Canucks prospects Elias Pettersson and Jonathan Lekkerimäki’s Team Sweden fall to Czechia in World Juniors semi-final
Photo credit:Tre Kronor on Twitter
11 months ago
Well, Czechia and Sweden sure lived up to the World Juniors semi-final hype.
Wednesday afternoon’s semi-final matchup was the first of two games on the schedule to determine who plays for gold. The game remained scoreless after one period with the Czechs edging the Swedes in the shot department nine to six.
But during the second period, things started to go Sweden’s way. Defenceman Ludvig Jansson rocketed a one-timer from the blue line that went through Czechia forward Jaroslav Chemlar’s legs and past netminder Tomas Suchanek. Noah Ostlund and Canucks prospect Elias Pettersson picked up the assists on the play.
The third period was tense, and Sweden seemed poised to make their way to the finals. However, Columbus Blue Jackets prospect David Jiricek had other plans. After a late icing by Pettersson, Jiricek rifled a shot past Swedish goalie Carl Lindbom with just 38 seconds left in the game. Jiricek’s fifth goal of the tournament gave Czechia new life. It should be noted that goaltender Carl Lindbom was just 38 seconds away from obtaining his third shutout of the tournament. A stat line that puts him up with names like Canada’s Justin Pogge, Devon Levi, and USA’s Spencer Knight.
With the game-tying goal, the two sides headed off to overtime tied at one apiece. Suchanek made a brilliant save when Sweden’s Filip Bystedt came knocking at the door in the opening minutes. But it was Buffalo Sabres prospect and current Rochester American Jiri Kulich who snapped a shot from the right side and beat Lindholm 9:10 into overtime. Kulich’s fifth goal of the tournament helped Czechia reach the gold medal game for the first time since winning back-to-back golds in 2000 and 2001.
Forward Jonathan Lekkerimäki was listed as the 13th forward heading into today’s game. He played a handful of shifts, registering 4:24 of ice time and managed to get a nice two-touch pass to Isak Rosen in the third but couldn’t capitalize. However, Pettersson played a stronger game. He logged 19:32 of ice time; picked up an apple, had a blocked shot and even saved what could have been a wrap-around goal after a misplay by Lindbom. Pettersson now has three assists this tournament. Both players will play for bronze.
Meanwhile, Czechia will wait to see who they face as the host nation Canada and USA are set to take the ice in what will be another semi-final battle. Czechia will look to secure their first medal of any kind since the 2005 World Junior Championship.
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