How did Leafs prospects fare during Day 9 of the WJC?

Day 9 brought 2 fantastic matchups against 4 of the WJHC’s powerhouse teams, and it wasn’t surprising that these games produced some of the best hockey the tournament has seen so far.  The USA was victorious over Russia, and the decision was left to the 8th round of dreaded shootout; Troy Terry scored 3 consecutive goals for the Americans to lead his team to the win.

After giving up 2 quick goals in the first period, Canada made a goaltending switch that was followed by instant success.  Sweden eventually lost the game by a score of 5-2, as the semifinal matchup marked the end of Sweden’s undefeated streak through 5 games at the 2017 WJC.  

Jeremy Bracco came up big for the Americans today, tallying an assist and scoring a shootout goal in the 5th round that ultimately kept the USA alive in the game.  Carl Grundstrom scored early in the first for Sweden, but had a fairly quiet game after.  Both players will need to come up big tomorrow, as each of their respective teams will be trying to capture a medal.   

USA VS. RUSSIA

Here are the highlights from this crazy semifinal matchup:

Jeremy Bracco was absolutely fantastic for the USA today.  Coming up big in both regulation play and in the shootout, Bracco surpassed expectations and helped lead his team to a huge win against the Russians.  Here is Bracco’s assist on the USA’s tying goal (left side of the gif, passes it off to Greenway on the right):

And here’s Bracco’s goal in the 5th round of the shootout:

Though Bracco wasn’t one of the names mentioned amongst the USA’s top 3 players, he certainly deserves recognition for his play throughout the tournament.  He has flashes of brilliance at times, though he’s barely noticeable on the ice at others.  In all honesty, I don’t expect his play to be 100% consistent in every game. Bracco is an incredible talent, and I don’t doubt that he will be able to come up big for the USA yet again tomorrow.

CANADA VS. SWEDEN

Here are the highlights from Canada’s 5-2 win over Sweden:

Carl Grundstrom had Sweden’s second goal of the game – the goal that eventually forced a change in net by the Canadians.   Here’s a gif of Grundstrom’s goal:

Grundstrom finishes the play off a sweet pass from Alex Nylander, giving Sweden the 2-1 lead early in the game. Grundstrom took a useless penalty late in the first period, cross-checking a Canadian player after the whistle. That penalty brought Sweden off the powerplay, and 9 seconds later, Anthony Cirelli scored Canada’s second goal of the game.  

Grundstrom, as well as most of the Swedish team, were quiet after the first period.  Canada did a fantastic job shutting them down and putting on offensive pressure, and Sweden was unable to counter-attack.

DAY 10 PREVIEW

Tomorrow is the big day.  At 3:30 EST, Sweden will take on Russia in the bronze medal game in Montreal. Sweden has finished within the tournament’s top-4 every year since 2007, but don’t have a very good record in either the gold or bronze medal games.  Sweden has gone 2-8 in games where a medal was on the line, over the past 10 years.  In comparison, Russia has finished within the tournament’s top-4 9 times in the past 10 years, posting a 5-4 record in medal round games.  In bronze medal games specifically, they have gone 4-0, achieving 3rd place in 2014, 2013, 2009 and 2008.  

The USA will face off against Canada at 8:00 EST tomorrow night.  The USA was victorious over Canada in the preliminary round, beating the Canadians by a score of 3-1 on New Years Eve.  Canada has finished within the tournament’s top-4 on 7 occasions through 10 years, and have a 5-2 record in medal round games since 2007.  The USA has a very similar record to Canada, posting a 5-1 record through 6 medal round games since 2007.  

MORE WJC PROSPECT UPDATES

Day 1 Leafs Prospect Update 

Day 2 Leafs Prospect Update 

Day 3 Leafs Prospect Update

Day 4 Leafs Prospect Update

Day 5 Leafs Prospect Update

Day 6 Leafs Prospect Update

Day 7 Leafs Prospect Update

Day 8 Leafs Prospect Update