Wow, what an exciting day of hockey. Four quarterfinal games have been completed and three of the games were separated by a single goal including a pair of games that went past regulation. For the first time since 2002, all four teams heading to the semifinal round will be teams that started the tournament in the same preliminary round group as they were all from Group B.
Let’s do a quick game by game breakdown:
4B) Canada 2 vs 1A) Russia 1 (OT)
Yeah this is the one that all of us Flames fans wanted to talk about first. Despite being major underdogs against a strong Russian side bolstered by the arrival of Sergei Bobrovsky, Canada managed to earn an overtime victory. Darcy Kuemper was phenomenal in the Canadian net, making a number of highlight real saves and finished with 24 saves on 25 shots. Russia took the 1-0 lead in the 2nd period with Yevgeni Timkin cleaning up a loose puck in front of Kuemper. Canada tied the game midway through the third on the powerplay with Adam Henrique once again coming up clutch.
The game went to overtime, and that’s where this happened:
Canada, who barely squeaked into the playoffs, has beaten Russia in overtime to advance to the semifinal.— Steven Ellis (@StevenEllisTHN) June 3, 2021
Troy Stecher made a fantastic play to set up Andrew Mangiapane and that's it.
Canada will play USA in the semifinal.
What a goal. #IIHFworlds pic.twitter.com/N1hGoGMwjj
Flames forward and fan favourite Andrew Mangiapane started the play with an up-ice rush before dishing to Troy Stetcher. Stetcher then proceeded to make two of the nastiest moves I’ve seen all year before feathering the puck back to Mangiapane for the tap-in. What a goal. Canada advances!
3B) Germany 3 vs 2A) Switzerland 2 (SO)
This game was also crazy as two of hockey’s lesser powers went head to head and provided a highly entertaining game to those who watched. Switzerland jumped ahead in the first with Ramon Unterstander scoring. Fabrice Herzhog made it 2-0 early in the second period for the Swiss who were looking to make another run like they did in 2018 when they reached the tournament final.
It was not to be though as Tom Kuhnhackl got one back for Germany a few minutes later, and then in the final minute of the game, Leon Gawanke tied the game for Germany. Overtime solved nothing and set the stage for this ridiculous shootout winner from Marcel Noebels.
2B) United States 6 vs 3A) Slovakia 1
This was the only game of the quarterfinal that wasn’t close as the United States jumped out to a 3-0 in the final seven minutes of the first period thanks to goals from Brian Boyle, Colin Blackwell, and Conor Garland. Tournament scoring leader Peter Cehlarik got one back for Slovakia to start the second but Blackwell immediately scored his second of the game to extend the lead back to three goals.
Sasha Chmelevski and Conor Garland would score for the States in the third to get to the final score of 6-1.
1B) Finland 1 vs 4A) Czech Republic 0
This game was all about goaltending. Jussi Olkinuora of Finland and Simon Hrubec of Czech went head to head all night long with only a rebound goal from Jere Innala in the second period breaking the stalemate.
It was a 24 save shutout for Olkinuora and 27 of 28 for Hrubec.
As already mentioned, all teams that advanced today were from Group B which is a rare occurrence. Both semifinal games will go on Saturday and here’s a short look at each:
Semifinal 1: 4B) Canada vs 2B) United States - 5:15 AM MT
Yikes. That start time is going to suck on the weekend but I think I’m going to have to get up to watch after the excitement of today’s game. Canada lost to the US in the preliminary round by the score of 5-1. It was an extremely frustrating game and afterwards it felt like their tournament would be over, but here we are. The United States haven’t won gold at this tournament since 1960, but a win on Saturday would give them a great shot at breaking that drought.
Semifinal 2: 3B) Germany vs 1B) Finland - 9:15 AM MT
Finland is the reigning champion of the tournament from 2019 and will have a very good shot at making the final again with a matchup against Germany. However nothing is guaranteed as these teams played a very tight game in the round robin where Finland managed to escape with a 2-1 victory. Germany hasn’t won a medal at this tournament since 1953, so they could also break a very long drought with a win as well. They’ve also never won gold, you never know I guess.