On Wednesday, three Calgary Flames prospects (and a coach) will trek down Highway 2 in order to report in for training camp. On Tuesday, though, they’ll battle for World Junior gold when Canada takes on the United States.
On Monday, the semi-final games encapsulated how these two hockey powers made it this far.
Canada, led by a balanced offensive output powered themselves to a 5-0 victory over Russia. Bolstered by excellent goaltending from Florida Panthers prospect Devon Levi, Canada has (a) never trailed in the entire tournament and (b) never allowed an extra strength goal. Through six games, that’s damned impressive. (Canada’s goaltending coach, Jason Labarbera, joins the Flames later this week.)
2019 first round pick Jakob Pelletier had two assists and was plus-2 in 16:08, fourth among Canada’s forwards. He began the tournament on the checking line, but has worked his way up through superb play and some injuries to Canada’s other forwards.
2020 first round pick Connor Zary was reduced to 7:14, 13th (last) among Canada’s forwards with Alex Newhook’s return to the lineup, but he was noticeable even in a reduced role.
The United States made their win over Finland more dramatic than it probably should’ve been, holding on for a 4-3 victory after blowing leads of 1-0 and 3-1 before Arthur Kaliyev’s late goal sent them forward to the goal medal game.
2019 seventh round pick Dustin Wolf remained on the sidelines with a shutout to his credit, the understudy to Panthers prospect Spencer Knight in America’s net. For his part, Knight has been excellent after an early drubbing by the Russians.
The gold medal game between Canada and the United States takes place at 7:30 p.m. MT on TSN1.
The bronze medal game between Russia and Finland takes place at 3:30 p.m. MT on TSN1. 2020 second round pick Yan Kuznetsov can attempt to capture a bronze medal with Russia in a situation where every single Flames prospect (and coach) could leave Edmonton with a World Junior medal.
This content was originally published here.