For all your World Championship news, stats & more, stay locked on to WinnipegJets.com/worlds.CANADA 2 - CZECH REPUBLIC 0
Team Canada will play for the gold medal at the 2015 IIHF World Hockey Championship after defeating the Czech Republic 2-0 Saturday at O2 Arena in Prague.
Canadian goaltender Mike Smith (Arizona Coyotes) recorded his second straight shutout to hold down a fired-up Czech squad.
The home team showed great jump early in the game – inspired by its loud, partisan crowd of supporters – but a series of early saves from Smith kept the game
Taylor Hall opened the scoring at the 8:40 mark of the first period, converting a slick feed from his Edmonton Oilers teammate Jordan Eberle past helpless Czech
netminder Ondrej Pavelec.
Centre Jason Spezza (Dallas Stars) increased Canada’s lead to 2-0 at 9:02 of the second period on a sharp-angle shot that snuck
inside the far post.
Spezza leads the tournament with 14 points through nine games, while Hall and Eberle are now tied for second place with 12 points each.
With 1:34 remaining in the second period, the Czech fans got a chance to cheer when Michal Jordan put the first puck of the day past Smith. The euphoria was short-lived, however, as the goal was immediately waved off because Czech forward Petr Koukal was in the goal crease.
Newly arrived in Prague after his Montreal Canadiens were eliminated from the Stanley Cup playoffs, centre Tomas Plekanec added an early spark to the Czech attack but was unable to put a puck past Smith. Czech icon Jaromir Jagr was neutralized by Canada’s strong team defence, one game after
his heroic performance against Finland in the quarter-final.
Saturday’s win moves Canada closer to becoming the first team to earn the World Championship's new Infront Team Jackpot. If Canada finishes the tournament undefeated in regulation time, the team will earn an extra bonus prize of 1 million Swiss francs on top of the regular prize money.
Canada will now face Russia for the gold medal on Sunday at 1:45pm CT.Editor's Note:
Jets goaltender Ondrej Pavelec was absolutely sensational, turning aside 39 of 41 shots in a losing cause. Pavelec was named Player of the Game and one of the Czechs' Top 3 players of the tournament, along with Jaromir Jagr (Florida Panthers) and Jake Voracek (Philadelphia Flyers). Pavelec continues to impress at the Worlds, posting a 1.83 goals-against average and a .921
-- The Canadian PressRUSSIA 4 - USA 0
Third-period goals from Sergei Mozyakin, Alexander Ovechkin (Washington Capitals), Vadim Shipachyov and Evgeni Malkin (Pittsburgh Penguins), along with 35 saves from Sergei Bobrovsky (Columbus Blue Jackets) propelled the Russians to a 4-0 win over Team USA Saturday in
Mozyakin broke a 0-0 tie with 12:44 left in the third period to open the floodgates. Malkin capped a dominant performance with an empty-netter at 18:35.
Russia will look to defend its world title in the gold-medal match tomorrow vs. Canada.
Jets prospect Connor Hellebuyck had another strong night between the pipes, turning aside 26 of 29 shots in his first loss of the tournament. The 21-year-old falls to 6-1-0, along with a 1.56 goals-against average and a .936 save percentage in seven appearances.
Jets prospect Connor Hellebuyck had another strong night between the pipes, turning aside 26 of 29 shots in his first loss of the tournament. The 21-year-old falls to 6-1-0, along with a 1.56 goals-against average and a .936 save percentage in seven appearances. As a result, he was
named one of the Top 3 players of the tournament for Team USA.
Hellebuyck’s US squad will face Ondrej Pavelec and the Czechs tomorrow for the bronze medal.READ: Full story, courtesy IIHF.com
-- Ryan Dittrick, WinnipegJets.com