(WGR 550) – The semifinal round of the 2023 World Championship is set, and all five Buffalo Sabres players in the tournament will be playing for medals.
During the morning slate of games Thursday, Team USA beat Czechia, 3-0, while Germany pulled a huge upset, beating Switzerland, 3-1.
In the afternoon schedule of games, Canada got revenge for last year’s Gold Medal game loss with a 4-1 win over Finland. Then in another huge upset, Latvia knocked off Sweden, 3-1, and will play Canada in the other semifinal matchup.
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Jack Quinn was Canada’s best player not named Sam Montembeault (Montreal Canadiens) on Thursday, as he opened the scoring with a goal that may have surprised Finnish goalie Emil Larmi. Quinn came through the right circle with speed, and just as he got past the defenseman, he shot all in the same motion for his first goal of the tournament.
Quinn, who has a goal and four assists for five points in eight games, also had four shots on goal for the game.
The winger had a play where he spun and got a backhand off directly in front of Larmi. He got inside position off a faceoff and shot immediately, only to be foiled by Larmi again.
Peyton Krebs had a tremendous two-way game for Canada. His best offensive chance came when he beat the defense with speed, but Larmi made a great save.
Devon Levi was, once again, the backup to Montembault, who made numerous big saves on two first period penalty kills. He continued to frustrate Finland all game long, stopping 27-of-28 shots.
Montembeault has had a very good tournament so far, going 4-1-0 in five games with a 1.19 goals-against average and a .949 save percentage. Only Stanislav Skorvanek of Slovakia has had a better goals-against average in the tournament. Montembault is also third in save percentage.
The man who is second in save percentage at .950 is Team USA’s Casey DeSmith (Pittsburgh Penguins). DeSmith is 5-0 this tournament with a 1.19 goals-against average. He stopped all 15 shots he faced on Thursday.
Alex Tuch played 15:51 and didn’t have any points, but was around the net for the first two goals by Matt Coronato (Calgary Flames) and Nick Perbix (Tampa Bay Lightning).
JJ Peterka ripped home his fifth goal of the tournament for Germany, putting him fourth overall. His 10 points in eight games ranks him third overall.
The winger is emerging just like Dylan Cozens did last season for Canada when he had seven goals and six assists for 13 points in 10 games.
Mikko Rantanen had 55 goals for the Colorado Avalanche this past season. In eight games with Finland, he did not score a goal.
Both semifinal games will be on the NHL Network on Saturday morning. Both the Gold Medal and Bronze Medal games will be on Sunday.
There’s no more home ice advantage, as the rest of the tournament will take place in Finland.