RUSSIANS BLANK CZECHS, ADVANCE TO GOLD MEDAL GAME
JASON LA ROSE
SWIFT CURRENT, Sask. – Danila Iurov scored once and set up both goals by Fedor Svechkov, sending Russia back to the gold medal game at the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge with a 4-0 semifinal win over the Czech Republic on Friday night.
The Russians will defend their 2018 title on Saturday night (7 p.m. MT) against the winner of the Canada White-United States semi, looking to become the first team to go back-to-back since Ontario in 2008 and 2009.
Pavel Kanaev wasn’t busy in the Russian goal, but made the 21 saves he needed to make to post the shutout, the first in a semifinal since the U.S. blanked Ontario 3-0 at the 2001 tournament.
Iurov gave Russia all the offence it would need just shy of the eight-minute mark of the first period, taking a short feed from Vsevolod Gaidamak and snapping a quick shot to the far side on Czech netminder Tomas Suchanek.
Svechkov doubled the lead late in the second period off an Iurov set-up, and Prokhor Poltapov forced a turnover behind the Czech net before setting up Daniil Lazutin to make it 3-0 six minutes into the third.
Svechkov netted his second with just over a minute to go, going five-hole on Suchanek to cap the scoring.
Kanaev did most of his work in the second period when he faced 10 shots.
The Czechs, who couldn’t find the same offensive game that led them past Sweden in a quarter-final upset on Thursday, actually outshot the Russians, holding a 21-20 edge.
They will face the loser of the White-U.S. game for bronze on Saturday afternoon (3 p.m. MT).