WJC Quarterfinals Wrap Up

The World Junior Championship got into the medal rounds today with some expected results and some disappointing ones.

We’ll start with the most disappointing.

The US lost to Finland 1-0 on a power play goal by Joonas Oden. In a bit of irony, Oden was born in Washington state in the American Northwest before his family moved back to Finland when he was young. So he knocks out the US, and Finland moves on to the semifinals.

Now on to games involving Devils prospects. First, Russia-Switzerland.

The Russians won this one 3-1 to advance to the semis. Akira Schmid did not dress for the Swiss, with coach Thierry Paterlini electing to go with the tandem of Luca Hollenstein and Stephane Charlin again.

But while Schmid did not dress, Russian defenseman Danil Misyul did. He had three shots and an even plus/minus rating in 16:40 of total ice time.

Following a scoreless first period, the Swiss took a too many men on the ice bench minor 37 seconds into the second. The Russians capitalized on this one with Dmitri Voronkov scoring at 1:12 from Grigori Denisenko and Nikita Alexandrov.

Switzerland would respond with the equalizing goal at 7:08 off the stick of Gaetan Jobin (assist to Joel Salzgeber).

Alexander Khovanov scored what would go down as the game-winner at 14:07 from Denisenko. That broke the tie to make it 2-1 Russia.

From there, the Swiss got into some penalty trouble. Sandro Schmid took a hooking call at 15:34 and, just as that penalty was expiring at 17:36 (with the Swiss killing it), Matthew Verboon was called for a high-stick. This put Switzerland right back on the penalty kill and they could not overcome this one. Voronkov scored at 18:13 – from Alexander Khovanov and Yegor Zamula – to notch an insurance goal and make it 3-1.

The Swiss tried to tie things by pulling Hollenstein a few times late during the third period, but could not get the two to level it. The final was 3-1 as Russia moves on to the semifinals.

Hollenstein made 33 saves on 36 shots against while Russian goalie Yaroslav Askarov made 14 saves on just 15 Swiss shots.

Next up, Canada defeated Slovakia 6-1 to move on to the semis as well. Ty Smith had two shots on goal and was a plus-1 plus/minus in 16:40 of ice time. Kevin Bahl was a plus-2 in 14:42 of total ice. Alexis Lefreniere returned from injury for the Canadians and had a goal, an assist, four penalty minutes to go with four shots on goal and a plus-2 rating over 16:40 of ice time.

The Canadians began the game with Nolan Foote taking a check to the head five-minute major plus a game misconduct to go with it. It came 53 seconds into the game on the big forward’s first shift.

But that would not deter Canada. Barrett Hayton scored at 6:47 of the first (just after the five-minute major was up) to make it 1-0. Lafreniere and Dylan Cozens had the assists.

And the train kept a rolling when Connor McMichael scored 1:21 into the second (from Joe Veleno) to make it 2-0.

Two minutes and twenty-one seconds later, Jacob Bernard-Docker made it 3-0 when he scored from Jamie Drysdale and Cozens.

Liam Foudy made it 4-0 when he scored at 9:02 from Ty Dellandrea and Drysdale.

At the 9:44 mark of the second, Slovakia’s Maxim Cajkovic was called for a hook putting Canada on the power play. Lafreniere would score about a minute later at 10:50 from Calen Addison and Hayton to make it 5-0 on the power play.

The Canadian barrage ended on the power play when Slovakia’s Marek Minarik received two minutes for hooking with seven seconds to go in the second period. That would carry over to the third and Hayton converted exactly a minute in to the new frame when he made it 6-0 from Addison.

Following this goal, the Slovaks pulled goalie Samuel Hlavaj in favor of Samuel Vyletelka.

The new goalie would help the Slovaks a little as they got on the board, breaking the shutout when Oliver Okuliar beat Joel Hofer at 6:10 of the third to make it 6-1. Kristian Kovacik had the lone assist on the goal.

Things started to get a bit chippy from there on out. Slovakia’s Martin Vitalos was given two minutes for checking from behind plus a ten-minute misconduct at 12:17.

Then, at the 15:28 mark of the third, things got crazier as both Lafreniere (Canada) and Boris Cesanek (Slovakia) were each assessed double minors for roughing.

Things settled down and the game ended with Canada taking a 6-1 victory.

Hofer was barely tested, making 17 saves on just 18 Slovak shots against. The Slovakian goalies combined to make 38 saves on 44 Canadian shots.,

In the final quarterfinal game of the evening, the Swedes took on the host Czechs. Sweden prevailed 5-0 at the Ostravar Arena to advance to the semis.

Sweden’s Devils prospect Nikola Pasic had three shots on net in 16:28 of total ice time.

The Czechs, with Devils legend Patrik Elias behind the bench as an assistant coach, got into some penalty troubles early. Martin Has was called for holding at 8:23 and, before that could expire, at 9:53, Otakar Sik cleared the puck over the glass for a delay of game penalty. The Czechs killed those off, but at 11:55, Jan Sir took a slashing call and the Czechs were back on the penalty kill.

