Russia go up against the USA in the first semi-final of the World Junior Ice Hockey Championships 2018-19 on Friday afternoon at the Rogers Arena in Vancouver.
Russia’s place in the in the last four was never in any serious doubt once they established a 4-0 lead in the opening 11 minutes of their quarter-final tie against Slovakia in Wednesday’s quarter-final at the Rogers Arena. They went on to secure a resounding 8-3 win.
The goals were shared around among the Russian skaters, with Grigori Denisenko; Stepan Starkov; Alexander Alexeyev; Nikita Shashkov; Klim Kostin (two goals); Kirill Slepets and Ilya Morozov all getting their names on the scoresheet.
In one of Wednesday’s earlier quarter-finals, the USA saw off the Czech Republic with a 3-1 win at the Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre in Victoria. The American goals came from Noah Cates, Josh Norris and Alexander Chmelevski.
It was an accomplished display from the USA, which featured the much-anticipated return of the presumptive No.1 overall choice in the 2019 NHL Draft, Jack Hughes (the younger brother of defenceman Quinn Hughes), who had been absent from the last three games of the group stage due to injury.
The Americans will be seeking their fifth title at the World Junior Ice Hockey Championships, after previous wins in 2004, 2010, 2013, and 2017. Russia have claimed four titles, in 1999, 2002, 2003 and 2011.
Russia and the USA also faced each other at the quarter-final stage of last year’s Championships, with the USA winning it 4-2 at the KeyBank Center in Buffalo.
This much anticipated game could clearly go either way, but the USA are the favourites and most tipsters predictions will probably expect them to justify the bookies faith in them.
There’s not likely to be much in this, but the USA are our tips on the Money Line betting odds to reach the final, where they would play either Finland or Switzerland for the gold medal.
Pick: Money Line – USA @ -137 (888sport)