Switzerland - Kazakhstan: 1-3
LIBEREC, Czech Republic – Switzerland had a major reversal of fortune today after suffering a 3-1 loss against Kazakhstan in the U20 B Group. Instead of keeping its hopes alive for the medal round, the Swiss are now headed to the relegation round with no points to their credit after the stunning loss to the newly-promoted Kazakhs.
For Kazakhstan, the win was an important step to remaining in the top division as the nation now carries three points with them into the relegation round.
It is the sixth-straight relegation round appearance for the Swiss at the U20s. For the Kazakhs, it is the first win in the top division of the U20 World Championship since December 29, 2000 when the squad beat Ukraine, 5-2.
Switzerland out-shot the Kazakhs 46-22 in the game, but could not overcome a sluggish start. Yakov Vorobyov was the hero for the Kazakhs, scoring both goals in the win, along with goaltender Sergey Rudolf, who nearly had a shutout in his first start of the tournament.
The swift-skating Kazakhs got onto the board first when Vorobyov scored after getting a pass through the slot from Stanislav Vitkoshkin. The Swiss were clearly frustrated after the goal, and never seemed organized for rest of the period, managing a meager four shots.
Switzerland was much improved in the second period, but still couldn’t get their offense to click. On the other side. Kazakhstan’s Vorobyov made the most of one of the four shots his team had in the period, doubling the lead with a power-play goal from the slot.
The Swiss continued to dominate the offensive zone in the third period, but were still coming up empty handed until Yannik Weber gave the Swiss renewed hope, cutting the lead to 2-1 on the power-play, with 6:11 left in the game. But the Swiss hopes were crushed five minutes later when Yevgeni Rymarev put the game out of reach with 53 seconds left, brining the final to 3-1.
The relegation round is now set with Slovakia, Denmark, Kazakhstan and Switzerland all playing in the round robin in Liberec. Slovakia and Kazakhstan enter the round with three points, while Denmark and Switzerland have zero. The Swiss and Danes each have games remaining tomorrow as both face the top-seeded teams of their groups. The Swiss will take on Russia, while Denmark faces Canada.
Denmark - Slovakia: 3-4
PARDUBICE, Czech Republic – Slovakia will go into the U20 relegation round with three points after earning an important 4-3 victory over Denmark today.
While the game had no implication in the medal race, it was a crucial match-up for both teams as the winner takes the points with them into the four-team relegation round.
Slovakia got the early edge with a power play goal from Ivan Rohac midway through the first period. Another two goals coming less than four minutes apart midway through the second period gave the Slovaks a comfortable 3-0 lead.
But Denmark worked its way back into the game in the third period, beginning with a power-play goal 3:36 into the period from Lars Eller. Eller struck again less than five minutes later to make it a one-goal affair. But Marek Slovak restored order, and the two-goal lead just 23 seconds later, countering with an even-strength goal. On last-ditch power-play goal by the Danes with 25 seconds left was too little, too late as the Slovaks held on for the 4-3 win.
The relegation round will begin on January second as the Slovaks and Danes will take on the two last-placed teams from the B Group in the round-robin pool.