Semifinal Thoughts

After a quarterfinal round that was highlighted by a fantastic tilt between Finland and Russia, we are set for a stupendous semifinal Saturday at the 2016 IIHF U 18 Men’s World Championship at the Ralph Englestad Arena. Finland Takes on USA in the matinee game, while Canada will battle a Sweden in the nightcap.

Here are our predictions for each game:

Finland-USA

First,one statement. Wow! Jesse Puljujarvi is utterly fantastic. He has the shot that reminds me of Alex Ovechkin and the hands of Nick Backstrom. Several times I saw him set up on the Finnish powerplay where Ovechkin would be. Also, Eeli Tolvanen will be drafted in the first round of the CHL Import Draft with his performance at this tournament. The fast Finnish forward had a hat trick Thursday and is a strong threat for the Finns this weekend. The Americans,on the other hand, have not faced a single test all tournament. This team has outscored all opponents 38-4 in total. Clayton Keller is angling to be a top 15 pick while Kiefer Bellows and Logan Brown may end up joining them there. I think Brown would be an excellent top ten pick and could even make the jump to the NHL next season. This will be a close game, and Finland will come out strong,but a late Clayton Keller tally will give the Americans the victory.

Prediction:4-3 USA

Sweden-Canada

Alex Nylander plays like his twitter handle,Snipeshow98. Nylander saved the Swedish side from the upset of the tournament vs. Latvia. Sweden has shown a strong powerplay this tournament and its goaltending lead by Filip Gustavsson has improved throughout the tournament. Canada has played a strong physical game all tournament long and Saturday looks to be no different.Tyson Jost has made everyone on his team look even better,and whatever team ends up drafting him is going to enjoy his style of play. The Canadian defense is backstopped by Evan Fitzpatrick who may be playing himself into the second if not the first round in this tournament. Canada’s physical play style and Jost’s superb setups will propel them to the gold medal match.

Prediction: Canada 3-1

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