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WJC Roundup: Goaltending a Focus on Day 2, Germany Pulls Off Upset

Germany's win against Czechia was a surprising one in a day that saw some of the top heavyweights take victories at the World Junior Championship.

Sweden Gets Outshot but Beats Slovakia

The Slovakians gave it everything they had, but Sweden's Jesper Wallstedt stood on his head in a 48-save shutout to win 3-0.

The shots were 6-0 at one point for Slovakia, but Sweden managed to score on its first shot of the game at 6:25. Playing on the man advantage, Theodor Niederbach got the puck in the slot and beat Simon Latkoczy for the 1-0 goal. 

The lead would stand until 26:50 when Albert Sjoberg caught a Slovak defenseman trying to pinch at the blueline and blew past him for a 1-on-1 with Latkoczy. Sjoberg made no mistake, scoring a deflating goal against a Slovak team that left the ice with a 30-19 shot advantage after two periods of action.

Wallstedt was the story of the game, especially after killing two potentially lethal penalties late in the third. Sweden was down a man for more than five minutes of game action, but Wallstedt looked sharp in the game-winning effort. Daniel Ljungman scored the back-breaking empty-netter with just over a minute to go to finish the effort, one that Sweden definitely was outplayed in.

Both teams will have Tuesday off before returning on Wednesday. Slovakia will seek its first win in a meeting with Russia, while Sweden will look to potentially secure Group B against the United States. 

Germany Surprises Czechia

In the first real upset of the tournament, Germany took the 2-1 victory in a low-scoring affair over a roughed-up Czechia squad.

Alexander Blank had both goals for the Germans, including a tough-angle shot that beat Jan Bednar over the shoulder in overtime for the win. Jan Mysak had the lone goal for the Czechs, coming in the second period.

Goaltending, however, was the story of the game. Florian Bugl made 39 saves for the win, with Bednar kicking away 30 himself for a good showing at the other end.

With the two points for the OT win, Germany has positioned itself in a good spot to take third in Group B if they can beat Austria and the Czechs -- currently without a point after two games -- fails to win both of its final round-robin games. Both teams will have a day off on Tuesday, with the Czechs opening Edmonton's game action on Wednesday against Finland before Germany matches off with Canada.

Switzerland No Match for Russia

After a poor outing against Sweden on Sunday, Russia is in the win column thanks to a 4-2 victory over Slovakia.

The first period started as well as you'd hope for the Russians. At 7:21, Danila Yurov scored after Nikita Chibrikov's shot went off the boards and bounced in the slot, with Yurov making no mistake in beating Kevin Pasche. Eight minutes later, Dmitri Zlodeyev got his own rebound off of a tight angle shot, a shot Pasche never saw.

With Russia's influence all over the first, Pavel Tyutnev tallied the third goal at 17:39, only to have Attilio Biasca score with 1:04 left in the frame to get the Swiss on the board for the first time in the tournament.

scored on a solid wrist shot for his third goal of the tournament in just two outings. Switzerland answered back at 58:45 with a Fabian Ritzmann marker, but at that point, the damage was already done and the game was out of reach.

The Russians will get a day off on Tuesday before meeting up with Slovakia on Wednesday afternoon. Switzerland won't have much of an off-period with a 2:30 PM MT start against a rested USA team on Tuesday.

Finland Cruises to Big Win Over Austria

It went just as you'd expect in a game with these two teams, with Finland taking a 7-1 win over Austria to take first place in Group A.

Forward Ville Koivunen led the way for the Finns with two goals and an assist en route to winning top player honors. Brad Lambert took sole control of first place in tournament scoring with three points, giving him five in two games. Karri Aho, Samuel Helenius and Joel Maatta all had two points each.

Austrian goaltender Sebastian Wraneschitz made 41 saves on 48 shots in the loss. A year ago, Wraneschitz faced at least 60 shots in all three of his starts for Austria, who will avoid relegation after the IIHF announced it will move to 11 teams next year. Juha Jatkola stopped eight of the nine shots sent his way.

Austria will be forced back into action quickly with a meeting with Canada on Tuesday. Finland will get its first break of the tournament before meeting up with Czechia on Wednesday.


News & Notes

- Czech defenseman David Jiricek -- one of the top defensive prospects for 2022 -- will miss the rest of the tournament with a leg injury suffered against Canada on Sunday. 

- Czechia defender Michal Hradek was suspended one game for a cross-check on Kent Johnson 28:20 into the game. He'll be eligible to return for the Czech game against Finland on Wednesday.

- Xavier Bourgault did not practice for Canada after taking a high hit in that same game. 

- Canada's Justin Sourdif could also face a suspension for a late hit on a Czechia defender on Sunday, skating as the extra forward in practice.

- Arno Nussbaumer left Switzerland's game after blocking a shot off his left knee in the second period and did not return.

- Leo Loof's head contact hit could result in further discipline after receiving a game misconduct midway through the third period.


Three Stars

1. Jesper Wallstedt, G (SWE): Wallstedt had to be perfect to beat a determined and talented Slovakian team and he did just that.

2. Ville Koivunen, F (FIN): With two goals and an assist, Koviunen was all over the ice on Monday and is fully deserving of the top honor here.

3. Alexander Blank, F (GER): Two big goals gave Germany a win that gives them a realistic shot at third place in Group A.


Dec. 28 Schedule

USA vs. Switzerland - 4:30 PM ET
Canada vs. Austria - 7:00 PM ET


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