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WJC: Hart, Hogberg surge into semi's

Pair of Flyers prospects alive as tournament reaches final four

by PhiladelphiaFlyers.com @nhlflyers / http://www.philadelphiaflyers.com

After a day of quarterfinal action at the 2018 World Junior tournament in Buffalo, two Flyers remain in the hunt for gold. Goaltender Carter Hart for Team Canada and defenseman Linus Hogberg for Team Sweden.

SEMIFINAL SCHEDULE (Thursday, Jan. 4)

Sweden vs. United States - 4 p.m. on NHL Network

Canada vs. Czech Republic - 8 p.m. on NHL Network

 

CANADA-SWITZERLAND

Carter Hart and the Canadians dominated the action in an 8-2 victory over the Swiss midday on Tuesday. Hart didn't see much action, stopping 13 of 15 shots as Canada outshot Switzerland, 60-15, including 22 to 3 in the third period. 

Hart allowed the first goal on a double deflection off a skidding point shot that hit a Swiss player's stick, then off of Canadian defenseman Dante Fabbro skate and up over Hart's pad. He improves his record to 3-0-1 in the tournament with a .920 save percentage and 1.96 GAA.

 

CZECH REPUBLIC-FINLAND

Canada will face off against the Czech Republic, who took a thrilling game and thrilling shootout victory over Finland, 4-3, in the first quarterfinal game.

The Czech team went 3-1-0 in the preliminary round and began the tournament with an upset win over Russia. Along with their quarterfinal win over Finland, they have recorded 21 goals through their five games. 

The Czechs make their first semifinal bid and will be looking for their first medal in a World Junior tournament since 2005, when the United States also played host, in Grand Forks, ND.

Canada faced the Czech team in one of their two pre-tournament exhibition games, earning a 9-0 win on Dec. 20. Throughout the tournament, the Canadian team has outscored their opponent, 29 to 7.

 

SWEDEN-SLOVAKIA

On the other side of the bracket, Sweden held on to win a tight game against Slovakia, 3-2, to advance to their 12th consecutive semifinal in a World Junior Championship.

Flyers prospect, Linus Hogberg, saw 4:08 of ice time on the blueline in the win for Sweden, who got out to 2-0 and 3-1 leads, before Slovakia made it come down to the wire by drawing within one with eight minutes to go in the game.

The victory sets up a battle of titans as Sweden will now face the United States.

 

USA-RUSSIA

In another intense battle and heated quarterfinal match up, the United States defeated Russia, 4-2, in the late game on Tuesday. The U.S. and Russia traded goals back-and-forth with the Americans taking 1-0 and 2-1 leads and the Russians matching them to a 1-1 and eventual 2-2 tie with 10 minutes to go in the third period.

Kiefer Bellows broke the tie with his sixth goal of the tournament with 7:29 left to play and Joey Anderson tallied an empty-net goal to seal it and send the USA into the World Junior semis for the third straight year.

Flyers prospect, German Rubtsov, went scoreless and had one shot on goal in 18:08 of ice time in the loss. As a result, Russia will not medal in a World Junior tournament for the first time since 2010, breaking a streak of seven straight tournament medals.

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