U18: Playoff picture complete

Day 6: Its USA vs. Germany and Canada vs. Finland in the quarterfinals.

18.04.2008
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The Americans inched past Finland for second place in Group B. Photo: IIHF/HHoF/Mikael Fritzon

KAZAN, Russia - The playoffs are set at the U18s. The U.S. will take on Germany, while Canada will face the Finns in the quarterfinals. Russia and Sweden await the winners in the semi-final games.

United States – Finland 4-3 (3-1, 0-1, 1-1)

The North American showdown will have to wait for another day at the U18 World Championship as the U.S. avoided a quarterfinal match-up against Canada after defeating Finland, 4-3. The win gives the Americans a second-place finish in Group B and pits them against Germany in the quarterfinals. With the loss, third-placed Finland draws the Canadians in the other quarterfinal game.

The Americans made it clear in the first period that earning second place in the group was a high priority as the team poured in three goals to take a 3-1 lead after 20 minutes. The U.S. out-shot Finland a hefty 16-4 in the period.

Finland bounced back in the second period and pulled to within one as Teemu Hartikainen scored the only goal of the period on the power play at the midway mark. Ryan Grimshaw restored the two-goal lead 1:16 into the third period, but an untimely penalty allowed the Finns to net another power-play goal just over a minute later to make it 4-3. Despite some steady pressure, two late penalties by the Finns helped the Americans to hang on for the slim win.

All teams have the day off tomorrow before the quarterfinals are played on Sunday.

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Russia – Denmark 10-1 (2-0, 3-1, 5-0)

Host Russia had no problem finishing undefeated in the preliminary round after earning an easy 10-1 win against relegation round-bound Denmark.

The Danes had no chance against the defending champion, as Russia put in the minimal effort for the win. After skating out to the 2-0 lead in the first period, Russia put in back-up goaltender Danila Alistratov at the start of the second period. Russia continued to cruise in the second period, netting a power-play, even-strength and a shorthanded goal. Denmark spoiled the shutout, scoring a shorthanded goal of its own, but it did little to help the outcome as Russia held a formidable 5-1 lead at the end of 40 minutes.

Russia continued to find the back of the net with relative ease in the third period. The Danes didn’t help their cause by getting into penalty trouble allowing Russia to put in three power play goals in addition to the two even-strength tallies, bringing the final to a staggering 10-1.

Russia has the next two days off as it awaits the semi-final round. Denmark now must refocus and gear up for the relegation round. The Danes enter the four-team round robin with no points. Belarus also has zero points, while Switzerland and Slovakia each come into the group with three points each. The entire tournament is idle tomorrow before the relegation round and quarterfinals are played on Sunday.

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  Canada – Slovakia 6-0 (2-0, 2-0, 2-0)

Canada closed the preliminary round at this year’s U18 World Championship with an easy 6-0 win against Slovakia. The loss ended the Slovaks’ hopes for a quarterfinal spot and sent them to the relegation round.

Matthew Duchene scored three power-play goals in the easy win for Canada. Things were never in doubt for the Maple Leaf nation as they scored just 40 seconds into the game with a tally from Cody Hodgson. Duchene made it a 3-0 game by the midway mark with his first two goals, while Jacob Legace added the 4-0 goal with seven minutes left in the second period.

Even at the end of the second period, the Germans could celebrate their spot in the quarterfinals as Slovakia was showing little sign of life against the Canadians. The celebration became official 20 minutes later as Canada added another pair of goals including the third tally from Duchene in the final period, finalizing the Group A standings.

The only game left in the preliminary round group is between first-place Russia and last-place Denmark. Russia is already locked into the semi-finals, while Canada and Germany are in the quarterfinals after skating to second and third place, respectively. In the relegation round from Group A are Slovakia, which will carry three points to the round, and Denmark, which carries zero points.

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Sweden – Switzerland 7-0 (2-0, 4-0, 1-0)

Sweden easily stayed unbeaten at the U18 World Championship after earning a lopsided 7-0 win against Switzerland.

The game meant little to either team as Sweden already had its semi-final spot secured, while Switzerland’s fate in the relegation round was also sealed last night. The teams lived up to their Group B rank as Sweden dominated virtually every aspect of the contest, out-shooting the Swiss more than two-to-one.

The Swiss trailed by a manageable 2-0 at the end of the first period, but then the Swedes broke the game open with a four-goal second period. Both teams looked to save energy in the third period as little happened besides a final Swedish tally to bring the final to 7-0. Marcus Johansson was the only player to score twice in the win, while Jacob Markstrom was in net for the shutout.

The only question that remains in Group B, is the fight for second and third place between Finland the U.S. tonight. The winner of the evening game will take on Germany, while the loser will face Canada in the quarterfinal. Sweden awaits the outcome of those games for its semi-final match-up, while Switzerland joins Belarus in the relegation round.

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