USA, Sweden undefeated

U18: U.S. aiming for top seed, Sweden edges Latvia

Zimni Stadion Znojmo  Czech Republic

Sweden and Team USA, the 2011 finalists, could once again snag the top seeds in their respective groups for the second year in a row. Photo: Phil MacCallum / HHOF-IIHF Images.

BRNO / ZNOJMO – The Americans have now played 180 straight minutes without allowing a goal following a 4-0 shutout of Denmark, while Sweden is also looking to get the quarter-final bye after beating Latvia 3-1.

Latvia – Sweden 1-2 (0-0, 0-1, 1-2) ZNOJMO – Latvia made it close, but Sweden managed to hold on and secure a 3-1 to take a firm grip on the top seed of Group B. Captain Filip Forsberg had the game-winning goal as his team is now undefeated in three matches. The Swedes, who won their previous two games by six or more goals, were largely held in check by the Latvian defenders and especially by goaltender Ivars Punnenovs, who made 31 saves through two periods to keep his team within a goal.   After being shut out through two periods, Latvia tied the game up 1-1 thanks to a goal from Ricards Kondrats 2:53 into the third period. But a minute later Teodors Blugers was called for slashing, and one the resulting power play Jacob de la Rose passed the puck off to Filip Forsberg, who fired a one-time blast from the circle to put Sweden back up by a goal. Mattias Kalin scored in the second period to bring his total tally for the tournament to four goals in three games, and Elias Lindholm added an empty netter in the third period to round out the scoring for Sweden. Sweden is now undefeated through three games and will have a day off before their final preliminary round match against Russia. The Russians lost to Germany in their last game, but can still claim the top seed if they defeat Switzerland and Sweden in their final two preliminary round games. Latvia will face the Germans on Monday, in a game that will determine which team will go to the relegation round and which will earn a trip to the quarter-finals. Denmark – USA 0-4 (0-1, 0-2, 0-1) BRNO – Don’t look now, but with Sunday’s 4-0 win over Denmark the United States have extended their streak without a goal against to three games at the 2012 IIHF Ice Hockey U18 World Championship. Goaltender Jared Rutledge, playing in his first game in the tournament, managed to preserve his team’s consecutive shutout streak with a 17-save performance, while the US forwards peppered Danish goaltender Geroge Sorensen for 57 shots. Matt Lane, Seth Jones, Frank Vatrano, and Quentin Shore each had goals for Team USA. Jones, the U.S. captain, extended his point streak to three games and has five points in the championship. The loss dropped the Danes to 0W-3L on the tournament, which means they will travel to Znojmo for the relegation round following their final preliminary round game against Finland. The U.S., winners of three straight and looking every part the three-time defending U18 world champions, will face Canada in their final game of the preliminary round.  Click here for photos, scores, and stats. ADAM STEISS
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