2013 IIHF World Junior Championships: Recapping Day 6 in Russia

Chris Blanchard@@BlanchardNHLContributor IIIDecember 31, 2012

Team USA beat Slovakia 9-3
Team USA beat Slovakia 9-3Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

The group stage has come and gone at the World Junior Championships in Russia, with the final preliminary games completed on Monday. Six teams will now advance to the knockout stages, while the less fortunate four will fight to avoid relegation. 

Let's take a look at Monday's games. 

Game One
Czech Republic 4, Switzerland (OT)

The Czech Republic punched its ticket to the knockout round with an overtime victory over Switzerland, and by pushing the game to overtime, Switzerland picked up the vital point they needed to earn a quarterfinal bid. 

The Czech Republic beat Latvia on Sunday to put them in position to survive. Meanwhile, the Swiss lost in overtime to Finland creating a three-way tie for second in Group A between the Czechs, Finns and Swiss. Only two of the three teams could advance, making this matchup appear to be a must-win for both sides. 

Matej Beran gave the Czech Republic the early edge with a goal three minutes and 46 seconds into the game. Switzerland drew even by way of Christian Marti ten minutes later. 

The intermission proved to favor the Czechs as they stuck twice early in the second, with goals from Michal Svihalek and Tomas Hyka. Down by two heading into the third, Switzerland's World Junior run seemed to be over. 

However, the Swiss proved that they would not give up so easily. With less than ten minutes remaining in regulation, Christoph Bertschy brought his team within one. Six minutes later Dario Simion played the hero for Switzerland, as he forced overtime with his second goal of the tournament. 

San Jose Sharks first-rounder Tomas Hertl won it for the Czech Republic less than two minutes into overtime, securing a quarterfinal spot for his team. Despite the loss, the Swiss were ecstatic with the result as the one point earned from the overtime loss was enough to propel them past Finland in Group A. 

As the only true surprise team in the knockout round, Switzerland will face Russia on Wednesday to play for a semifinal date with defending champion Sweden. 

The Czech Republic will take on the USA in their quarterfinal, with Canada awaiting the winner. 

Game Two
USA 9, Slovakia 3

Tied for third in Group B, the USA and Slovakia met with a quarterfinal place on the line. In the first de facto knockout game of the tournament, Team USA rebounded from consecutive losses to blow out Slovakia and advance to the medal round. 

After losing to both Russia and Canada by a 2-1 margin, the Americans hoped to find their offensive stride. They did just that, striking the twine nine times, with a number of slumping stars netting their first goals of the tournament. 

Slovakia beat Germany in overtime on Sunday and sought to follow up with their second win of the tournament. After losing to the U.S., Slovakia finds itself joining Germany in the relegation round. 

Gritty American center Cole Bardreau put the U.S. ahead with a beautiful breakaway goal four minutes into the first period. Slovakia kept pace early on, with Matus Matis knotting the game at one just 14 seconds later. 

American captain Jake McCabe made sure that the Slovakians didn't hang around long, as he returned the lead to the U.S. after just 51 seconds off of a beautiful Jim Vesey pass. 

Boston College scoring star John Gaudreau finally broke his duck, scoring his long-awaited first goal of the tournament to put Team USA up 3-1. He finished the contest with two goals and an assist. 

Gaudreau's first goal chased Czech goalie Adam Nagy to the bench. He was replaced by backup Patrik Romancik who didn't fare much better. 

American defensemen Mike Rielly and Jacob Trouba both beat Romancik to complete a five goal period for the USA. Trouba's goal was his fourth of the tournament, with one scored in each of Team USA's group games. 

Despite a goal from Slovakia's Richard Mraz, the game was essentially over entering the first intermission with the score 5-2 in favor of the U.S.

Vince Trocheck was the star of the second period with three points, including his first two goals of the tournament. 

The Americans relaxed in the third allowing Matis to score his second, but they still expended the energy necessary for Alex Galchenyuk to post his second goal of the tournament. Galchenyuk's seven points trail only Ryan Nugent-Hopkins' 11 for the tournament lead. 

The scorching-hot Americans will face the Czech Republic on Wednesday as favorites to meet Canada in the semifinals. 

