U.S. beats Finland 4-3 to reach world junior title game

Posted at 9:34 AM, Jan 05, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-05 09:34:48-05

EDMONTON, Alberta — EDMONTON, Alberta (AP) — Arthur Kaliyev scored with 1:16 remaining and the United States advanced to the championship game of the world juniors, beating Finland 4-3 Monday night.

Alex Turcotte, John Farinacci and Matthew Boldy also scored for the U.S., which won gold four previous times including their last one in 2017.

Spencer Knight, one of eight returning players for a U.S., team that finished sixth last year following a quarterfinal loss against Finland, stopped 33 shots.

Kasper Simontaival had two goals and Roni Hirvonen also scored for Finland. Kari Piiroinen made 21 saves.

The United States will face Canada, which beat Russia 5-0 earlier Monday, in the gold medal game on Tuesday. Finland faces Russia for the bronze.

Turcotte held off a Finnish defender to swipe home a bouncing puck from the top of the crease to open the scoring at 12:39 of the first period.

Finland responded quickly on a power play, with Simontaival finishing off a one-touch pass from Kasper Puutio on a set play at 14:06.

Knight stopped 18-of-19 shots through 40 minutes, and was rewarded by his teammates when the U.S. struck twice in a 1:07 span of the second period to take a 3-1 lead into the third.

Jackson LaCombe caught Finland making a change and sprung Farinacci on a breakaway with a slick pass up the middle from his own zone, with the American forward snapping the puck past Piiroinen at 15:53 of the second.

Then while on a man advantage, Boldy tipped in a perfect snap pass from Trevor Zegras at the side of the net with three minutes to go in the period.

Zegras’ assist gives him 16 points in six games and ties him with Jeremy Roenick (1989) for the second-highest single tournament point total in American history. Doug Weight set the record with 19 points in 1991.

Simontaival brought Finland back within one midway through the third, and Hirvonen tied it on a power play with 3:43 remaining.

Alex Newhook got Canada going just 59 seconds in against Russia, Connor McMichael, Cole Perfetti and Braden Schneider also scored, and Dylan Cozens added an empty netter for the defending champions. Devon Levi stopped 28 shots for his third shutout of the tournament.

Russian goalie Yaroslav Askarov struggled to hang on to his stick at times and finished with 30 saves.

Newhook returned after suffering an upper-body injury in Canada’s final preliminary-round game against Finland last Thursday night. The Colorado Avalanche prospect missed Saturday’s quarterfinal game against the Czech Republic but looked healthy on Monday when he scored his third goal of the tournament on his first shift of the game.

McMichael added to Canada’s lead midway through the first after a battle in front of the net resulted in Askarov misplacing his stick. Jakob Pelletier sent a crisp pass to McMichael, who popped it in behind the Russian goalie to put Canada up 2-0.

A power-play goalfrom Perfetti widened the margin 15:05 into the first.

Less than five minutes into the second, Askarov lost his stick once again and Canada capitalized. Schneider took a long shot from the top of the face-off circle and beat the Russian goalie glove side. It was his first goal of the tournament.

Russia got on the board with less than three minutes to go in the second period, but it was disallowed after a challenge for an offside zone entry.

Russia pushed hard in the third. Shakir Mukhamadullin came close to scoring midway through the frame, ringing a shot off the post.

Both teams went down to four men with just over four minutes left on the clock after Peyton Krebs and Zakhar Bardakov were called for roughing.

The Russians pulled Askarov with about three minutes to go, and Cozens buried the empty-net goal with 1:29 left on the clock.

The 19-year-old also had two assists in the game. With 16 points (eight goals, eight assists), Cozens leads the tournament in scoring.