BJORKSTRAND’S TWO GOALS LEAD DENMARK INTO WJAC FINAL
JASON LA ROSE
KINDERSLEY, Sask. – Oliver Bjorkstrand’s two goals led the offence as Denmark moved into the gold medal game at the 2014 World Junior A Challenge with a 5-1 semifinal win over Russia on Thursday afternoon.
The Danes, who are making their debut at the tournament this year, will face either Canada East or the United States in Saturday afternoon’s final (2:30 p.m. CT).
Matthias Asperup, Nick Olesen and Jeppe Holmberg had the other goals for Denmark, who beat the Russians for the second time in four days, having earned a 4-2 preliminary round victory on Monday.
Yegor Rykov answered with the lone Russian goal.
The Danes came out like they were shot out of a cannon, racking up six shots in the first three minutes and taking an early 1-0 lead when Asperup knocked in his own rebound after rifling a wrist shot off the crossbar.
The lead remained one until the early minutes of the second period, when Denmark struck twice to give itself a little bit of breathing room.
First it was Bjorkstrand at 3:07, converting a rebound off a Nikolaj Ehlers chance, followed 1:42 later by Olesen, who finished a pretty passing play with the 3-0 goal, giving the Danes all the offence they would need.
Russia got one back midway through the middle frame on a delayed penalty; Rykov pinched in from the point and one-timed a pass from Artyom Volkov, getting his shot up and over a sprawling George Sorensen.
The Russians looked primed to cut the lead to one on a late period power play, but Holmberg blocked a shot at his own blue-line and raced away on a two-on-one with Marcus Nielsen, wiring a wrist shot just under the crossbar over the short-side shoulder of Anton Krasotkin to restore the three-goal lead.
Denmark never allowed Russia to seriously threaten its lead in the third period, and Bjorkstrand capped the scoring on a feed from Ehlers in the final minute.
The loss means the Russians will play in Friday night’s bronze medal game (7:30 p.m. CT), against the loser of the Canada East-United States semifinal.