Canada vs. Russia, 1/5/13 Kyle’s Free World Junior Hockey Pick
The bronze medal affair at the 2013 IIHF world junior hockey championship features two teams who many had pegged playing for gold but after both being upset in the semi-finals find themselves playing for bronze. Canada fell 5-1 at the hands of the Americans while Russia lost in overtime to the defending champions from Sweden.
After coasting through the round robin with huge victories of the United States and Russia and putting up very impressive numbers on offense the Canadians received a bye to the semi finals where they would play to a rematch with the Americans. Unfortunately for Canada the day off really hampered their play and the Americans came out flying and didn’t look back skating to a 5-1 thumping. The first three American goals couldn’t be handed to Canadian goalie Malcolm Subban as he was screened and couldn’t make any valiant attempt to make a save and then the Canadians were too deep into a hold that they couldn’t get out of. Now they head into a deflating bronze medal game against the host Russians who will be looking to avenge not only their semi final loss to the Swedes but to make up for their round robin loss to Canada. Jordan Binnington will get the nod in the Canadian crease who was remarkable in relief of Subban and if he plays well it’ll open up the floodgates surrounding whether or not he should have been playing the entire tournament. Offensively the Canadians have the advantage here but if they come out playing like they did against the United States it could be a disappointing end to the tournament for the pretournament favourite.
Russia meanwhile has to be reeling after their disappointing performance in the semi-finals but nonetheless they have a chance to validate their efforts with a bronze medal that would be so much sweeter with a win over their arch rivals. It has been a disappointing tournament for Russian superstar Nail Yakupov but things haven’t gone according to plan for Russia all tournament long despite making it to the medal round. A lackluster start against Slovakia that was forced into overtime and a loss to the Canadians has Russia in an unfavourable position and they’ll need to have their best game of the tournament in order to leave the tournament with a medal. This is a tough game to call as both teams are surely very disappointed and have a ton of pressure to win this to lock up a medal but I think there is more on Canada despite the game being played in Russia. While I think it could go either way and I won’t be touching this one I think Canada is the play here as they rebounded to take bronze last year and I think they do it again here.