All three Leafs prospects took part in semifinal action at the World Jr Championship. Here’s how it all went down.
William Nylander – Sweden
The Maple Leafs top draft choice of 2014 will play for Bronze after his team failed to generate the offence it saw for much of the tournament. Sweden scored just once, while Nylander won four of seven faceoffs and finished a -1 for the day.
“I’m very disappointed,” said Nylander. “Me — myself included — didn’t come out and play the way we did the past couple of games. It’s too bad.”
Sweden averaged 4.8 goals a game prior to Sunday’s semifinal.
Sweden goes for Bronze as they take on Slovakia.
Rinat Valiev – Russia
Valiev’s tournament has been excellent so far. Sunday was his best game yet, limiting the Swedes to just one goal, while registering an assist on Russia second assist in their 4-1 victory. The Russian defence has been a key cog to the physical game that Russia has established in the tournament.
“That’s an important thing to us,” said Valiev. “Trying to play physical and trying to play like one team, support each other.”
Russia takes on Canada in the gold medal game Sunday night.
Frederik Gauthier – Canada
The Leafs forward has provided solid fourth line depth all tournament and has been particularly good on the draw. He won seven out of 13 faceoffs and has finished above 50% for every game of the tournament.
Now comes the dream of a lifetime. Canada takes on Russia in the gold medal game, and his role will be put to the ultimate test. Winning those faceoffs will be important. As will be an effective shutdown two-way centre. Russia will bring a physical game and Gauthier is among the more physical players Canada has.
This will be fun.