Finland 4 Denmark 1
Russia 5 Switzerland 2
Sweden 3 Czech 1
USA 2 Slovakia 3
December 29, 2017
Belarus vs Russia
Canada vs USA (outdoors)
December 30, 2017
Czech vs Belarus
Sweden vs Switzerland
Finland vs Slovakia
Denmark vs Canada
Kayumov rescues Russia
Kayumov took a nice pass from Klim Kostin and snapped a shot over the glove of Philip Wuthrich to beat a stubborn Swiss team that twice rallied to even the score. Two late goals sealed the Swiss fate, but it was a good game for both teams.
Nonetheless, after outshooting Switzerland by a 37-13 margin, the Russians were full measure for the win. They had lost to the Czechs 5-4 on opening day but played a determined game today.
The Swiss, winners in their debut yesterday, fell to 1-1 with the loss.
“We played more of a team game and made some adjustments,” Kayumov said. “The score was tied in the third period, I think, because of our own mistakes. We gave them good chances, and they scored. But we played better today than in the first game.”
“We played better defensively and created more offensively,” agreed forward Vitali Abramov. “They played a good game, and their goalie played really well today.”
Sweden holds off Czechs
Alexander Nylander had a goal and an assist for Sweden, and Marcus Davidsson and Elias Pettersson chipped in singles for Sweden, which cashed in twice on the power play. Rasmus Dahlin added two assists.
“I think we played well in the first and third periods,” said Pettersson. “The second period was the Czechs’ period. But overall, it was a great game.”
Swedish coach Tomas Monten continued to ride the phenomenal Dahlin, who logged a team-high 24:05. The 17-year-old Frolunda Gothenburg defenceman also led the team with 20:50 in the 6-1 win over Belarus.
“I play hockey because I love it,” said Dahlin. “I’m having fun out there. Why not have fun?”
Filip Zadina replied for the Czechs.
“The first period was bad,” said Zadina. “We received penalties and we didn’t compete. That’s the reason why we were down 2-0. We got up in the second period and we tried to play better. I think we did. It’s tough to play against this team. They are so good.”
Bucek masterpiece stuns U.S.
Bucek roared down the left side, went behind the American goal when Joseph Woll over-committed, and tried to tuck the puck in the back side. Woll made a great lunging save, but Bucek got the rebound and found the net.
Bucek also assisted on the other two Slovakian goals, both scored by Filip Krivosik.
The Americans got goals from Brady Tkachuk and Casey Mittelstadt.
“I drove in and faked a shot, and the defenceman dived in,” Bucek described. “I went wraparound and the goalie made the save, but then I saw the loose puck there, and I just put it in.”
One thing must be made clear. Yes, the Americans were heavy favourites coming into the game. Yes, their loss was stunning. But, the Slovaks deserve all the credit in the world for the win. They got timely scoring, played great defence, and got the better goaltending.
It was the first Slovak win over the U.S. at the World Juniors since the 2009 quarter-finals, a string of six losses in between.
“I remember that game,” Bucek recalled. “I was a kid watching with my parents, and you know, something was going through my head. I’m like, ‘I want to be here one day and want to accomplish the same as what the Slovakians did in 2002 [winning World Championship gold].’ We did it tonight. And it’s just something amazing. It’s a big moment for our country and our hockey.”