World Junior Championship (Relegation)

With the round robin and playoffs almost done it is now time to find out the positions of the teams with the Medal Round tomorrow. This means that the Bronze Medal and Gold Medal game will be determined tomorrow while the rest of the spots are appointed today. This includes the 5th place, 7th place and 9th place games. The 9th place game has now become better known for the relegation game and that was thanks to a major change in the tournament this year. The change made created a more competitive relegation round while also limited the number of teams playing for it. This year there would only be one relegated team instead of the two usually relegated. The relegation round would also see the round robin games counted in the relegation. This meant that the team that had beaten one another in the round robin would keep their win and loss. The new system would see two teams starting relegation with 1-0 records while the other two teams would start 0-1. The two teams starting with the 0-1 records would most likely face off in the last game to determine who would be sent down to the lower division. This is exactly what happened as the two teams entering relegation with 0-1 records face off for relegation and the other two would face off for position. With only one day left in the tournament the positions are being handed out as one team would not be back while the others look to next year.



The game for 9th place meant a lot more this year as instead of both teams playing for pride with their future set they would face off for their life in the tournament. This year the usual suspects faced off in the game as many believed Denmark and Latvia were not ready to play in the big tournament. They thought that either of these teams could be put into the lower division as both teams did not have a history of success in the top division both being sent down before. The game meant everything for both teams as they were hoping to stay in the top division for next year’s tournament. The game started with Denmark getting on the board first scoring the first goal in just over 3 minutes into the first period. The Latvians almost came back to tie it at the end of the period as team captain Kristians Pelss put the puck in the net hitting it out of midair. The goal was called off though as Pelss stick was above the crossbar and was ruled a high stick. The game went into the second period with the Danes ahead 1-0 and the Latvians looking to catch a break. They could not seem to get much going at the start of the second but after the halfway point in the period Pelss got another chance and this time they would not call it off. The Latvians captain unleashed a one-timer that got past Sebastian Feuk and tied up the game 1-1. The game turned very physical with some players having to leave the ice after hits but neither could take the advantage. The third period saw this continue as both teams continued the physical play but neither could get the advantage. The third period saw no goals and the game ended in a 1-1 tie forcing overtime as the future of the team hung in the balance. It did not take long in the overtime for one team to take the advantage as the Latvians got a quick goal from Nikita Jevpalovs less than two minutes into the period giving the Latvians a 2-1 win. The Latvians took the win and guaranteed a spot in the 2013 World Juniors in Ufa Russia. The Danes will be replaced by Germany who won the Division I Group A championship earlier. With only one team relegated this game gained much importance and for the Latvians they get to build their team for next year as they will finally be able to return to the top division.


Latvia 2 – 1 Denmark (OT)



The rest of the games on this day were simply about pride and position as teams looked to take the highest position they could while also finishing the tournament with a win. The four teams in these games were hoping to have better performances but the best they could do now is win their last game and take the spot. The first of these games was for 7th place as the other two relegation round teams faced off to essentially end up the best of the worst. The Americans and Swiss faced off in the 7th place game as the Americans had hoped to make the medal rounds again this year but could not do it and instead looked for a win. The Swiss were hoping to make the playoffs but instead ended up playing in the relegation round. The game started with little scoring as both teams went back and forth for the majority of the period. Just passed the midway point the teams began to find their rhythm and the scoring was on. The Americans opened the scoring when Austin Czarnik went in alone to get the ball rolling. Only minutes later the Swiss tied the game up when Gaeten Haas got past Jack Campbell. The Americans came back though in only minutes as Kevin Gravel put the Americans ahead at the end of the first. Then the goaltenders stepped up as the US continued to put major pressure on Tim Wolf throughout the game. In all Wolf saved 40 shots from the Americans as he attempted to keep the Swiss within striking distance. Jack Campbell did not face nearly as many shot but also stood tall not allowing another goal in the game. All of the action occurred at the end of the first period as both teams could not get any more. The Americans took the 2-1 win and took the 7th spot, their worst finish since they finished 8th in 1999, as they finished a disappointing tournament with a win. The Swiss took a step back from the last years as they finished 8th and will look to next year to turn the team around. The other game was for fifth place as the Slovaks faced off against their bitter rivals the Czechs for fifth place. Both teams made the playoffs this year with key wins and were hoping to finish off their season with the 5th place spot. The game started off with the Czechs taking control from the start of the game. Five minutes into the game the Czechs opened the scoring when Radek Faksa opened the scoring. The Czechs added another two goals in the first period as they looked to take a convincing win. In the second period the Slovaks looked to fight back as they finally got past Petr Mrazek when Milos Bubela scored. It was not enough to stop the Czechs though as they scored another goal in at the end of the second to go ahead 4-1. The third period was a repeat of the second as the Slovaks opened the scoring in the period but the Czechs would not let them keep the momentum scoring another goal. The Czechs took the game 5-2 and the 5th place spot in the tournament. The Slovaks avoided the relegation round but ended their tournament in 6th place with the loss.


USA 2 – 1 Switzerland

Czech Republic 5 – 2 Slovakia


Medal Round:

Bronze Medal Game:

Finland vs. Canada (January 5th; 3:30 pm)


Gold Medal Game:

Russia vs. Sweden (January 5th; 8:00 pm)

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