World Junior Championship roundup: Finland, Switzerland, Sweden, Czechia win on Day 2
Finland rebounds for win against Slovakia
After a shocking loss to Switzerland on the opening day of play, Finland has bounced back to beat Slovakia 4-2 on Tuesday in Group B play.
The win puts Finland at 1-0-1-0 through two games and will have Wednesday off before facing off against Latvia on Thursday. The Slovaks will have a quick turnaround, facing the United States in the only game in Moncton on Wednesday.
After leading the shots 8-0 at one point, the Finns took a 1-0 lead. Sami Paivarinta opened it up with an in-close wrist shot, beating goaltender Patrik Andrisik over the glove. The lead would last until 19:49, when Dalibor Dvorsky’s shot was directed in by Peter Repcik for the 1-1 tie, which also gave them a 10-9 shot advantage after a slow start.
The Finns’ top guns showed up for a big second-period effort. Joakim Kemell opened the scoring at 23:34 and Oliver Kapanen converted on a pass from Kemell three minutes later to make it 3-1. At 33:56, Jani Nyman’s power-play goal made it 4-1, putting the game well out of reach for the Slovaks.
That didn’t stop them from trying, though, and Repcik’s second power-play goal made it 4-2. But just two minutes later, Winnipeg Jets prospect Brad Lambert sent a shot replacement goaltender Matej Marinov wished he had back to make it 5-2, ending the game there.
Switzerland wins in shootout over Latvia
Latvia has shaken up Group B action at the World Junior Championship with a point, but Switzerland still managed to hold on for the 3-2 victory in the shootout.
Switzerland earned the extra point, putting them in first place in Group B after two days. Latvia has a single point, with their contest against Slovakia later in the tournament proving to be extra important.
The Swiss were hoping to capitalize on their opening game momentum and they got it at 8:20. With the Latvians trying to find their footing in their own zone, Brian Zanetti found Louis Robin in front for the 1-0 goal.
The lead lasted for about five minutes, when Dans Locmelis beat the outstretched Kevin Pasche and fired it over his glove for the 1-1 goal. That helped spark some momentum in the Latvians, who kept pressuring Pesche, but couldn’t get the go-ahead goal until the second period.
With time running out in the middle stanza, Darels Dukurs gave Latvia its first lead of the tournament. With Martins Lavins causing havoc in front of the net, Gustavs Ozolins’ shot went off Pasche and landed on the stick of Darels Dukurs, who knocked in the rebound for the power-play goal.
The Swiss desperately needed a goal to tie it up, and they got their wish. At 58:04, Rodwin Dioncio’s blast from the point beat Patriks Berzins, who had a partial screen in front.
That forced the game into extra time, where they needed seven rounds to decide a winner. Dans Locmelis and Attilio Biasca both scored for their teams, but it was Switzerland’s Liekit Reichle who scored the game-winner to give his team the extra point.
Sweden just edges Germany in thriller
It wasn’t the 11-0 blowout they had yesterday, but Sweden will take the three points after beating Germany 1-0 on Tuesday.
Sweden improves to 2-0-0-0 before getting their first day off on Wednesday. They’ll resume play on Thursday against Czechia before closing out the round-robin against Canada on Dec. 31.
The story of the game was the incredible goaltending effort from Nikita Quapp, a sixth-round pick by Carolina. Quapp made 33 stops in the first two periods alone, and even came up big on a penalty shot attempt by Fabian Lysell.
But despite his incredible effort, the Swedes did score in the first. With 21.5 seconds left in the opening frame, Adam Engstrom’s shot hit some bodies in front of the net and beat Quapp just seconds after Sweden won the faceoff.
The German penalty kill was busy, going 4-for-4 and even killing off a 5-on-3. The momentum shifted late, and Germany had nearly all of the puck control in the final five minutes, pestering Carl Lindbom with every opportunity they could possibly get. But just like on Monday, the Vegas Golden Knights goalie prospect had a perfect outing, turning away all 29 shots sent his way for the shutout victory.
Czechia crushes Austria in shutout world junior victory
Czechia didn’t think too fondly of Austria on Tuesday, beating them 9-0 on Tuesday evening in Halifax.
The win keeps them and Sweden as the only undefeated teams in Group A after the Czechs beat Canada on Monday. Austria has been outscored 20-0 over two games after losing 11-0 to the Swedes.
Czechia’s dominance was apparent right off the bat, scoring 3:50 into the power play. After goaltender Tomas Suchanek got the puck to Stanislav Svozil, Jakub Brabenec eventually capitalized on the man advantage to make it 1-0. Jiri Kulich and Petr Hauser each scored to finish the period, making it 3-0 Czechia.
It only got uglier from there. Gabriel Szturc scored just over a minute into the middle stanza before Marcel Marcel potted one that was ultimately taken back. The Czechs quickly answered back, with defenseman Ales Cech sending a far shot from the blueline to make it 5-0 for real. Kulich and Gabriel Szturc each scored their second to close out the period, while Kulich completed the hat-trick eight seconds into the third on a breakaway.
David Spacek finished off the scoring with under five minutes to go to make it 9-0, leading to some heavy boos from the fans in Halifax.
Suchanek stopped all eight shots sent his way, while Austria’s Michael Sicher made 38 stops.
- Jiri Kulich, F (CZE, Buffalo): The Czechs didn’t need three goals from Kulich, but they got three from Kulich. Sure, it wasn’t the toughest competition, but he had a quick release and looked confident all night.
- Nikita Quapp, G (GER, Carolina): With 43 saves, Quapp did everything in his power to make sure the Germans could keep close.
- Stanislav Svozil, D (CZE, Columbus): Svozil now sits first in tournament scoring with six points – just like everyone expected.