IMATRA – Swedish forward William Nylander, who previously had just two assists despite being one of the highest-rated players going into the tournament, turned up his game against the Slovaks with a hat trick and two helpers in a 6-2 win.
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The loss means the Slovaks will have to face the top seeded team in Group B in Thursday’s quarter-final round.
Sweden got on the board first, scoring with four seconds left on a powerplay, the goal coming courtesy of Gustav Forsling with an assist from Nylander. Early in the second period Nylander got open in front of net and fired a shot through Slovak goaltender Matej Tomek’s five hole for his second point of the night.
The Slovaks responded just over a minute later as Christian Jaros’ shot from the blue line found its way home. But the team fell into penalty trouble soon after, and with a two-man advantage Nylander collected his second goal.
With 3:48 left in the period Sweden extended its lead to three goals, the score coming from a shot by Axel Holmstrom arriving late off a Swedish rush. Then following the second intermission Sweden’s Henrik Tornqvist put the nail in the coffin on any Slovak comeback hopes with a shorthanded goal early in the third period, and Tre Kronor cruised the rest of the way with Nylander getting his third with just under five minutes to go.
Sweden (1W-1OTW-1L) has five points in the preliminary round, with a game against Germany remaining. Slovakia, with four points, will get the fourth seed in Group A.
Switzerland – Denmark 3-2 (0-0, 2-1, 1-1)
LAPPEENRANTA – Switzerland managed to put away a determined Danish team seeking to avoid a winless preliminary round at the 2014 IIHF U18 World Championship, scoring the go-ahead goal late in the third to win 3-2.
Forward Noah Rod had the game-winning goal and defenceman Roger Karrer notched two points in the victory. Denmark goaltender Thomas Lilie won the Best Player award for his team with a 43-save effort in the loss.
Denmark finished the preliminary round with a 0W-4L record and will face Germany in the relegation series, set to begin on Thursday 24 April.
The Swiss are sitting currently at No. 2 in Group B, but with one game left to play against the Czech Republic.