Slovakia will play Latvia in a relegation round game the following day. 

Game Three
Sweden 7, Finland 4

Having already clinched survival as the top team in Group A, Sweden knocked out fierce rival Finland, who needed at least a point to survive. 

Entering the game at 3-0, Sweden had a three point edge in Group A over Finland, the Czech Republic and Switzerland, who were all tied with five points.

Finland likely needed just one point to advance, so any result other than a regulation loss would have kept the pre-tournament medal favorites in the hunt. 

Midway through the first period, defeat and a trip to the relegation round seemed certain for Finland as the Swedes took a three goal lead. Alexander Wennberg, Robert Hagg and Victor Rask each scored to seemingly guarantee Sweden the three points. 

However, Finland made a tremendous comeback scoring three unanswered goals to tie the game. Joel Armia led the Finnish charge with two scores. 

Late in the second, Sweden surged once again to reclaim the lead with Viktor Arvidsson and captain Filip Forsberg scoring 44 seconds apart.

Ville Jarvelainen brought Finland within one in the third period but Sweden's Emil Molin and Viktor Arvidsson both scored late goals to seal Finland's fate.

After beating the USA and Canada in pre-tournament warm-up games, Finland will be devastated with its early exit from the tournament. The Finns will play Germany in their first relegation round game on Wednesday. 

The Swedes will await a semifinal matchup with the winner of Wednesday's game between Russia and Switzerland. 

Game Four
Canada 3, Russia 1

The final game of the six-day group stage pitted gold medal favorites Canada and Russia against each other for the top spot in Group B. 

The two undefeated teams had already clinched survival but fought for the coveted quarterfinal bye awarded to the group winner. 

A furious first period saw both sides fire off a number of chances with Canada's Malcolm Subban and Russia's Andrei Makarov playing very well in net. 

The first score finally came on the power play 14 minutes into the contest when Canadian defenseman Dougie Hamilton launched a rocket from the point past Makarov for his first goal of the tournament. 

Less than two minutes later, Mark Scheifele notched his fourth tally of the competition, sneaking a backhand shot just inside the post to give Canada a two goal lead. 

Russia answered back before the intermission with sniper Nikita Kucherov putting the puck into the top corner of Subban's net. 

Canada outshot the Russians 48 to 22 but Makarov was incredible in goal. He conceded only once in the second period to probable 2013 first-rounder Jonathan Drouin. Before the game, Canadian coach Steve Spott promoted Drouin to Canada's top-line, to play with Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Mark Scheifele, and Drouin certainly justified the decision. 

He was one of Canada's most dangerous threats throughout the day, giving Canada a 3-1 lead with his second goal of the tournament. 

For the second straight game, Boston Bruins first-rounder Malcolm Subban was nearly unbeatable in the Canadian goal, stopping 21 of the 22 shots he faced. His dominance eliminated any chance of a Russian comeback. 

With just seconds remaining Jonathan Huberdeau flipped the puck down the ice and into an empty net to seal the 4-1 victory for Canada, making them the top team in Group B with a perfect 12 points. 

The Canadians will now await the winner of Wednesday's USA vs Czech Republic clash. 

Russia will face Switzerland in the hopes of setting up a rematch of the 2012 gold medal game against Sweden in the semifinals. 

Three Stars

1. John Gaudreau - USA

After a frustrating goal drought in his first three games of the tournament, John Gaudreau broke out in a big way. He scored two goals and assisted on another to lead Team USA to a much-needed 9-3 victory over Slovakia. The Boston College star was expected to be among the USA's top scorers in the tournament and he'll need to stay hot in the knockout stage to help his team earn a medal. 

2. Viktor Arvidsson - Sweden

Viktor Arvidsson was spectacular as helped eliminate Finland from medal contention. He scored to give Sweden the lead after Finland tied the game at three in the second period. He then assisted Filip Forsberg on the game-winning goal. An empty-netter gave Arvidsson two goals on the day. He is now tied for the tournament goal-scoring lead with four. 

3. Malcolm Subban - Canada

Subban was stellar in goal as he led Canada past Russia with 21 saves. He was perfect in the second and third periods to secure a quarterfinal bye for the undefeated Canadian team. 


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