About the League
Two final games of the 2019 Sirius Junior Club World Cup will be played on August 31st. Austrian Red Bull will face Finnish Kärpät in the bronze medal game, while Loko Yaroslavl will go up against Team AJHL, who represent Canada.
Kärpät vs. Red Bull
Kärpät Oulu went up against Team AJHL and seemed favorites in the bout. However, Canada had other ideas. Having allowed a goal first, they sticked to their game plan, played tough and didn’t allow the opposition creating open ice plays. They also did their best to finish their every rush with a shot. As a result they scored five goals past Joel Blomqvist, having converted twice on a powerplay. Canada will play in the gold medal game for the first time since 2012. Nevertheless, Finland has a great chance to leave Sochi with medals, albeit of a lower rank they might have expected.
Red Bull made the medal round only due to Ocelari Trinec defeating Team NAHL. Austria enjoyed just one win in round robin but it was a blowout. Red Bull lost to USA 3-2 in a close game, while Kärpät soared past Salzburg 8-1. Now Teemu Levijoki’s men have a chance to get their revenge and win first medals for Red Bull at the tournament. Incidentally, Levijoki holds the record with four appearances at the tournament. He came to Junior Club World Cup three times as the head-coach of Red Bull and once as assistant coach of HIFK.
Loko vs. Team AJHL
Reigning Kharlamov Cup and Junior Club World Cup champions are still yet to lose a game at the tournament. Yaroslavl have won 15 consecutive games at the World Cup. Loko once again faced Red Bull in the semifinal round. A year ago Yaroslavl enjoyed a solid 8-2 win over Teemu Levijoki’s side. This time it wasn’t all that easy. ‘Railway men’ looked great in the opening period scoring three unanswered goals – Grigory Denisenko, Yelisey Minayev and Daniil Tesanov got a tally each. However, in the following 40 minutes Red Bull spent more time in Russia’s territory. Salzburg got a goal back but that’s as close as they could get. Loko will have to face Team AJHL once again in the final game. Yaroslavl defeated Canada 3-2 in the tournament opener.
AJHL Selects, coached by charismatic Boris Rybalka and Rick Swan, made it to the semifinal round as they finished second in Pool A and, as expected, faced reigning champions of Finland – Kärpät Oulu. Having allowed a goal in the opening period, Canada looked so good in the following two stanzas that they managed to render ‘Ermines’ leaders helpless. AJHL Selects simplified their game, played well defensively and scored five goals, converting on most of their scoring chances. Thus, for the first time in the history of Junior Club World Cup Canada will face Russia in the gold medal game. Sudbury Wolves of the Ontario Hockey League were the first Canadian team to make the final and they won gold in 2012. Today Team AJHL can win another gold medal for Canada.