Gold Medal Game

by Amanda Stein / newjerseydevils.com

For full coverage of the Devils competing in this month's World Championship and their individual and country's performances, visit our international page at newjerseydevils.com/worlds.

FINLAND 1, RUSSIA 0

Finland: Kaapo Kakko

The Finns celebrated wildly as the clock stuck zero, nearly in disbelief. They had just knocked out the powerhouse Russian team at the World Championship and piled on top of their goalie Kevin Lankinen while rejoicing 

Lankinen made 32 saves in the 1-0 upset victory over Russia, a roster stacked with NHL talent.

Russia boasted a team fit to compete at the Olympic games, with 212 NHL goals between them, while Finland had not one current NHL player on their squad.

"Our goalie was unbelievable," Finnish captain Marko Anttila told TSN after the game. "He looked so confident, didn't give up a rebound, everything was perfect."

Anttila scored the only goal of the game, halfway through the third period to lead his team into the gold medal game. Anttila also scored the game tying goal against Sweden that sent their quarterfinal game into overtime en-route to the semi-finals. 

"I think it was a little bit lucky, lucky bounces," Anttila added, "But that's part of the plan, put the pucks to the net."

The loss for Russia is their first of the tournament, after starting 8-0. 

Top European prospect Kaapo Kakko was named one of Finland's Top 3 players of the tournament after the game. He finished the semi-final matchup with three shots on goal and 16:25 of ice time.

It has been eight years since Finland has won gold at the World Hockey Championship and they will not have a chance to play for gold on Sunday against the winner of Saturday afternoons game between Canada and the Czech Republic. 

Russia will play for bronze on Sunday against the Czech Republic. 

CANADA 5, CZECH REPUBLIC 1

Damon Severson and Mackenzie Blackwood are going for Gold at the World Hockey Championship! 

The only two players remaining from the Devils roster at the tournament will compete in the gold medal game after Canada defeated the Czech Republic in semi-final play on Saturday.

Canada jumped out to a 1-0 lead at just 5:18 of the first period and kept the Czechs off the board until the 13:59 mark of the third when the game was already out of reach. The Canadians had built a 5-0 lead early in the third period en-route to their 5-1 victory. 

Canadian netminder Matt Murray (Pittsburgh Penguins) made 39 saves on 40 shots in the win. The team, led by head coach Alain Vigneault (Philadelphia Flyers) had five different goal scorers in the victory. Team Canada will compete in the Gold Medal Game of the World Hockey Championship for a 10th time in 17 years. 

Severson once again played a team-high 22:46 in ice time with one shot on goal. He has helped lead a defensive unit that has allowed just 13 goals in nine games so far this tournament. 

Blackwood did not dress for the game, on the roster as Canada's third goaltender. 

Canada has gone 8-0-0 since dropping their opening game of the tournament to Finland, the team which they'll face in the Gold Medal Game. 

Canada and Finland play for gold at 2:15 p.m. EDT on Sunday, while Russia and Czech Republic will play in the Bronze Medal Game at 9:45 a.m. EDT.

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