Monday, December 31, 2012

2013 World Juniors and 2012 Spengler Cup Monday Update

First up on today's busy schedule of games was the Group A match in the 2013 World Junior Championships between Switzerland and the Czech Republic. Entering the contest, the Czechs were had 6 points to Switzerland's 5. The first period ended up even at 1-1 with the Czechs scoring twice in the first seven minutes of the second period for a 3-1 lead, but the Swiss countered with a pair of power play goals in the third period to even the score at 3-3 after 60 minutes.

With both teams now earning a point in the standings, it was time to decide who would move on to the medal round as overtime began. The game was decided after 1:39 when Tomas Hertl of the Czech Republic scored to win the game and advance the Czechs into the Playoff Round, while the Swiss would have to wait until the conclusion of Finland's game later in the day to learn their fate.

The next contest looked to be a a good one on paper, as the United States was facing off against Slovakia, who had taken Russia to overtime, while the US had fallen to the tournament hosts in regulation, albeit by a 2-1 score.

After the teams traded goals 14 seconds apart early in the first period, the Americans put their heads down and streaked out to a 5-1 lead within the next ten minutes. Slovakia got a goal back before the period ended only to see the US add three more to their lead to 8-2 at the end of the second period.

The game finished 9-3 for the United States, securing their place in the Playoff Round and sending Slovakia into the Relegation Round with Germany, but with a nice head start as they carry over their 2 points from their game with Germany.

The third game of the day saw Sweden taking on Finland, with the Finns now down by a point in the standings to Switzerland, and needing at least a point to advance. Those hopes were dealt a severe blow when Sweden streaked out to a 3-0 lead within 14 minutes only to have Finland come roaring back to tie the game 3-3 with three goals in eight minutes.

Sweden retook the lead with a goal at the 16 minute mark of the second and added another before the second period ended. While Finland took one back 40 seconds into the third, it was as close as they would get, as Sweden pulled away for a final score of 7-4 to send Finland to the Relegation Round along with Latvia.

In the final game of the day, a packed Ufa Arena saw Canada take the honors in Group B with a 4-1 win over Russia on the strength of two first period power play goals and the goaltending of Malcom Subban. The win puts Canada into the semifinals, along with Group A winner Sweden.

Wednesday's Quarterfinals pit the Czech Republic against the United States in the first game at 4 AM eastern, followed by Russia taking on Switzerland at 8 AM.

In the Relegation Round, Finland's win over Latvia and Slovakia's overtime win over Germany carry over to the standings, putting Finland with 3 points, Slovakia with 2, Germany with 1 and Latvia with none. Expect Finland and Slovakia to be safe with their head start in the standings, with the key game being Germany vs. Latvia on Friday, with Germany holding the advantage of having a point in the standings going in, requiring Latvia to win to stay in the Top Division for next year.

Meanwhile, Canada's good day continued at the 2012 Spengler Cup when Patrice Bergeron scored just 46 seconds into the championship final. Less than halfway into the first period Ryan Smyth extended the lead to 3-0 before Davos, playing it's fifth game in five days, scored before the period was over.

Smyth and John Tavares built the lead to 5-1 in the second period and Jason Spezza and Tavares scored in the third period to make the final score 7-2 after Davos added a second goal with 2:31 to play.

Ryan Smyth Spengler Cup

It was Canada's 12th Spengler Cup since 1984 and first since 2007.

Canada Spengler Cup

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