MOSCOW, May 4. /TASS/. The Russian men's national under-18 ice hockey team is set to face the national squad from Finland on Wednesday in the semifinals round of the 2021 IIHF (the International Ice Hockey Federation) Ice Hockey U18 World Championship.
On May 3, the Finnish national team defeated Switzerland 2-0 in the quarterfinals encounter of the championship and the Russian team enjoyed earlier that day 5-2 win over Belarus in their respective quarterfinals match.
The teams of Russia and Finland already played against each other at the current championship in the United States with the Finnish squad snatching 4-3 win in a penalty shootout on April 28.
In the other semifinals match on May 5, the national team of Canada will play against Sweden, which outplayed the event’s hosts, the United States, 5-2 late on Monday night.
The 2021 IIHF Ice Hockey U18 World Championship is being hosted by the US cities of Frisco and Plano, Texas, between April 26 and May 6. Given the preventive measures to fight the spread of COVID-19, all players and staff of the national teams live in so-called bubbles and the audience attendance during the matches is limited to 40-percent of stadium capacity.
Ten participating national ice hockey teams were divided into two groups, with the event’s host, the United States, playing in Group B alongside the teams from Russia, the Czech Republic, Finland and Germany. Group A included the national squads from Sweden, Switzerland, Canada, Latvia and Belarus.
The 2021 Ice Hockey U18 World Championship is the 23rd tournament event of its kind that has been organized annually since 1999 for players of top national teams under the age of 18. The 2020 championship, which was scheduled to be hosted by the US cities of Plymouth and Ann Arbor, Michigan, was cancelled due to the global spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Russian U18 ice hockey team is ranked third in terms of winning medals at the championships, having taken home three gold, five silver and three bronze medals. They follow the national teams of Finland (four gold, three silver and four bronze medals) and the United States. The US team tops the medals standings of the U18 ice hockey championships with 10 gold, four silver and three bronze medals.
At the 2019 IIHF Ice Hockey U18 World Championship, Russia took the silver losing to the event’s host, Sweden 3-4 in overtime of the final match in Ornskoldsvik.