It’s go time, bitches.
Here we go. The 2019 IIHF World Junior Championship semifinals. USA vs Russia. One of the greatest rivalries the sport has to offer. Pretty much everything that needed to be said about this matchup was already mentioned in my semifinals preview blog from earlier today. If you didn’t get a chance to read that yet, you can check it out right here. But just as a reminder, the past 6 World Junior tournaments now have had USA and Russia faceoff in an elimination game (I know that the semifinal isn’t technically an elimination game considering the loser still plays for bronze tomorrow, but it’s elimination as far as “gold or bust” is concerned). Here’s how those past 5 games have gone.
- 2014 Quarterfinals: Russia 5 – USA 3 (Russia Bronze)
- 2015 Quarterfinals: Russia 3 – USA 2 (Russia Silver)
- 2016 Semifinals: Russia 2 – USA 1 (Russia Silver)
- 2017 Semifinals: USA 4 – Russia 3 (SO) (USA Gold)
- 2018 Quarterfinals: USA 4 – Russia 2 (USA Bronze)
Today will be the 6th straight year that either USA knocks Russia out of gold contention or the other way around. So this is another massive game in a massive rivalry. And when it comes to this game, there are 2 clear areas where I think Team USA has a significant advantage.
The first is the fact that this is the United States of America. We cower to nobody. It’s the land of the free because of the brave. We look evil in the eye and we beat the ever living shit out of it. Not because we want to (even thought we do), but because we have to. It’s just what we were born to do as Americans and it all comes down to heart and grit. The Russians? Well they’re a little different. They don’t mind bending the rules a little to try to make the world a more comfortable place for them. It’s why we’ve seen so many Russian doping scandals in athletics over the years. They want the greatness but they’re not willing to work for it. So they take shortcuts and they either blood dope or take steroids or do whatever it is that they do. But here’s the thing–steroid can’t replace heart. You can blood dope all you want but it’ll never make up for a lack of heart. The United States of America was built on heart, and the Soviet Union was destroyed due to a lack of it.
The second advantage for Team USA? Well it looks like they’ll be throwing on the 1960 throwback sweaters again.
Granted that’s an absolutely awful picture of the set up but we’ll give the USA Hockey social media manager some slack here. At least they got the sweater choice right. I said earlier today that the jersey combination for this game was going to come down to whether or not Team Russia is more confident in their red uniforms than they are scared of Team USA in the 1960 throwbacks. It appears they have made a major error in judgement on that one. So without further ado, it’s time to kick some fuckin’ ass and officially activate this live blog.
But before we get the live blog going, I know that there are going to be some of you trying to figure out how to watch this game from your office. What I’ll do here is I’m not going to give out a specific link to stream the game but I’ll send you all to r/hockeystreams on Reddit where there are going to be plenty of options for you to choose from. The reason why I’m not putting a specific link in here is because if too many people start to watch the same stream then there’s a good chance that TSN or NHL Network will get that stream taken down. And if you guys ruin the stream I’m watching of the game, I’m gonna be pretty heckin’ pissed. So if you are looking for a stream, look right here:
And now the LIVE BLOG is officially activated.
Follow along on Twitter @BarstoolJordie for up to minute highlights/updates. And then I’ll be updating the blog at the end of each period throughout the game.
End Of The 1st: USA 1, Russia 0
Well Russia put the first puck in the back of the net. Only issue is that Nikita Shashkov thought this was the World Cup instead of the World Juniors and decided to kick the puck in with his skate.
Contrary to popular belief, you can’t do that. So the goal gets wiped off the board and we still have a 0-0 game on our hands.
BOOM! Just like that, Team USA gets on the board after this beauty of a feed from Logan Cockerill over to Oliver Wahlstrom.
Makes it look like he’s thinking about a power move to the front of the net, or at the very least he makes it look like a shot is coming. That deception keeps the net wide open for Olly Wahlstrom to just tap it in from the slot for the 1st period lead. And they didn’t even need to kick the puck!
Team USA ended up taking a couple of really bad penalties at the end of the period so they’ll start the 2nd period on the penalty kill. But they still got out of the 1st with a lead. 20 minutes down, 40 to go.
End of the 2nd: USA 2, Russia 1
Well Team USA got a powerplay of their own in the first half of the 2nd period and that’s where it’s Jack Hughes doing what he does best–making shit happen out there. Hughes to Sasha Chmelevski and it’s in the back of the net.
That makes Vitali Kravtsov feel great shame.
What a beaut.
Holy shit. Speaking of beauts, pretty sure we just saw the nastiest snipe of the tournament. Grigori makes it a 2-1 game by murdering the shit out of this corner on an end-to-end rush.
Dear lord that was filthy. I mean obviously it sucks that Russia got on the board but a nasty goal is a nasty goal. Gotta respect it.
Russia had the ice tilted their way toward the end of the period there but luckily Logan Cockerill was there with a huge shot block to make sure USA held on to the 1-goal lead heading into the 3rd.
Unfortunately USA would take a penalty after that so they’ll start the 3rd period on the penalty kill. But they still have the lead. 40 down, 20 to go. Let’s get it, boys.
3rd Period Updates: USA 2, Russia 1
We were barely an inch away from having a tie game on our hands here but luckily Phil Kemp was there to keep that puck from crossing the goal line.
Between that chance right there and the first goal that got called off for Russia, Team USA is playing with fire here. 16 left on the clock.
Holy shit. It would have been almost impossible for any team to play a worse 2 minutes of the game while being down a goal than Russia just did. I mean they literally spent 100 seconds just fucking around in the neutral zone. They didn’t even seem like they were in THAT big of a rush with under 10 seconds to go.
It was such a bad final 2 minutes that I’m almost convinced Russia decided to throw that game.
And in the end, THE United States have ended yet another chance at gold for the Russians and will be heading to the gold medal game themselves. USA HOCKEY IS DO OR DIE
Freedom 2 – Communism 1. Sorry, Russians. You just hate to see it.
Final Score: USA 2, Russia 1
USA will now face the winner of Switzerland and Finland in the gold medal game. See you beautiful people then.