WJC roundup: Levi, Canada shut out Russia, advance to championship game

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Monday is the 11th day of the 2021 IIHF World Junior Championship, which is being held at Rogers Place in Edmonton.

 

Semifinals results

Canada 5, Russia 0: Devon Levi (Florida Panthers) made 28 saves for his tournament-leading third shutout, and Canada advanced to the championship game with the win.

Canada will play the United States or Finland on Tuesday (9:30 p.m. ET; NHLN, TSN) in its 18th championship game since the current tournament format was adopted in 1996. It has won the title 10 times in that span.

Dylan Cozens (Buffalo Sabres) scored a goal and had two assists, and Alex Newhook (Colorado Avalanche), Connor McMichael (Washington Capitals), Cole Perfetti (Winnipeg Jets) and Braden Schneider (New York Rangers) scored for Canada.

Russia goalie Iaroslav Askarov (Nashville Predators) made 30 saves. Russia will play in the third-place game, also scheduled for Tuesday (5:30 p.m. ET; NHLN, TSN).

Levi, who has started every game in his first World Juniors tournament, has made 57 saves on 57 shots in two games in the playoff round (also 3-0 win against the Czech Republic on Jan. 2). He is tied with Justin Pogge for most shutouts for Canada at the WJC (Pogge went 6-0-0 for champion Canada in 2006).

“I’m not playing for a shutout record,” Levi said. “I’m playing for a gold medal, so it doesn’t really bother me. I’m looking for tomorrow. Maybe it’s something to look after the tournament, but the job’s not done yet.”

Video: Canada advances to Gold Medal Game

Newhook, who missed the quarterfinal victory against the Czech Republic because of an upper-body injury, gave Canada a 1-0 lead with a snap shot at the right post that beat Askarov on the short side and over his blocker 59 seconds into the first period.

McMichael made it 2-0 after taking a pass from Jakob Pelletier (Calgary Flames) and scoring on a shot from the slot at 10:33. Perfetti scored a power-play goal on a shot from the right face-off circle for a 3-0 lead at 15:05.

Schneider made it 4-0 on a shot from the top of the left circle at 4:09 of the second period. The play began when forward Dawson Mercer (New Jersey Devils) stole the puck from defenseman Shakir Makhamadullin (Devils) in Canada’s zone.

Mikhail Abramov (Toronto Maple Leafs) scored for Russia on the power play at 17:37, but the goal was challenged by Canada and overturned because Russia was offside prior to the zone entry 40 seconds earlier.

“That goal could have made a big difference in the game,” Russia coach Igor Larionov said. “We’re losing the game 4-0 and trying to find a way to score some goals, and the power play was going our way, we created some shots, had some rebounds and scoring the goal was some relief. But after the review, nothing you can do. That’s the rules and got to respect the rules.”

Askarov stopped Cozens on a penalty shot with 30 seconds remaining in the second period.

Cozens scored into an empty net with 1:29 left to make it 5-0.

“Really, everything that we’ve worked for is to get to this (championship game),” Newhook said. “This day has been marked on all of our calendars since being here, so to finally be here and see that the work we put in has paid off to this point. We’re excited to bring that mindset into tomorrow and play our game as best we can and go for gold.”  

Canada, which won 4-3 against Russia in the championship game of the 2020 WJC, has a 14-1-3-9 lead with one tie in the all-time series against Russia in 29 games.

 

On tap

All games on NHL Network in U.S., TSN and RDS in Canada

United States vs. Finland (9:30 p.m. ET) — The United States has won four straight games, including a 5-2 victory against Slovakia in the quarterfinal round Jan. 2. Finland defeated Sweden 3-2 in the quarterfinals for its first win against Sweden in five WJC games since the 2016 semifinals (2-1 in Helsinki, Finland, on Jan. 4, 2016). The United States is 5-2-0-3 against Finland in its past 10 games, but Finland has won the past two (1-0 in the quarterfinals in 2020; 3-2 in the championship game in 2019).

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