Belarus and Slovakia both opened strong Wednesday, but late charges by the Czech Republic and Finland led to comeback victories for both teams. Sweden also clinched first place in Group A with a convincing 5-0 win over Denmark.
A look at the fifth day of the 2016 World Junior Championship.
Czech Republic 5, Belarus 3
Through two periods, Belarus had the upset in their sights. Twice in the second frame the Belarusians had a one goal lead, but the equalized the contest in the third period before Radek Vesely wired home the game-winning goal less than five minutes into the third.
Sweden 5, Denmark 0
This was a no-doubter. Thirteen seconds into the game, Adrian Kempe gave the Swedes a 1-0 lead on an absolutely perfect wrist shot. The final shot total in the game was 48-9 for Sweden, including a 23-4 margin in the second period.
Finland 8, Slovakia 3
Call it an homage to Teemu Selanne, who had his No. 8 retired by the Finns ahead of their game against Slovakia. After falling behind 2-0, Finland took over and scored five straight to pull away. Slovakia’s Patrik Maier scored to make it 5-3, but Finland added three more before the game was through to take the easy victory.
USA 10, Switzerland 1
Switzerland was coming off of a stellar outing against Canada, but their game against USA was forgettable. The floodgates opened in the first period after a Christian Dvorak goal and the Americans romped the Swiss 10-1.
Sunday’s Three Stars
1. Jesse Puljujarvi, Finland
Puljujarvi continues to show why he’s considered a top-five pick in the upcoming draft. He factored in on half of Finalnd’s tallies with one goal and three assists.
2. Sebastian Aho, Finland
He started the scoring against the Slovaks and finished the game with two goals and one assist in a game Finland needed to win.
3. Auston Matthews, USA
The contest between the Americans and Swiss was an absolute mismatch, and Matthews led the way by putting up two goals and four points.
Thursday, December 31
Russia (3-0-0) vs. Slovakia (1-2-0), 7 a.m. ET
Denmark (1-2-0) vs. USA (2-1-0), 9 a.m. ET
Finland (2-1-0) vs. Czech Republic (2-0-1), 11 a.m. ET
Canada (2-1-0) vs. Sweden (3-0-0), 1 p.m. ET