U.S. beats Russia 2-1 in WJC semi, will face Finland for gold
The United States advanced to the gold medal game of the International Ice Hockey Federation World Junior Championship as Cayden Primeau made 35 saves in a 2-1 win over Russia on Friday in Vancouver, British Columbia.
Team USA will play Finland for the gold medal on Saturday at 8 p.m. Finland defeated Switzerland 6-1 in the other semifinal. Russia will play Switzerland on Saturday in the bronze medal game.
Primeau was named U.S. Player of the Game.
"He's a pretty quiet guy, but he's a stone-cold killer!" American defenseman Phil Kemp said on the IIHF website. "He's seeing beach balls out there, and we're grateful to have him in the cage."
Oliver Wahlstrom and Alexander Chmelevski scored for the United States. Chmelevski’s goal – which came on the power play, 4:20 into the second period and made it 2-0 – was set up by Jack Hughes. His pass from the right circle, through traffic, was tipped in by Chmelevski, who was in front of the net.
"I kind of found a way to feather it through to Sasha (Chmelevski), and then he put it in the back of the net," Hughes said.
The United States will medal for the fourth consecutive WJC, after winning the bronze medal last year, the gold in 2017 and the bronze medal in 2016.
"It's huge for USA Hockey, but USA Hockey, we demand gold," Kemp said. "We want gold. We're here for gold. We're going to rest up, get back to the hotel, put our feet up, and get ready to go for tomorrow."
Grigori Denisenko scored for Russia with 6:24 left in the second period.
It appeared that Russia had taken a 1-0 lead 7:47 into the game. But it was ruled that Nikita Shaskov kicked the puck into the net, and the goal was overturned.
Wahlstrom gave the U.S. a 1-0 lead with 5:31 left in the first period.