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World Championship Roundup: Playoff Scenarios Set Ahead of Final Day of Round Robin

The penultimate day of the round-robin saw more chaos as Sweden will miss the quarter-finals for the first time ever. Meanwhile, Canada, Kazakhstan, Latvia and Germany will wait to find out which of the two teams will advance to the playoff round.
IIHF men's world championship

USA Chasing Top Spot With One Day to Go

USA will look to win Group B on Tuesday following a 2-0 shutout victory over Germany on Monday.

The win was highlighted by a 33-save performance by Cal Petersen for his second shutout of the tournament. The Los Angeles Kings goaltender was forced to make a couple of important saves late in the game on a German attack that needed to win today to have its hopes of a quarter-final spot remain in the team's hands.

Jason Robertson's second-period goal, scoring with just 1:04 left on the clock on a rebound. Colin Blackwell scored the dagger with just 27 seconds left in the game on an empty-netter just seconds after a German player rung a shot off the post.

With the loss, Germany remains in a three-way tie for fourth with Canada and Latvia. Germany will need Canada to lose to Finland on Tuesday afternoon and will have to win against Latvia to advance.

Sweden Eliminated from Playoff Spot

The objective was simple: win the game and you'll still have a shot. That's what Sweden had to deal with against Russia, but despite a lead late in the game, Sweden was unable to win in a 3-2 shootout loss and have been eliminated from the tournament.

Russia, Switzerland, Slovakia and the Czech Republic will be the four teams from Group A moving on, with the final placements to be decided on Tuesday. The loss means Sweden will finish outside the top eight for the first time since 1937, the third time Sweden took part in the World Championship.

Jesper Froden had the lone goal of the first period on the power play at 8:06. Froden scored after Adrian Kempe's pass to Oscar Lindberg was stopped, but Froden was buzzing around the crease and was able to knock it in.

For the next 45 minutes, it looked like Froden's goal would be enough, but that changed quite quickly 52 minutes in. Anton Slepyshev scored to make it 1-1 at 52:34 when he made a deke around a Swedish defender and sent a shot behind Reideborn. Then, 12 seconds later, Vladimir Tarasenko was stopped on a partial breakaway chance but Alexander Barabanov was there to knock in the rebound to make it 2-1. Sweden began getting desperate, but at 55:17, it paid off. With Sweden's tournament hanging in the balance, Victor Olofsson answered back and tied the game, forcing the bout into overtime.

The extra frame solved nothing, and with everything on the line for men in yellow, the game required a shootout. There, Tarasenko scored the game-winning goal to lift Russia to the victory, eliminating Sweden from contention with one day to go in the round-robin. 

Kazakhstan's Hopes of a Playoff Berth No Longer in its Hands

If Kazakhstan is going to move on to the quarter-final for the first time in tournament history, it'll need a bit of luck along the way after losing 3-1 to Norway on Monday evening.

Despite the loss, Kazakhstan still holds third in Group B, but the future of them at this tournament is no longer in the team's control. For Kazakhstan to advance, Kazakhstan needs Finland to beat Canada in regulation, which in turn would knock Canada out of the tournament.

Kazakhstan's Dmitri Shevchenko gave his team hope with the lone goal of the first period. At 16:00, his shot beat Henrik Haukeland, who was otherwise perfect with a 26-save effort in the Norweigan net. The lead would hold until 27:57 on the power play when Thomas Valkvae Olsen scored after knocking in Mathias Trettenes' pass near the slot to make it 1-1. The game was tight for the remainder of the period, but Stean Espeland scored just a minute into the final stanza to make it 2-1. 

Kazakhstan had some chances to beat Haukeland but Haukeland was playing some of the best hockey of the tournament to keep his team in the lead. Mathis Olimb would add a goal with a minute left to make it 3-1, but, more importantly, to become the all-time points leader for Norway at the World Championship after surpassing Patrick Thoresen with Olimb's 67th career point – assisted by his brother, Ken Andre, too. The goal would seal the deal for Norway, which finished its tournament off with its second regulation win of the tournament and third victory overall.

Denmark's Tournament Ends in Bizzare Fashion

It took longer than the team likely hoped for, the Czech Republic has sent Denmark home early with a 2-1 shootout victory.

The Danes knew they needed to win to make the quarter-finals, so a first-period goal by Nicklas Jensen definitely helped. The Danish star had clear room on the power play to skate in and send a shot past Simon Hrubec, giving the Danes the 1-0 lead.

But Dominik Kubalik would tie the game up in the third period. While standing all alone to the left of Danish netminder Sebastian Dahm, Kubalik knocked in the pass from Filip Chytil to force the game into overtime.

That's when things started to get a bit crazy. With around 30 seconds to go in the extra frame, Filip Hronek's shot beat Dahm, but after some celebrations by the Czechs, the goal was deemed no-good because Kubalik had actually got offside earlier in the play.

That meant the game would require a shootout to decide the victor. After Hrubec made a stop on the first Denmark shot, seven consecutive goals went in between the two teams in a complete shooter's gallery in the skills portion of the game.

Denmark made the call to pull Dahm in favor of Ottawa Senators prospect Mads Sogaard, who did not get a chance to play prior to the tournament, to face a do-or-die shot against the Czechs. Chytil's shot went in to give the Czechs the advantage heading into the final shot of the game from Niklas Andersen. But just like with Demark, the Czechs made a goalie switch, taking Hrubec out of the play in favor of Roman Will. Will made the stop on Andersen to win the game, ending Denmark's shot at a playoff spot.


Scenarios to Watch:

- If Canada defeats Finland, Canada, plus the winner of Latvia vs. Germany, will advance to the quarter-finals.

- If Canada loses in overtime, it will advance with the winner of Latvia vs. Germany, as long as the game ends in 60 minutes.

- If Canada loses in overtime and Latvia vs. Germany go to overtime, Latvia and Germany advance

- If Canada loses in regulation, Kazakhstan, and the winner of Latvia vs. Germany, advances

- Canada and winner of LAT/GER can advance

- Latvia and Germany can advance

- Kazakhstan and winner of LAT/GER can advance

- Canada and Kazakhstan can not advance together


Three Stars

1. Henrik Haukeland, G (NOR): Knowing what was at stake at the other end, Haukeland played his best game of the tournament to potentially play spoiler.

2. Cal Petersen, G (USA): Petersen's 33-save shutout is his second donut of the week, helping to keep his bid for the tournament's top goaltender award alive.

3. Sebastian Dahm, G (DEN): He was eventually pulled in the shootout, but hats off to a guy who played every minute of every game for Denmark in this tournament. Kept his team in it today. 


June 1 Schedule

Canada vs. Finland - 5:15 AM ET
Switzerland vs. Great Britain - 5:15 AM ET
Slovakia vs. Czech Republic - 9:15 AM ET
Italy vs. USA - 9:15 AM ET
Germany vs. Latvia - 1:15 PM ET
Russia vs. Belarus 1:15 PM ET


Standings Entering Final Day

Group A
1. Russia, 14P
2. Switzerland, 12P
3. Slovakia, 12P
4. Czech Republic, 10P
5. Sweden, 10P
6. Denmark, 9P
7. Belarus, 4P
8. Great Britain, 4P

Group B
1. USA, 15P
2. Finland, 15P
3. Kazakhstan, 10P
4. Germany, 9P
5. Canada, 9P
6. Latvia, 9P
7. Norway, 8P
8. Italy, 0P

Teams in italics have completed all seven games



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