15

Vasili Podkolzin advances to semi-finals and Arvid Costmar earns award after getting eliminated from World Junior Championships

Canucks fans didn’t have to wait to watch their two players compete in World Junior Championships action on Saturday.

Vasili Podkolzin and Russia led the day off with a win over the heart-warming German team in a tight game. With the 2-1 victory early Saturday morning, the team punched their ticket into semi-final action.

The Russians were put to the test by the German team that was led by Tim Stutzle and his prolific scoring line.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

Podkolzin was kept off the scoresheet but did play another strong game. Since the Austria game, Podkolzin has been one of the most dominant forces in this tournament and is drawing a ton of attention on each broadcast for his playmaking ability.

I spoke with TSN colour commentator Ray Ferraro on New Year’s Day about Podkolzin and he said that every year you see a handful of guys at this tournament that look to be NHL ready, and that Vasili Podkolzin is one of them.

Russia will be back in action on Monday when they play their semi-final game and look to set up an excellent gold medal game against what will likely be team Canada.

Things didn’t go as planned for the other Canucks prospect. Sweden was eliminated in a come-from-behind win for Finland in their quarterfinal game. The Finnish team trailed Sweden 2-1 in the third period but tied the game up when Anton Lundell ripped a shot past the Swedish goaltender on the power play and then would get a goal with 23 seconds remaining to secure the victory.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

Arvid Costmar was excellent for Sweden all tournament long and that was recognized when he was selected as one of Sweden’s top three players in the tournament.

Fans now have more of an idea of the type of player that Costmar is after their viewings of him in this best-on-best tournament. He is a gritty player who gets under the opposition’s skin and has some real rat qualities to him. Costmar also did an excellent job in the faceoff dot all tournament long and will take this confidence boost back to the SHL where he will finish up his season.

All eyes will be on Canada and Russia as the teams are projected to have one heck of a gold medal game later this week.

There could be an upset in the semi-final action but if there isn’t, Canucks fans will have to tune in to the gold medal game as their top prospect will captain Russia to take on the powerhouse Canadian team.