They could not escape this one as Nils Hoglander scored at 13:08 from Samuel Fagemo and Rasmus Sandin to make it 1-0 Sweden. And they never looked back.

At 15:09 of the first, Hugo Gustafsson scored shorthanded when Czech goalie Lukas Dostal coughed up the puck to him behind the Czech net. He put it into the empty net to make it 2-0 Sweden.

The only event of the second period was a Swedish goal off the stick of Hoglander to make it 3-0. Sandin and Fagemo had the assists on the goal that came just 45 seconds into the period.

The third period kicked off with Sweden being awarded a penalty shot 4:04 in. Victor Soderstrom took the shot (in IIHF rules, any player no matter if he was on the ice or not at the time the penalty shot was called, can take the penalty shot) and scored to make it 4-0.

Gustafsson rounded out the scoring when he scored on the power play at 10:44 into the third. Hoglander and Nils Lundkvist had the assists. The Czech Republic’s Has was called for tripping 13 seconds prior to the goal.

At the 14:59 mark, the Czech Republic’s Karel Klikorka received five minutes for slashing plus a game misconduct and that was that. The Swedes move on and the hosts were eliminated.

Hugo Alnefelt stopped all 23 shots he faced while Dostal stopped 32 of 37 Swedish shots.

So the semifinals will see Sweden taking on Russia and Canada versus Finland. That takes place on Saturday, January 4 and we will have coverage for you right here.

In other WJC-related news, Germany bested Kazakhstan 4-0 to take the first game of their best-of-three relegation series. They play game two on Saturday as well.

Final Day of Prelim Play at 2020 World Juniors

It was the last day to get things in order for the medal rounds of the 2020 World Junior Championship and teams were busy. Russia, Switzerland, Canada and Sweden (duh) all won today to help set up the tournament going forward.

We begin with the Swedes versus Slovakia. Sweden has now gone thirteen straight World Juniors without losing a game in the preliminary rounds. Sure, things might get dicey for them when the medal round comes along, but they are nothing but dominant in this part of the tournament. They won today, 6-2 to continue their unbelievable streak.

Nikola Pasic finished the game with two shots on goal and an even plus/minus in 15:15 of total ice time.

Sweden got on the board first ten seconds after Slovakia had killed off a too many men on the ice penalty when Alexander Holtz scored from Victor Soderstrom and Lucas Raymond.

Less than a minute later (13 seconds to be exact), Albin Eriksson scored from Karl Henriksson and Oskar Back to make it 2-0.

At the 12:10 mark of the first, Samuel Fagemo took an interference penalty to put Sweden down a man. But even being shorthanded, it’s hard to stop the Swedes. Philip Broberg scored from Linus Nassen 1:06 into the penalty kill for a shorthanded goal and a 3-0 lead.

Five minutes and eight seconds into the second, Back scored from Adam Ginning and Jonatan Berggren to make it 4-0.

Holtz scored his second of the game at 16:09 (assists to Soderstrom and Berggren) to make it 5-0.

In the third, just 4:30 in, Nils Hoglander was off for high-sticking and Kristian Kovacik finally got the Slovaks on the board to make it 5-1. Oliver Okuliar and Marko Stacha had the assists.

Robert Dzugan further cut into the Sweden lead at 18:03 when he scored from Martin Fasko-Rudas.

Just after the goal, Sweden’s Ginning and Slovakia’s Fasko-Rudas took matching roughing minors to put things at 4-on-4.

Just over a minute into the 4-on-4, Slovakia’s Maxim Cajkovic was called for hooking putting Sweden up on a 4-on-3 power play. They would score as Fagemo scored with 16 seconds remaining to make it 6-2. Hoglander and Nils Lundkvist had the asssits.

Swedish goalie Hugo Alnefelt made 16 saves on just 18 Slovak shots while Samuel Hlavaj was 36-for-42 in net for Slovakia.

The Swedes move on to the quarterfinals where they will take on the Czech Republic at the Ostravar Arena while Slovakia will face Canada in their quarterfinal matchup.

We now move from Group A to Group B as Russia and Germany met today with the Russians winning this one 6-1.

Danil MIsyul had a shot on goal and was a plus-2 plus/minus in 15:22 of ice time.

Russia scored just 6:10 in when Kirill Marchenko made it 1-0 from Nikita Alexandrov and Ivan Morozov. Marchenko notched his second at the 13:19 mark of the first to make it 2-0 getting assists from Vasili Podkolzin and Dmitri Voronkov.

Grigori Denisenko scored 14:19 into the second (from Alexander Khovanov) on the power play to make it 3-0. Immediately following the goal, Dennis Lobach was caught for slashing and Russia was right back on the power play. They converted on this one too, making it 4-0 when Pavel Dorofeyev scored from Marchenko and Alexander Romanov.

