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World Junior Roundup: Finland, Sweden, Canada, Czechia Advance to Semifinal

The four teams that will play for medals at the World Junior Championship have been decided, with tournament heavyweights USA bowing out after a loss to Czechia to close out quarterfinal action on Wednesday.

Finnish PP the Difference in Win Over Germany


A total of six power-play goals were scored between Finland and Germany, with the Finns holding on for the 5-2 victory.

The Finns got fancy on the team's first goal at 3:37. After great passing between Joel Maatta, Roby Jarventie and Kasper Simontaival, Simontaival finished off the tic-tac-toe by beating a vulnerable Florian Bugl, who had no chance on the passing play. 

At 11:06, Kasper Puttio was stopped by Bugl's stick, but Simontaival was there to make a quick backhand pass to Roni Hirvonen at the doorstep, who made no mistake. 

Just under two minutes later, the Germans got a power-play goal of their own. Maciej Rutkowski's shot was stopped, but Bennet Rossmy was there to get a good second chance and beat Leevi Merilainen for the 2-1 goal. 

That deficit didn't last long, though, as Jarventie's wrister on the man advantage at 14:48 beat Bugl high blocker side for the 3-1 goal.

The second period was a bit quieter, with Rossmy's second of the game -- a spin in front of the Finnish net on the power play -- being the lone goal to make it 3-2. Germany was hoping for an early third-period goal to tie things up, but Jarventie had different plans. He scored on a simple wrister, once again on the man advantage, at 46:22 to make it 4-2, and Maatta finished the scoring off on the next power-play opportunity, securing the 5-2 victory.

Sweden Edges Latvia to End Cinderella Run


At one point, it looked like Latvia was capable of pulling off a miracle run and beat Sweden to advance to the semifinal. 

Instead, a third-period goal from defenseman Emil Andrae allowed Sweden to advance to the semifinal off the heels of a 2-1 victory.

The lone first-period goal came from Isak Rosen on the power play after Fabian Lysell rushed around the net, got the puck underneath goaltender Bruno Bruveris and on the stick of Rosen. Rosen wasted no time firing into the open cage, giving Sweden the 1-0 lead. 

The Latvians struggled to create offense in the second, but after a good barrage, Gustavs Ozolins got his team on the board with a huge goal. 

The game remained tied, and Latvia even killed off a five-minute penalty early in the third, but Andrae put the dagger in the heart of Latvia's dreams. At 49:49, Andrae's shot made it through a crowd in front of Bruveris, who had no chance of stopping the shot, giving Sweden the goal they needed to seal the deal.

Canada Beats Switzerland to Advance


Team Canada is now the lone group to boast a perfect record after beating Switzerland 6-3 in the quarterfinal.

Canada will now meet up with Czechia for a shot at gold.

It took Canada just one shot to open the scoring for the Canadians. Goaltender Noah Patenaude originally stopped Logan Stankoven, but the Swiss keeper couldn't cover it fully. Tyson Foerster found himself in the right spot to poke the disk in to make it 1-0. 

But just over a minute later, Brian Zanetti's shot was tipped in by Simon Knak just in front of Dylan Garand for the tying goal. 

The game remained tied for another 10 minutes until Canada found some luck at 12:31. Ronan Seeley's shot hit off a Swiss defender in front and Thompson was able to whip a shot behind Patenaude for the 2-1 goal. Logan Stankoven scored two minutes after that on a breakaway and Nathan Gaucher added another for good measure to end Patenaude's night early in favor of Kevin Pasche. 

The Swiss seemed to find a bit of an attack late in the first and at 19:51, Attilio Biasca beat Garand high blocker for the 4-2 goal.

The scoring calmed down a bit in the second, with both team adding just one. Will Cuylle scored at 24:20 to make it 5-2, but Biasca's second of the night restored Switzerland's two-goal deficit. That didn't do much to spur a late-game comeback effort, though, as an empty-netter for Stankoven was the only goal in the third, giving Canada the 6-3 victory.

USA Upset by Czechia Attack


After a dominant round-robin effort that saw them outscore its opponents 23-3, the United States has been eliminated from the World Junior Championship following a 4-2 loss to Czechia to close out Wednesday's action.

Czechia will play Canada on Friday for a shot at gold, just a few days after losing to Latvia in the round-robin. 

USA was looking to go back-to-back after winning gold at the 2021 tournament, also held in Edmonton.

The Americans got off to a good start thanks to a crazy bounce. Matt Knies' dump-in hit off the end board at a weird angle and towards the Czechia net, with Matthew Coronato gaining possession of it. He found Logan Cooley by himself at the other side of the net and the Arizona Coyotes prospect made no mistake potting it for the 1-0 goal. 

But at 17:55, a late Czechia goal spiced things up. Jan Mysak tipped Jiri Tichacek's point shot to tie the game up and set up an interesting second period.

USA struggled to generate high-danger scoring chances on Suchanek, and the Czechs made him pay for it. First, Petr Hauser's shot whizzed past Kaidan Mbereko's right arm to take the lead. Three minutes later, Matyas Sapovaliv somehow got the puck underneath Mbereko, squeaking past the goal line and in.

The Americans needed any advantage they could get, and a game misconduct for slew footing by Brett Berard 2:41 into the third didn't make that easy. But after Stanislav Svozil got ejected for kneeing near the midway mark, USA finally found something to cheer about. At 51:31, Carter Mazur crashed the crease and poked the puck past Suchanek, making it a one-goal game.

USA began throwing everything they had at the net, but an empty-netter for Kulich in the dying minutes put a cap on the game, giving Czechia a shocking 4-2 victory.



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