Photo Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

Flames at 2018 World Juniors: Canada plays Sweden for gold

Thursday’s semi-final games started with USA falling to Sweden. Shortly after, Canada dismantled the Czech Republic, a country that hadn’t made the semi-finals since 2005.

The long awaited gold medal game boasts two Calgary Flames prospects going head to head; the tournament highlighted the brightest spots of Calgary’s recent draft selections.

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Sweden beat United States 4-2

(This writeup brought to you by Ari.)

Linus Lindstrom and the Swedes are on their way to the gold medal game, while Adam Fox and the Americans will have to settle for bronze contention.

Lindstrom had a mostly uneventful game. He played 11:15, only 11th amongst all Swedish forwards. He recorded a secondary assist on Sweden’s first goal, a powerplay tally by Elias Pettersson, and was buzzing around the front of the net when the puck went in (it was a clean shot, though, Lindstrom didn’t screen the goaltender). He recorded no shots on net.

Perhaps most eventful in Lindstrom’s game? He took a holding the stick penalty, and Sweden scored twice on the ensuing penalty kill. Those goals were the game winner and insurance marker, so that’s about as timely a penalty as anyone is going to take.

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Fox, meanwhille, played his typical exemplary game, even if there were more warts to be seen this time. He played 24:34, the most out of all American defenders, with only forward Joey Anderson playing more. The 10:44 he played in the third – while the Americans were most desperate to tie the game back up – was the most out of anyone on his team.

Fox recorded no points and had no official shots on net. He finished a -1, the lone man back on Sweden’s first shorthanded goal against, a two-on-one effort. In the play, Fox dropped to the ice and attempted to sweep the puck off of Oskar Steen’s stick, but he timed it right when Steen shot the puck, rendering his efforts useless.

After the game, Fox was named one of the Americans’ top three players of the tournament, alongside standout forwards Kieffer Bellows and Casey Mittelstadt.

Canada beat Czech Republic 7-2

Dillon Dube looked sharp to start the game, but was caught in the offensive zone and didn’t make it back in time before Filip Zadina got a laser of a shot off, giving Team Canada their first deficit of the tournament.

In Canada’s first powerplay of the game, Dube’s unit was tenacious on the puck, tying the game after the Czechs failed to clear the puck twice. Dube didn’t get a point but played a large role in maintaining the pressure that led to the goal.

In the second, Dube made his way onto the scoresheet after some nifty cycling behind the Czech net, earning a secondary assist on Jordan Kyrou’s goal.

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In the last minute of the period, Dube’s line had a monster shift in the offensive zone. Stripping the puck from a Czech defender, Dube weaved around several players to set up Sam Steel for a glorious chance. Steel tried to feed Dube backdoor but it was deflected away by a timely Czech skate.

The Czechs lost their legs after the second period and Canada won almost every puck battle in the final frame. Dube and Team Canada will look to continue their dominant play heading into the gold medal game.

Dube led Canadian forwards in ice time at 18:01, fired five shots on net, and added an assist to bring his scoring totals to two goals and four points.

Medal games

The tournament ends Friday, with bronze and gold medal games to be played:

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  • At 2 p.m. MT: United States (Fox) plays Czech Republic for bronze
  • At 6 p.m. MT: Sweden (Lindstrom) plays Canada (Dube) for gold

Two Flames prospects are guaranteed to medal this tournament, with potential for a third.

  • Grayone

    Looking forward to the Gold medal game. Canada was relentless after they tasted ‘blood’ against the Czechs … relentless is a good word for Dube. Great, great skater with seemingly an endless motor and determination. I certainly forward to seeing that sort of focus and energy with the Flames as soon as possible … hopefully sometime next season? Go Canada go!!