That goal came at 14:59, 40 seconds elapsed on the power play. At 17:06, Germany’s Daniel Wirt was called for a slash and the Russians were right back on the power play. Dorofeyev scored again, getting assists from Marchenko and Romanov again to make it 5-0.

Starting the third period, Germany swapped out goaltender Hendrik Hane for Tobias Ancicka. He would give up Russia’s sixth goal just 38 seconds into the frame. It came when Voronkov scored from Marchenko and Podkolzin. Marchenko had a hand in an amazing five of Russia’s six goals on the night.

With just about three minutes and 17 seconds to go in the game, Germany got on the board when Nino Kinder scored (Philipp Mass with the lone assist) to make it 6-1. They avoided the shutout, but it was too little, too late. Russia won with goalie Yaroslav Askarov making 22 saves on 23 German shots. For Germany, Hane and Ancicka combined to make 25 saves on 31 Russian shots.

Russia will now move on to play Switzerland in the quarters while Germany moves on to the relegation round against Kazakhstan.

Speaking of Switzerland, they took on Finland today and won 5-2. Akira Schmid did suit up, but was on the bench as Stephane Charlin’s backup.

Finland scored on the power play to begin the game, taking a 1-0 lead when Anttoni Honka scored from Ville Heinola and Kristian Tanus at 12:49. From there on out, it was all Switzerland.

Fabian Berri scored 19 seconds into the second with Sandro Schmid getting the lone assist. That tied the game at one.

At the 2:18 mark of the second, Gaetan Jobin scored from David Aebischer and Stephane Patry to give the Swiss their first lead of the day. And they would barely look back.

Joonas Oden scored for the Finns at 8:33 to make it 2-2 off of helpers from Lassi Thomson and Kim Nousiainen.

The Swiss took the lead again at 16:03 when Berri notched his second from Gian-Marco Wetter and Sandro Schmid to make it 3-2.

They scored their fourth at 10:03 of the third when Simon Knak (off assists from Tim Berni and Aebischer) found the back of the net.

At 18:01, Patry took a hooking penalty to put Finland on the power play. The Finns would pull goalie Justus Annunen for the 6-on-4 attack, but instead, Valentin Nussbaumer scored into the open net at 19:48 to ice the win for the Swiss at 5-2.

Annunen made 17 saves on 22 shots for Finland while Charlin stopped 36 of the Finns’ 38 shots on goal. An amazing night for him.

So now the Swiss, as mentioned, get the Russians in the quarters while Finland will face the USA. Both of those games will take place at the Werk Arena in Trinec.

The final game of the day that involved Devils prospects was Canada taking on the Czech Republic.

Canada ended up winning Group B with a big 7-2 victory over the Czechs.

Ty Smith had two assists for two points plus a shot on goal and a plus-2 plus/minus in 15:00 of total ice time. Kevin Bahl had two shots on goal and was a minus-1 in 14:31.

Canada scored early and often in this one. Just 4:41 in, Joe Veleno scored from Barrett Hayton and Calen Addison to make it 1-0.

At 7:59, the Czechs’ Matej Pekar was called for a high-stick, putting Canada on the power play. It took almost the full two minutes with Nolan Foote scoring at 9:57 from Bowen Byram and Smith for the Canadians to make it 2-0.

At 13:09, Czech Republic’s Otakar Sik got five minutes for slashing plus a game misconduct, putting Canada on the power play and having the Czechs lose him for the game. Canada scored twenty seconds later when Hayton got one from Dylan Cozens and Veleno.

They scored again at 14:30 when Connor McMichael scored from Cozens and Hayton to make it 4-0. After this goal, Czech Republic pulled starting goalie Lukas Parik in favor of Nick Malik.

The Czechs finally got one when Vojtech Strondala scored 11:10 into the second on the power play. Michal Teply and Simon Kubicek had the assists while Veleno was off for slashing.

Almost miraculously, the Czechs cut the Canadian lead in half when Libor Zabransky scored at 11:24 of the second, just 14 seconds after their first. Jan Mysak and Karel Klikorka had the assists. Unfortunately for Patrik Elias and the Czechs, that 14 second outburst was the best it got for them.

At 11:34, Canada got one back when Liam Foudy scored from Smith and Jared McIsaac. The Czech Republic took a delay of game penalty following the goal and Canada was back on the power play. They converted on this one at 12:30 when Cozens scored from Addison and Hayton. After that quick minute and a half or so of action, Canada was on top 6-2.

McIsaac got the Canadians’ last goal of the evening when he scored from Cozens and Veleno at the 10 minute mark of the third. And that was it. Joel Hofer made 17 saves on 19 Czech shots while Parik and Malik combined for 24 saves on 31 Canadian shots.

Canada, having won Group B will now take on Slovakia in the quartfinals while the Czechs will face off with Sweden in the next round.

We will have continuing coverage for you as the tournament progresses.