Today was Semifinal Saturday at the 2021 IIHF World Championship in Latvia and both Winnipeg Jets prospects were in action representing their respective countries.
The first semifinal of the day featured, 2020 Winnipeg Jets first round pick, Cole Perfetti and Canada in a must watch matchup against the top-seeded, United States.
Then in the second game, Manitoba Moose defenseman, Leon Gawanke and Germany faced off against Finland.
One member of the Winnipeg Jets organization will be in the championship, while the other will be playing for bronze.
Here’s a summary of each of the semifinal games:
Canada vs. USA
Canada was coming into this game looking to avenge their 5-1 round-robin loss to the Americans and eliminate them from gold contention while the United States was looking to continue their run of dominance throughout this tournament in which they were on a seven-game winning streak.
Canada started the scoring just over two minutes into the game, but the United States found a way to level the scoreline before the first period ended.
Andrew Mangiapane was able to score for Canada in the second period and Canada took a 2-1 lead into the final frame.
14 seconds into the third period, Andrew Mangiapane scored his second of the game and doubled Canada’s lead, but the Americans would not go down without a fight.
With under seven minutes remaining, the United States was able to bring the deficit to one goal, but Canada’s defense and Darcy Kuemper played outstanding in the final minutes of the game to deny the Americans from tying the game.
Justin Danforth put the icing on the cake and scored an empty-net goal to seal the 4-2 victory for Canada and booked their spot in the championship.
Unfortunately for Winnipeg supporters, they did not get to watch Cole Perfetti play. Perfetti was in the lineup for Canada but did not get any ice time throughout their win over the United States.
Germany vs. Finland
This semifinal was also a rematch of a round-robin game. During that group play game, Finland picked up a 2-1 win over Germany and the same happened again today.
Finland started the game extremely strong scoring two goals in the first period and their strong start proved to be the difference.
Germany scored one goal in the second but was shut down by Finland the rest of the game and their Cinderella story came to an end as they lost 2-1 to Finland.
Germany did outshoot Finland by 11 shots, but as we have seen throughout the tournament, Finland is led by their defense and goaltending and they showed that again today.
Leon Gawanke did play well in the loss. He had 13 minutes and 35 seconds of ice time and was not on the ice for any goals.
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Canada will face off against Finland tomorrow for the championship at 12:15 p.m. central time. Before that game, the USA and Germany will play for Bronze at 7:15 a.m. central time. You can watch both of these games on TSN in Canada and the NHL Network in the U.S.
Winnipeg Jets Fans: Which Country do you predict is going to win the gold? Leave your comments below!
*All Stats Provided by the IIHF*