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Avalanche Prospects at the 2020 World Juniors Day 8: Bowen Byram, Danila Zhuravlyov will battle for gold

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Sampo Ranta and Justus Annunen will play for bronze.

PHOTO: MATT ZAMBONIN / HHOF-IIHF IMAGES

Let’s just say that most of the Colorado Avalanche prospects at the World Juniors had a rough semi-final day.

Bowen Byram — ILL

LD — Canada

So, Byram took warmups with Canada and we were all under the assumption he was playing. The puck dropped in the first period and he was nowhere to be found. He wasn’t on the ice, and he wasn’t on the bench.

It turned out that Byram came down with an illness and felt he wasn’t well enough to play in this game (honestly, it was good timing, because Canada didn’t miss a beat without him).

Hopefully Byram will be feeling good enough to play for gold. Canadian coach Dale Hunter did say that he believed Byram would play for gold in a semi-final postgame interview.

Sampo Ranta

LW — Finland

Finland got off to an absolutely hellish start in this game, but I actually thought Ranta was one of their best (and only good) players. Ranta played 13:01 (he would’ve played more, but he sat out for ten minutes) and fired four shots on goal.

After Canada went up 3-0 (yikes, right?), Ranta was handed a 10-minute misconduct for shooting the puck well after the whistle had blown.

The thing was that Calen Addison (PIT) slapped him with his stick after he’d taken the shot, so hard that Ranta was bleeding profusely afterwards. Unfortunately, not only was Ranta given the lone penalty, but he had to go off the ice to get a blood-less jersey and stitched up, resulting in another forward having to take his place in the penalty box. That put Finland down to nine forwards for almost half of the first period.

After Ranta returned to the game (in the second period), he was flying. He had one dash into the Canadian end with the puck that was turned aside, and then this grade A chance later in the second:

And then Ranta got stopped again.

Justus Annunen

G — Finland

Uh, I don’t know where the Annunen who played against the United States was in this game, and it wasn’t good for the Finns:

It was 4-0 after the first period and somehow Annunen hadn’t been pulled (nor was he pulled in any of the other periods afterwards).

It took all of four minutes for Annunen to lose his hold on the tournament’s Top Goalie award:

Annunen was a lot better in the second and third periods. The problem was, he was basically the only Finn on the ice doing anything.

The 4-0 goal was probably the worst one he allowed, because he fumbled covering up the puck:

Annunen also had equipment issues that needed attending to:

Annunen was named one of Finland’s top three players of the tournament — deservedly so:

Honestly, I’m not sure why Finland didn’t pull Annunen after the first period and have him reset for the next game. He finished with an .872 save percentage and made 34 saves. The game was so far out of reach at that point that there was no reason to keep him in — unless they’re not planning on playing him today.

Regardless, Finland and Annunen will wish they had a better start to this game. They’ll play Sweden this morning for bronze.

Danila Zhuravlyov

LD — Russia

Zhuravlyov had a really good game. He played 16:49 on Russia’s third pair, but he was considerably more noticeable as Russia outlasted Sweden for a 5-4 overtime win.

He got time on the powerplay as Russia was awarded a five-minute man-advantage:

Zhuravlyov basically saved a goal:

And here’s a great shift from him, showing off his excellent skating ability and hands:

Zhuravlyov will play for a gold medal later today against Canada.

Today’s Games

(All times MT, teams with Avalanche prospects are bolded)

Bronze Medal Game:

7:00am — Sweden vs. Finland

Gold Medal Game:

11:00am — Canada vs. Russia