Edmonton, Alta. – Canada will play for gold at the 2021 IIHF World Junior Championship following a decisive 5-0 victory over Russia on Monday night.
The Canadians scored early and often to take control of Monday’s semifinal, refusing to relinquish control. London Knights forward Connor McMichael made it a 2-0 game midway through the first period before Saginaw Spirit forward Cole Perfetti made it a 3-0 game minutes later.
Brandon Wheat Kings defenceman Braden Schneider was the first WHL player to hit pay dirt, scoring his first goal of the tournament 4:09 into the second period, giving Canada a commanding 4-0 advantage. With Russian goaltender Yaroslav Askarov scrambling without his stick, Schneider sent a long wrist shot in on net from the blueline, beating the beleaguered Russian netminder.
From there, Canada went into lockdown mode, limiting Russia’s chances. The closest Russia came was in the second period, but the would-be 4-1 marker was washed out following a lengthy review for offside on the zone entry.
At the end of the night, Schneider – a prospect of the New York Rangers – finished with two points (1G-1A).
Lethbridge Hurricanes forward Dylan Cozens added an empty-net goal and two assists to his point total, surging back into the tournament scoring lead with 16 points (8G-8A).
Vancouver Giants defenceman Bowen Byram also chipped in with an assist.
At the final buzzer, Canada had outshot Russia by a 35-28 margin.
Canada will now await the winner of the other semifinal between the United States and Finland (7:30 p.m. MT). The gold medal game is scheduled for Tuesday, January 5 (7:30 p.m. MT).
World Juniors News & Notes: Byram and Cozens were named two of Canada’s top three players in the tournament following Monday’s win…