By Riccardo Stoppa
Yesterday, Thursday 17th of May 2012, four teams advanced to the world championship semifinals: Slovakia, Russia, Finland and Czech Republic.
Slovakia played against Canada, and won the game for 4-3, with Milan Bartovic’s game-winning-goal. The most part of the people belief Canada could win easily that game, but they were contradicted and Slovakia’s victory has become a surprise for everyone. Taking a look at the statistics you can clearly see Canada took more shots than Slovakia (36-28), and you can also see that Canada was two goals behind before catching up the Slovak and go ahead them, but unluckily they were unable to keep the advantage by their side.
Russia played against Norway in a very easy game for them, sure enough they won 5-2. At first, Russia was winning 2-1, but Norway was able to catch the Russian up in power play during the second period. Nevertheless Russia, in the third, period found the key to the win and scored three goals, enough to close the game and access to the semifinals. Russia’s win is understandable, if you see the number of shots that have been taken by the Russian: 45 shots, twice as the Norwegians. Norway’s biggest problem was that they gave up too many turnover, enough for the Russians to generate shots and score.
Finland’s match against USA was full of emotions and very entertaining, the Finns won it 3-2 scoring a goal when there were eight seconds remaining in the third. The game-winning-goal was scored by Jesse Joensuu, assisted by Petri Kontiola. Finland was able to go ahead USA in the second period, but in twenty seconds the Americans could catch immediately up, and in the third they could take over the Finns. Finnish didn’t give up and could tie the game and, with eight seconds remaining in the third, win it. Suomi’s strong point? The Finns’ top goaltender, Petri Vehanen; as Risto Pakarinen says, “He makes saves look easy. Almost too easy”.
The Czechs played against Sweden, and won the game 4-3. After a brief, Swedish advantage, Czech Republic scored three times, increasing his lead to two. Sweden was able to catch quickly up with two goals but with 29 seconds remaining in the third Milan Michalek scored the Czech’s game-winning-goal, permitting Czech Republic to access to the semifinal. It was a very balanced game, but the Czech’s could convert better than the Swedish.
Tomorrow games are Russia – Finland, at 14.30 (Helsinki time), and Czech Republic – Slovakia, at 18.30 (Helsinki time). Who wins, will advance to the gold medal finals, who loses, will play for the bronze medal, on Sunday.