DRESDEN – Team USA finished the preliminary round with the most number of points from all teams, nine, after defeating Slovakia 4-1. Finland remains undefeated after an 8-4 victory over Germany. Canada and Sweden had high wins prior to the quarter-finals on Thursday.
Quarter-Finals on Thursday:
Canada vs. Czech Republic (14:00)
Sweden vs. Slovenia (16:00)
Finland vs. Slovakia (18:00)
USA vs. Germany (20:00)
Germany vs. Finland 4-8 (0-3, 1-2, 1-0, 2-3) Video
Finland tops Group B after defeating Germany 8-4 to earn a quarter-final clash against winless Slovakia. For host Germany it was the third loss in as many games.
Three Finnish goals within 72 seconds in the first period paved the way to victory for the Finns.
“It was a pretty good game in the first two periods. We were the better team and created many chances but then we struggled a bit in the third and fourth period,” said Cami Miettinen, who scored two goals. “We didn’t stick to our game plan and they came back to 6-4, that wasn’t good. We have to be more patient and do our own thing.”
Same as Germany, Finland’s quarter-final opponent Slovakia hasn’t won a game yet. The Slovaks returned to the top division after being relegated two years ago.
“We have a good position in the standings now. Of course it’s easier to play Slovakia than playing USA or Canada,” Miettinen said about the quarter-final clash on Thursday.
Jouni Aalto opened the scoring at 7:07 after receiving a pass between the face-off circles. Kalle Kossila doubled the gap 29 seconds later when he got on a loose puck after a shot from Tomi Penttinen, and 41 seconds later Miettinen made it 3-0.
In the second period Germany tried to get back and was skating in the offensive zone but didn’t manage to break through. Patrick Seifert then hammered in the puck from the left boards from over 20 metres distance.
However, the Finns didn’t lean back and made it 5-1 before the halftime break.
One minute after the German goal Kari Lohtander won a battle along the right boards and skated around the defence to the left side from where he beat German goalkeeper Maximilian Englbrecht through the five-hole.
Later the Finns capitalized when German defenceman Stephan Daschner lost the puck in his own zone. Sami Markkanen scored after a double-pass play with Tommi Huhtala.
Germany played better defensively in the third period and also scored the only goal. They won the puck in the offensive zone, Marcel Müller skated toward the Finnish net and Sören Sturm scored after the drop pass.
It looked like Tommi Sallinen would destroy Germany’s hopes with his shot from the face-off circle to the top-right corner early in the fourth period, but the Germans came closer.
At 3:34 Huba Sekesi succeeded with his end-to-end rush, and Christian Wichert made it a two-goal game 18 seconds later.
With just eight minutes left on the match clock the Germans came close but the Finns sealed the win. Miettinen restored the three-goal lead on a counter-attack and Jesse Saarinen added the 8-4 goal with four minutes left to play.
Canada vs. Slovenia 10-3 (3-2, 3-0, 1-1, 3-0) Video
After losing to neighbour USA the day before, Canada succeeded in its last game of the preliminary round and defeated Slovenia 10-3. In the quarter-finals the Canadians will play the Czech Republic on Thursday
“It was tight in the first period and a half and then we seemed to slow the game down and control the puck and create our opportunities and finish on them,” said Canada’s Chris Terry, who scored a hat trick.
“They’re a very good team. It’s going to be a hard fought game.”
It was Terry who opened the scoring after 40 seconds of play when he skated left around the Slovenian defence to find the net.
The Slovenes reacted on the first power play. The Canadians provided too little defence as Ales Remar was approaching the goal and brought the puck behind netminder Brett Leggat.
Less than two minutes later Canada’s Max Grassi also scored on a power play, but the Slovenes were able to tie the game again. Matic Podlipnik concluded a double pass attack with Mateuz Erman with Slovenia’s 2-2 goal.
With 27 seconds left in the first period the Canadians made sure the third power play of the game would also be converted. After a diagonal pass from Thomas Woods it was Terry, who scored from an acute angle into the virtually empty net from the right side.
The Slovenes had chances to tie it again early in the second period when they enjoyed a lengthy power play with Canada taking two penalties, but instead the Canadians made it a two-goal game.
Terry skated away from the Slovenian defence and beat goalkeeper Matevz Grabnar through the five-hole.
Three minutes later Josh Foote made it 5-2 when he got the room on the right side to beat Grabnar with a shot in the top-right corner. And Matt Garb followed suit one-and-a-half minutes later for the 6-2 goal.
Canada started the second half of the game with the 7-2 goal. Woods beat Peter Skrabelj, who came in for Grabnar, on the glove side. Four minutes later Mateuz Erman brought the puck around Canada’s Adam Ross to find the hole for Slovenia’s third goal.
Three unanswered Canadian goals from Kyle Henderson, Foote and Garb made it a 10-3 score before the final buzzer.
Czech Republic vs. Sweden 3-11 (2-6, 1-1, 0-2, 0-2) Video
Sweden recovered from the tough loss against Finland and defeated the Czech Republic 11-3 to claim second place in the group. Henrik Höglund scored four goals for Tre Kronor.
“It was a good win for us. We needed to step up after the game against Finland,” said Höglund, who plays for Resport Karlstad and spent the winter with Swedish second-tier club Karlskrona and Denmark’s Esbjerg.
“It’s not bad to score four goals. It was good passes though.”
Dick Axelsson already opened the scoring after 37 seconds after a horizontal pass from Carl Berglund.
Then everything went quick with two Czech and two Swedish goals within a span of just 45 seconds.
