World Juniors Day 4: Canada Cruises Past Czech, Sweden and USA Have OT Thriller, Finland Downs Slovakia

Jerred Bapty
BarnBurner Sports Writer

@CaptainBapty

Sunday, December 30, 2018


VANCOUVER/VICTORIA, BC – Canada improves to 3-0 at the tournament with a 5-1 win over the Czech Republic. 

The Czechs got into penalty trouble once again and took two 10-minute misconducts. The first was a boarding penalty by Martin Kaut in the 1stperiod and then a Checking from Behind penalty by Martin Necas in the 3rd. Canada’s Brett Leason scored what would ultimately be the game-winning goal on that first major penalty. 

Czech goalie Jiri Patera was replaced by Jakub Skarek in the 2ndintermission after allowing 4 goals on 20 shots. 

Morgan Frost upheld his tournament points lead with a 3rdperiod goal and an assist on Leason’s game-winner. 

Hamilton Bulldogs MacKenzie Entwistle scored his 3rdgoal in as many games and continues to excel at this tournament. 

Canada’s schedule only gets more difficult. They have Sunday off before their New Year’s Eve test against Russia, while the Czechs will play Denmark on New Year’s with both teams still in search of their first win. 

Switzerland Blanks Denmark

Denmark is becoming more and more at risk of facing relegation. With the Swiss holding them scoreless in a 4-0 loss, the Danes have been shut out in all three of their games this tournament and have been outscored 22-0. 

Swiss forward Philipp Kurashev scored a hattrick in the win, while Switzerland’s powerplay successfully killed off all four of their penalties in the 2ndand 3rdperiod. Kurashev is tied with Canada’s Maxime Comtois and USA’s Ryan Poehling for the tournament scoring lead. All three players have 5 goals. 

Kurashev can become the first Swiss player to score 6 in a World Juniors since Nino Neiderreiter did it in 2010. 

Luca Hollenstein got the 23 save shutout. 

The Danes take Sunday off to match up with the Czechs on New Year’s while the Swiss are up against Russia Sunday evening. 

Finland Outmuscles Slovakia

Five different goal scorers lifted the Finns to a 5-1 win over the Slovaks. Each team had a powerplay goal and an even number of penalties, but it was the Finns who capitalized on their chances. 

Finland outshot Slovakia 36-21, while Milos Roman scored the lone goal for the Slovaks. 

Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen stopped 20 of 21 shots for the Finns, while Nashville Predators prospect Eeli Tolvanen had two assists. 

Finland jumped to a 4-0 lead before the Slovaks finally scored later in the 2ndperiod. 

Sweden and USA Battle in Overtime Thriller

This was the game of the night, an incredibly exciting 5-4 OT win for the Swedes. 

Filip Westerlund opened the scoring for Sweden in the 1stand they continued to press, scoring two in the 2ndand another to start the 3rdto hold a 4-0 lead approaching the 10-minute mark of the period. 

The duo whose names are difficult to tell apart at a glance scored the 3rdand 4thSwedish goals, those being Emil Bemstrom and Erik Brannstrom. 

But Ryan Poehling was having none of it. 

He single-handedly willed the Americans back into this game, scoring four goals in 10 minutes, including two powerplay goals and two goals with the goalie pulled, to force the game to overtime. 

Poehling’s performance also catapulted him into the tournament scoring lead, but it wasn’t enough. 

Adam Boqvist finished off a beautiful give-and-go with Jacob Olofsson in 3-on-3 overtime to get the win for Sweden.

Sweden extends its Group Stage win streak to 47 straight wins, with 41 in regulation, 2 in overtime, and 4 in the shootout. They’ve led for approximately 70% of the time, while never trailing in 34 of those wins. 26 of them were by 3 or more goals and their last Group Stage loss came back on Dec. 31st, 2006 against the Americans. 

They came close Saturday night. 

Both teams have Sunday off and on New Year’s, Sweden will face Kazakhstan while the Americans take on Finland. 

Let me know what you think!!

Twitter: @Captainbapty

Email: jerred@barnburner.ca

Image: @IIHF