Now it's game on with Canada 2 wins away from its 18th gold medal. Canada will play Finland in one semifinal at 1 p.m. ET while Sweden will fulfill Russia in the other at 9 a.m. ET. Oliver Okuliar replied for the overmatched Slovaks, who had been shut out in their last 3 video games against Canada at the world juniors."Right away he's making an impact," stated Cozens, who had 6 points in Canada's last 2 games. Canada scored its sixth one minute into the third on another man advantage when Hayton buried his 5th to end Hlavaj's afternoon. Canada sails previous Slovakia and into the world junior semis:

Canadian captain Barrett Hayton had two goals and a help, and Alexis Lafreniere included an objective and an assist in his return from injury as Canada beat Slovakia 6-1 to advance to the semifinals of the World Junior Championship. 1:54

Now it's video game on with Canada two wins away from its 18th gold medal. Canada will play Finland in one semifinal at 1 p.m. ET while Sweden will satisfy Russia in the other at 9 a.m. ET. Both video games are Saturday with the last on Sunday.

Protecting champs Finland upset the United States 1-0 in a rematch of in 2015's gold-medal game, while Sweden defeated the Czech Republic 5-0. Russia defeated Switzerland 3-1 in their quarter-final.

"He's undoubtedly not 100 percent," defenceman Jacob Bernard-Docker said of Lafreniere. "Still a bit hurt, he's still the finest gamer out there.

"It's actually nice to have him back."

Lafreniere fit up after missing Canada's last two games with the knee injury suffered in a humiliating 6-0 obstacle to Russia last Saturday, the national program's worst defeat in the under-20 competition's 44-year history.

But the 18-year-old from Saint-Eustache, Que., who has 70 points in 32 video games with the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League's Rimouski Oceanic, enjoyed practice less than 24 hours later on minus a knee brace or obvious limp.

"It was scary a little bit," Lafreniere stated. "But after I felt good."

'Looked like he was back to himself'

The reigning CHL Player of the Year participated in Canada's skate Wednesday prior to the official all-clear was revealed a few hours later on.

"He looked like he was back to himself again," said head coach Dale Hunter.

Asked about Lafreniere's physical side, the veteran of 19 hard-fought NHL seasons stated it's an underrated part of his video game.

"No one believes that he does that," Huter stated. "He ratings, he gets points. However he ends up checks, plays the proper way."

Barrett Hayton added 2 objectives and an assist for the Canadians versus Slovakia, Bernard-Docker, Connor McMichael and Liam Foudy also scored, and Joel Hofer made 17 saves for his third straight win in his third successive start. Dylan Cozens, Jamie Drysdale and Calen Addison each included 2 assists.

Oliver Okuliar responded for the overmatched Slovaks, who had actually been shut out in their last three games versus Canada at the world juniors. Samuel Hlavaj enabled 6 objectives on 30 shots before getting the hook early in the 3rd duration.

Foote provided video game misconduct

Lafreniere used up his normal area on Canada's leading line with Hayton and Nolan Foote just to see the latter examined a five-minute major and a game misbehavior for a check to the head/neck location on Slovakia's Kristian Kovacik just 53 seconds in at Ostravar Arena.

It appeared the Tampa Bay Lightning first-rounder's principal points of contact were the shoulder and upper back of Kovacik, who ultimately returned to the video game, as the Slovak stretched for the puck.

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