Höglund scored the second goal at 4:08 but five seconds later Marek Loskot cut the deficit with a shot into the far corner. 12 seconds later Martin Vozdecky tied it up for the Czechs on a breakaway but Filip Gunnarson regained the lead for Sweden with a slap shot in the top-right corner.
In the last minute of the first period the Swedes added three goals within 52 seconds. Robin Sjören skated to Czech goalkeeper Roman Handl and beat him with a backhand shot and with the next attack Marcus Nilsson made it 5-2, and with eight seconds left Höglund closed the opening period with the 6-2 goal.
The Czechs changed goalkeepers but after two-and-a-half minutes Daniel Brabec was also beaten as Höglund completed the hat trick. Michal Simo scored the only Czech goal in the period on a power play.
After the halftime break Höglund scored his fourth goal after a centering pass from Kristian Luukkonen and Robert Sterner made it 9-3. Early in the fourth period Alexander Olsson converted another pass to the crease for the tenth goal and Marcus Nilsson added a power-play marker for the final score of 11-3.
USA vs. Slovakia 4-1 (1-0, 2-0, 0-1, 1-0) Video
The United States outperformed recently-promoted Slovakia and completes the group stage with a clean record after a 4-1 victory.
The Americans will now play the quarter-final game on Thursday against Germany, the fourth-ranked team from the other group.
“It’s always good to get the first seed to get a better game in the first playoff round,” said U.S. forward Junior Cadiz, “but either way it will be a difficult game and we can’t get anybody lightly.”
Dakota Eveland opened the scoring at 2:13. Once the Americans got the opportunity to play on a man advantage, they used their first two power plays in the second period for goals from Matt White and Robert Alexander.
Slovakia’s Peter Novajovsky hit the post midway through the period but otherwise the Slovaks had only few scoring opportunities to offer. At 6:09 of the third period they eventually appeared on the scoreboard with Jozef Haring’s point shot on a power play but most of the time the Slovaks didn’t get the opportunity to stage a comeback.
Early in the fourth period American forward Cadiz skated to the net and beat Slovak netminder Vladimir Neumann with a shot from the crease for the 4-1 goal.
“I’m just closing my eyes and hoping for the best,” Cadiz said about one or the other nice goal he scored.
Quarter-Finals on Thursday:
Great Britain vs. Japan (13:00)
Hungary vs. Croatia (15:00)
Australia vs. Argentina (17:00)
Austria vs. Bulgaria (19:00)
Hungary vs. Austria 3-4 (1-2, 0-0, 1-2, 1-0)
Austria claimed first place in Group D after edging neighbour Hungary 4-3.
Hungary’s Istvan Bartalis opened the scoring at 2:09 but goals from Andre Niec and Johannes Bischofberger turned the game in the first period and Austria’s 2-1 lead remained until the halftime mark.
At 4:35 of the third period Hungary’s Norbert Fekecs tied the score at two but Austria reacted with goals from Christian Dolezal and Harry Lange in the second half of the period and defended the lead in the fourth frame in which a Hungarian goal from Akos Kiss made it a one-goal game for the last eight minutes of play.
Great Britain vs. Croatia 5-6 (0-2, 2-1, 2-1, 1-1, 0-1) OT
Croatia upset top-seeded Great Britain in a 6-5 victory but it was not enough to overtake the British. However, Great Britain missed to end the group in first place, which goes to Australia before Great Britain, Croatia and winless Bulgaria.
The Croats had a strong first period, which they ended with a 2-0 lead and goals from Igor Jacmenjak and Mario Novak. Early in the second period they capitalized on a power play with a Niksa Trstenjak goal.
The British tried hard to turn the fortunes and outshot Croatia 54-20 throughout the game. Nathan Finney and Philip Hamer made it a one-goal game before the halftime break.
Croatia extended the lead to 4-2 with a goal from Tomislav Grozaj after 74 seconds but goals from Mark Hallam and again Hamer tied the game at four before the end of the period.
48 seconds into the fourth period Marko Lovrencic regained the lead for Croatia but the British tied it again with Hamer’s third goal on a power play to send the game to overtime.
In the extra period the Croats made better use of their chances and Grozaj scored his second goal of the game at 3:31 to give the Croats their second win in the tournament.
Japan vs. Argentina 5-3 (1-1, 2-0, 2-1, 0-1)
In a game of winless teams Japan got its first victory, 5-3 against Argentina.
It was a narrow game in which Japan outshot the Argentines 21-20.
Rodrigo Irisarri scored on the first attack of the game to give Argentina the lead after 11 seconds but Kentaro Nishinaga tied it up 44 seconds later.
Japan decided the game early in the second period. Gentaro Tsuchimoto scored after 58 seconds and Keisuke Kawakami capitalized on the first power play for the two-goal lead the Japanese would never give away.
Tsuchimoto and Nishinaga both scored their second goal in the third quarter while Argentina’s Irisarri had two more markers for a hat trick.
Australia vs. Bulgaria 14-0 (2-0, 2-0, 3-0, 7-0)
Australia secures second place in its group while Bulgaria suffered another two-digit loss and now has a 0-41 goal record.
The team from Down Under scored a pair of goals in each of the first two periods and added three in the third and seven in the fourth quarter.
Michael York scored a hat trick, and Jordan Gavin, Luke Fritchley and Michael Casaceli had two goals each. The other markers came from Shaun Wickham, Jonathon and Nicholas Bremner, Liam Jeffries, Cameron Walsh and Lee Turner.
Click here for the tournament website with stats, photos, videos and a live stream.