The semi-finals of the World Cup in Riga are the United States – Canada and the defending champions Finland – Germany. Canada eliminated Russia 2-1 after extra time.
Russia can no longer win the World Cup against Canada. The world champion received the record for the fourth consecutive defeat to North America in Riga with 1: 2 after overtime. Andrew Mangyapan scored the winning goal for the Canadians in the 63rd minute after a great job from Troy Stecher.
The Russian favorites clearly dominated the starting stage, but then it was an even match, confirming the 25:24 shooting ratio in favor of Eastern Europe. The Russians took the lead via Yevgeny Timkin (35), and Adam Henrique was responsible for equalizing the Canadians in the 46th minute in the power game.
So the Russians have to wait for their first World Cup title since 2014. Three years ago they failed in the quarter-finals in extra time for Canada (4-5). In 2015 they lost in the final (1:6), in 2017 in the semi-finals (2:4). The last World Cup victory over North America was 2-1 in the quarter-finals ten years ago. The Canadians, who started the tournament with three defeats, have now reached the semi-finals for the sixth time in a row and can continue to dream of the 27th World Cup title, which would equal them with the Russians.
The United States is on its way to victory early
The quarter-final between the United States and Slovakia was not at all tragic. The Americans led 3-0 in the first division and won 6-1.
Since the loss to Finland (1:2) in the beginning, the Americans have celebrated seven straight victories. In their eight matches, they conceded only nine goals.
Colin Blackwell and Conor Garland scored two goals each against the Slovaks. Petr Celerik, the most successful scorer in this tournament (with five goals and six assists), cut short in the second division for Slovaks, who have to leave the World Cup for the ninth time in a row without a medal.
On the other hand, the United States is only two victories away from its first world title since 1933. Since the turn of the millennium, the Americans have won four bronze medals (2004, 2013, 2015, 2018). Justin Abdelkader, who recently became a Swiss champion with EV Zug, also wants this medal. Abdelkader will not appear in Riga afterwards due to a lower body injury. But he remained in seclusion in Latvia and swore his team to the task with a poignant pre-match speech.
Finns stay on the right track
Two years after winning the title in Slovakia with three narrow wins and only two NHL promotions, Finland is well on its way to successfully defending its title. The Finns won in Riga just as they did in Bratislava in 2019. They beat the Czech Republic 1-0 in the quarter-finals.
Jerry Inala scored the only goal of the match after 33 minutes with a show of strength. In addition, goalkeepers Simon Hrubek (23 saves) and Josie Olkinwara (28 saves) dominated the match. Olkinoara was part of a trio of Finnish goalkeepers in Slovakia two years ago, but then played only one preliminary game in which he managed to close. In Riga, Olkinoara managed the first close against the Czechs.
The Finns meet Germany in the semi-finals on Saturday. It is noticeable that only teams from Group A have reached the semi-finals. The teams of the Swiss group from the World Cup finished fifth (Russia), sixth (Switzerland), seventh (Czech Republic) and eighth (Slovakia).