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World Juniors 2016 Semifinal: Finland vs. Sweden preview, schedule and game thread

Can the dominant Swedes obtain some revenge for their 2014 loss? Or will the host Finns continue to play the underdog role to perfection.

Claus Andersen/Getty Images

The first semifinal of the 2016 World Junior Championship will feature two classic hockey rivals; Finland and Sweden.

Finland won a hard-earned victory of Sweden in the 2014 WJC gold medal game that took place in Malmo, Sweden, and now Sweden will have to return the favour in Helsinki.

The host Finns only lost once in preliminary play, and are riding the momentum of an impressive 6-5 quarterfinal win over Canada, a game in which they displayed their superior goaltending, scoring, coaching, and discipline.

The big win over the defending champions earned them a berth into the semifinals, where they will face their historic rivals, Sweden.

The Swedes have had a dominant tournament, despite losing two of their most important players; Sebastian Aho, and William Nylander.

They lead the tournament in several categories, including total shots for, and penalty killing, and are second overall in goaltending. Linus Soderstrom has been great, sporting a sparkling 95.19 save percentage through five games, including two shutouts.

There aren't many weaknesses in their lineup, and they should probably be considered the favourites going into this match up. They easily disposed of Slovakia in the quarterfinals, cementing their spot as a gold medal favourite team in the process.

Even though Sweden possesses a fantastic team, it would be foolish to count Finland out of this game. They've thrived in the underdog role, mostly thanks to fantastic work by the Laine - Aho - Puljuuarvi line, who are 1-2-3 in tournament scoring.

It should be a hard fought battle, and most importantly, a very entertaining game.

Team Finland Statistic Team Sweden
29 Goals For 25
18 Goals Against 5
10/22 (45.45%) Power play 7/26 (26.92%)
12/19 (63.16%) Penalty Killing 18/19 (94.74%)
86.36% Save percentage 95.61%
1 Shutouts 3
173 Shots on goal 197
16.76% SH% 12.69%

Puck drop is at 9:00 AM EST / 6 AM PST / 4:00 PM Helsinki Time (GMT+2)

You can watch the game on TSN1, TSN3, TSN4, TSN5, RDS, or streaming on TSN GO. You can listen to the game on the TSN radio network. The NHL Network will carry the game in the United States.

Team Sweden Projected Lineup
Left Wing Center Right Wing
Adrian Kempe Alex Holmstrom (A) Oskar Lindblom
Alex Nylander Rasmus Asplund Dmytro Timashov
Joel Eriksson Ek Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson Carl Grundstrom
Anton Karlsson Christoffer Ehn Jens Looke
Left Defense Right Defense
William Lagesson Gustav Forsling
Andreas Englund (C) Adam Ollas Mattson
Jacob Larsson Gabriel Carlsson
Marcus Pettersson
Linus Soderstrom
Felix Sandstrom
Team Finland Projected Lineup
Left Wing Center Right Wing
Patrik Laine Sebastian Aho (A) Jesse Puljujarvi
Antti Kalapudas Roope Hintz (A) Mikko Rantanen (C)
Aleksi Saarela Julius Nattinen Kasperi Kapanen
Kasper Bjorkqvist Juho Lammikko Sebastian Repo
Left Defense Right Defense
Olli Juolevi Joni Tuulola
Niko Mikkola Sami Niku
Miska Siikonen Vili Saarjarvi
Veini Vehvilainen
Kaapo Kahkonen