Saturday’s Day 5 action at the 2018 IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship in Buffalo, NY featured wins from Canada, the Czech Republic, Sweden and Finland. Here’s Saturday’s action at a glance.
CANADA 8 – DENMARK 0
Canada rebounded from Friday’s shootout loss to the United States outdoors with a commanding 8-0 win over Denmark at the Key Bank Center, clinching first place in Group A to round out preliminary play.
Tampa Bay Lightning prospect Brett Howden (Moose Jaw Warriors) earned Player of the Game honours, scoring twice while fellow Bolts prospect Cal Foote (Kelowna Rockets) recorded three assists. The lopsided outcome saw Canada outshoot the Danes 44-18 as 14 different CHL players recorded points.
Alex Formenton (London Knights) and Michael McLeod (New Jersey Devils) also had multi-point outputs with a goal and an assist each while other Canadian tallies came off the stick of Drake Batherson (Cape Breton Screaming Eagles), Sam Steel (Regina Pats), Robert Thomas (London Knights) and Cale Makar.
Carter Hart (Everett Silvertips) stood his ground in net, stopping all 18 shots he faced as Canada completed the preliminary round with a record of 3-1.
“I liked our focus and we played the right way,” said Team Canada head coach Dominique Ducharme (Drummondville Voltigeurs) pos-game. “Discipline – only two penalties – and that’s what we need every game. We’ve been through a lot in four games, lived [through] different situations and I think we’re adapting well and learning; now we’re ready to start the final round.”
Denmark falls to 0-3 and squares off with Slovakia on Sunday evening.
Steel (3-2–5) and Jordan Kyrou (Sarnia Sting) (1-4–5) finished tied for the Canadian scoring lead through four games, each recording five assists.
Canada awaits its next opponent in Quarterfinal action on Tuesday pending the results of Sunday’s action.
CZECH REPUBLIC 6 – BELARUS 5
Marek Zachar (Sherbrooke Phoenix) scored the deciding goal with 6:37 remaining as the Czech Republic outlasted Belarus in a hard-fought 6-5 win at the Key Bank Center.
Zachar and blueliner Libor Hajek (Saskatoon Blades) both had a goal and an assist while rearguard Vojtech Budik (Prince Albert Raiders) had a pair of assists. Top 2018 NHL Draft prospect Filip Zadina (Halifax Mooseheads) scored for the third time in as many games while Ostap Safin (Saint John Sea Dogs), Kristian Reichel (Red Deer Rebels) and Albert Michnac (Mississauga Steelheads) all had an assist.
The Czechs bounced back from an early 2-0 deficit and also gave Belarus four power plays including a five minute man advantage but managed to live to tell about it.
Igor Martynov (Victoria Royals) lit the lamp for Belarus while Vladislav Yeryomenko (Calgary Hitmen) and Maksim Sushko (Owen Sound Attack) both had two assists.
The Czech Republic outshot Belarus 39-21, improving to 2-1 in the preliminary round. Belarus closes out round robin play with an 0-4 record and will play in a relegation game on Tuesday.
The Czechs close out their preliminary round schedule on Sunday against Switzerland.
SWEDEN 7 – SWITZERLAND 2
Elias Pettersson and Lias Andersson both had two goals and an assist as Sweden defeated Switzerland 7-2 at HarborCenter.
The Swedes outshot the Swiss 42-22 as top 2018 NHL Draft prospect Rasmus Dahlin had two assists while additional goals came from Tim Soderlund, Axel Jonsson Fjallby and Fabian Zetterlund.
Nicolas Muller and Marco Miranda responded with unassisted goals for Switzerland as they fell to 1-2 in the tournament. They face the Czech Republic in a preliminary round finale on Sunday.
Sweden has played to a perfect 3-0 record thus far and squares off with Russia on Sunday night.
FINLAND 5 – SLOVAKIA 2
Florida Panthers prospect Aleksi Heponiemi (Swift Current Broncos) had a goal in Finland’s 5-2 win over Slovakia at the Key Bank Center.
Joona Koppanen, Aapeli Rasanen, Joni Ikonen and Markus Nurmi scored additional Finnish goals as they outshot the Slovaks 39-26 and improved to 2-1 entering final preliminary round play against the United States on Sunday.
Martin Bodak (Kootenay ICE) and Samuel Bucek scored Slovakian goals while Adam Rucizka (Sarnia Sting) and Michal Ivan (Acadie-Bathurst Titan) both recorded assists.
Slovakia falls to 1-2 in the tournament, looking to finish the preliminary round strong on Sunday against Denmark.
For full coverage of the 2018 IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship visit the IIHF or HockeyCanada.ca.