Thursday meant a full slate of games at the 2017 World Junior Hockey Championships, including two marquee matchups featuring Sweden vs. Finland and the United States vs. Russia, bookended by Denmark vs. Czech Republic and Latvia vs. Canada.
With only one game of the group games remaining, it was an important day for seeding.
- The Danes continued their improbable tournament success, defeating the Czech Republic in overtime 3-2 on an absolute beauty of a goal by Mathias From (Blackhawks). It was an important point for the Czechs as well, as they moved to 1-0-2 through three games. Both Denmark and the Czech Republic now sit with 5 points through three games, good enough to clinch passage to the quarterfinal round.
OT-winner for Denmark over Czech Republic. Great goal, great celly pic.twitter.com/mDpwprmMIz— Pete Blackburn (@PeteBlackburn) December 29, 2016
- Another great showing by Team USA, defeating Russia 3-2 in Toronto. The calling-card of the United States during this tournament has been their balanced scoring, and last night was no exception. After goals from Clayton Keller (Coyotes), Colin White (Senators) and Troy Terry (Ducks), Team USA found themselves leading 3-1 with just half the game gone. Tournament points leader Kirill Kaprizov (Wild) scored to bring the Russians within one, but their comeback was thwarted with a strong defensive effort in the third period. Next up for the USA is Canada on Saturday with first place in Group B on the line. Russia will face Slovakia on New Year’s Eve as well, looking to move to .500 in the preliminary round.
- Finland’s tournament to forget continues, giving up two third period goals to Alex Nylander (Sabres) to lose to their rival Sweden 3-1. After winning gold a year ago, Finland moved to 0-3 in group games, scoring a total of just four goals in three games. In a circumstance that no one saw coming into the tournament, Finland will need to rely on Denmark to beat Switzerland today, then beat Switzerland themselves on Saturday to avoid the relegation round. Sweden, on the other hand, moved to 3-0, and has first place in their group wrapped up with only the Czechs left to play on New Year's Eve.
- Canada continued their strong play, dominating Latvia to the tune of 10-2 to join the United States with nine points through three games. Tampa Bay Lightning prospect Taylor Raddysh scored four goals, including a natural hat trick to tie Kaprizov as the tournament’s goals leader. Canada also got received goals from Mathew Barzal (Islanders), Nicolas Roy (Hurricanes), Anthony Cirelli (Lightning), Michael McLeod (Devils) and Julien Gauthier (Hurricanes) in the victory. The Latvians moved to 0-3, with only Slovakia left to play to gain their first win of the tournament.
Today at the WJHC:
- Switzerland vs. Denmark: 5:00 p.m. ET, Bell Centre
- Slovakia vs. Latvia: 7:30 p.m. ET, Air Canada Centre
All games are available on NHL Network in the United States.