Only two games were on the docket yesterday at the 2017 World Junior Hockey Championships, and both lacked almost any drama save for Slovakia taking out their frustrations after their second straight shellacking. However, that undersells a very intriguing couple of upcoming days, headlined by Sweden having the opportunity to effectively put the defending champions on the brink of elimination.
- Sweden moved to 2-0 and punched their ticket to the medal round with a surprisingly difficult 4-2 win over Switzerland at the Bell Centre. Two late goals broke a deadlock that had Switzerland threatening to throw the Group A standings into total chaos. Swiss goalie Joran van Pottelberghe (Red Wings) was busy again, following up a 36-save win Tuesday with 42 saves in a losing effort yesterday. Joel Eriksson Ek (Wild) scored twice for Sweden, who face Finland tomorrow. A Sweden win essentially guarantees them the top seed out of group A, and would leave Finland needing help from elsewhere simply to make it to the medal round.
- Yet again, the United States spread the wealth, with five players scoring in Team USA’s 5-2 win over Slovakia at the Air Canada Centre. Unlike the surprises in Group A, Group B is going to form so far, with undefeated Canada and the USA on a collision course for a showdown Saturday night. Slovakia’s Filip Lestan earned a misconduct for a check to the head after the Slovaks went down 5-1 in the third, scoring a consolation goal in the dying seconds. Tage Thompson (Blues) scored the third goal for the Americans, and it was a beauty:
Today at the WJHC:
- Czech Republic vs. Denmark: 1:00 p.m. ET, Bell Centre
- United States vs. Russia: 3:30 p.m. ET, Air Canada Centre
- Sweden vs. Finland: 5:30 p.m. ET, Bell Centre
- Canada vs. Latvia: 8:00 p.m. ET, Air Canada Centre
All games are available on NHL Network in the United States. The Sweden/Finland game will he joined in progress at the conclusion of the United States/Russia game.