What a difference a day makes. After the crazy goal-scoring binge on Saturday, Sunday’s games at the 2021 World Juniors were a little more competitive. Canada survived a pesky Slovakian team while Russia was beaten by the Czech Republic for the second time in as many years.
The Russian loss helped out the U.S. as they move up in the standings despite not playing (thanks goal differential!). It looks like Group B is going to be fun this year with Russia, the U.S., Sweden, and the Czech Republic all in a position to win group play.
Finland 4, Switzerland 1
The Finns took care of business as they scored four unanswered goals after the Swiss opened the scoring in the first period. The win keeps Finland in the second spot in Group A behind Canada and ahead of Slovakia. They aren’t a super exciting team, but they are getting the job done and could be a tough out in the quarter finals.
Canada 3, Slovakia 1
Canada pulled out a win, which is the important thing, but it wasn’t quite the romp they had against Germany in their first game. They were shorthanded as Braden Schneider was suspended for his head shot in the game against Germany. Jordan Spence, who was scratched in the first game opened the scoring. Philip Tomasino doubled the lead for Canada in the third.
Martin Chromiak made things interesting as he scored the lone Slovakian goal with just under 90 seconds left in the match, but an empty netter by Jack Quinn quelled any hope for a comeback. Devon Levi stopped 17 of 18 shots for Canada while Samuel Hlavaj turned aside 20 of the 22 shots he faced.
Stop us if you've seen this before.@PredsNHL prospect @philtomasino26 gives us all a reason to breathe (and celebrate) with tonight's game-winning goal!#WorldJuniors | #GensNation pic.twitter.com/kbwekFaJl1— Oshawa Generals (@Oshawa_Generals) December 28, 2020
Czech Republic 2, Russia 0
In a bit of an upset, the Czech Republic shut out one of the favorites for the tournament. Lukas Parik stopped all 29 shots he faced for the win while Russian netminder Yaroslav Askarov stopped 27 of 29. Filip Koffer and Martin Lang provided the offense for the Czechs who smothered and frustrated the Russians all night long.
The Lightning’s Maxim Groshev was held off of the scoreboard (as were all the Russian skaters) but he had a strong game as the fourth line produced several strong chances. He had at least two high-danger chances, but couldn’t put the puck past Parik.
This fourth line is showing fantastic chemistry. Maxim Groshev gets another big chance. pic.twitter.com/lWUSbc7pkC— Dylan Griffing (@Dylan_Griffing) December 28, 2020
Austria (0-1, 0 points) vs. Sweden (1-0, 3 points)
Lightning Prospects? Yes, Hugo Alnefelt could be in net for Sweden
Sweden looks to extend their current record of victories in the preliminary rounds to 54 against Austria today. The Swedes haven’t lost in the prelims since 2006 when the U.S. beat them in overtime. That’s pretty impressive. Alnefelt might get the day off to rest up for the match against Russia on the 30th. If he sits Jesper Wallstedt will get the start in net.
Austria will look for a better showing than they had against the Americans on Satuday. Marco Rossi, a Minnesota Wild draft pick, will have a tough go against Sweden’s elite defense.
Slovakia (1-1, 3 points) vs. Germany (0-2, 0 points)
Lightning Prospects? No, because Maxim Cajkovic was sent home prior to the tournament for concussing his own teammate.
Slovakia will be looking to secure a spot in the top three of Group A with a win while Germany is hoping to have at least three players back in time for the game. That should allow them to field a full team for the first time in the tournament.