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Avalanche Prospects at the 2020 World Juniors Day 9: Bowen Byram returns as Canada wins gold

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Danila Zhuravlyov will settle for silver.

PHOTO: ANDREA CARDIN / HHOF-IIHF IMAGES

The 2020 World Juniors ended with absolute chaos in the gold medal game, but the Colorado Avalanche came away with two of their four prospects winning medals. Bowen Byram won gold with Canada over Danila Zhuravlyov and Russia, who took silver. Finland, which had Avs prospects Sampo Ranta and Justus Annunen, finished fourth.

Bowen Byram

LD — Canada

Byram returned for the gold medal game (honestly, there was no way he was missing this one) after being ill the day before, and he didn’t miss a beat:

Byram played 22:12 and recorded one shot on goal, and played almost half of the entire third period.

He looked solid on the powerplay and as excellent on the penalty kill, which was necessary because Canada took four powerplays in the first period and the game easily could’ve gotten away with them early. Also, Byram was out in the final minute and dying seconds as Russia tried to tie the game

There is a chance that Byram won’t be made available to Team Canada next year, if he’s with the Avs, so it’s really great that he was able to win gold this time around. He’ll return to Vancouver and attempt to help them right their season as they push for a WHL championship.

Sampo Ranta

LW — Finland

Once again, Ranta had a really great game, in a match where Finland continued to shoot themselves in the foot and play poorly. Ranta played 16:55 and recorded two shots on goal. Ranta was dominant on the penalty kill, was involved in the rare occurrences where Finland found themselves in the offensive zone, and was named Finland’s player of the game.

Ranta will return to Minnesota in the coming days as the NCAA’s winter season kicks off.

Justus Annunen

G — Finland

Things started a lot better for Annunen in the bronze medal game, but it pretty much went downhill as the game progressed. He finished with an .885 save percentage and stopped 23 of 26 shots.

The first two goals he allowed weren’t too bad, but then there was this brutal bounce on the eventual game-winning goal:

Annunen basically had the worst 48 hour performance of his career (but honestly, he didn’t get much help from his teammates). It still shouldn’t take away anything from what he did at the start of the tournament, especially in the quarterfinals against USA.

Danila Zhuravlyov

LD — Russia

Zhuravlyov and Russia won silver, but they blew a 3-1 lead in the third period, and that will sting. Zhuravlyov played well on the third pair, although he did take a penalty, finishing with 16:56 played in the game.

There was even a rare Z sighting on the powerplay (Russia had four of them in the first)!

Zhuravlyov played well on the penalty kill as well. Although Canada scored two powerplay goals, Zhuravlyov wasn’t on the ice for either of them. He played physically and was dependable in his own end.

There wasn’t much he could have done on the eventual golden goal, as his defense partner got walked and Zhuravlyov was too far away to stop Akil Thomas:

Zhuravlyov return to his still top-ranked KHL team to finish out his first season of professional hockey.

Thanks for following along with these recaps! I’m hoping to get the prospect reports started back up soon.