2013 World Junior Report (Day 1)

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So the tournament has begun as the 2013 World Juniors got underway in Ufa, Russia with a busy schedule for both pools. The tournament would see four games in the opening day of the 2013 tournament. It was the beginning of a new day for all as every team would wake up with the same chance to win the championship. No team had been eliminated yet and no team had even lost a game. For some it was just a delay of the inevitable as the top teams would just see a delay of their dominance. Others would see it as a way of delaying their inevitable venture into the relegation round. As this was the case for the two extremes in the tournament there were a few teams looking at the beginning of the tournament with plenty of hope. The teams in the middle of the rankings every year the beginning of the tournament is a bit of an unknown. Teams like Slovakia and Czech Republic have all the hopes this year before the tournament starts as they look to an 0-0 record and see hope. These are the teams that find themselves on the edge of the relegation round but rarely in a spot to be relegated. They are the teams who are lingering outside of becoming top tier and joining the Swedes and the Finns as perennial contenders. A new tournament means that these teams can begin their run towards the medal rounds once again. These teams are not the automatic to make the next round of the tournament which is why many times they have to focus on important games to them. These teams will not look to games against the Canadians or the Swedes, or Russians to get them further in the tournament. They realize that those teams are on a different level, although beating them is not out of the question. Instead they look to the games against the other teams in the bottom of the tournament and teams against people like themselves. These become the most important games of the tournament for these teams as they are the wins that these teams need for a shot at the next round. If they can get these wins they can set themselves on the right path towards moving on in the second or third spot. From that point on the games become single elimination which means anything can happen. Every now and then, though these teams do throw a wrench into the plans of many of the major teams. The top teams can generally walk through an entire round robin until they face each other in big games. For them the round robin is a formality to earn a spot in the next round that is all but guaranteed. Then the middle teams come up and shock the big dogs in the tournament giving them a scare and making people doubt the dominance. These surprise games are what makes the tournament so great as there really is no guarantee that any team can walk through the tournament. These middle teams are the essence of the tournament as they provide the most drama in the round robin. As the tournament started these middle teams would not take the main focus though as day 1 would, as usual feature the top teams taking on much easier opponents. That still didn’t lessen the excitement of the day though as the teams took the ice for the first time in games that meant something. As the day went on fans figured out how their teams looked in bigger games and for some it was good but for others it was far from it. The tournament has now started as teams took their first swing at the standings to find out how they stacked up. At the end of the day a few teams would make their statements while others would strike doubt into their fans from the very start. In the next week a lot more will be found out as teams continue to march on through the round robin. That includes the middle teams who will fight throughout the week for their chance at the next stage in the tournament.

 

Scores:
Finland 5 – 1 Latvia
– Miro Aaitonen would score two goals for the Fins but left the game with an ankle injury that could end his tournament as the Fins took home their first win launching them to the top spot in Pool A

Canada 9 – 3 Germany
– The Canadians were an up and down team heading into the tournament but they got off to a good start beating the Germans with a 5 point effort from captain Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and earning the big win that will help in goal differential

Sweden 4 – 1 Czech Republic
– The defending champions had no problems against the Czechs as they would get goals from four different players with a complete team effort in their first game as the 2012 World Junior champions 

Russia 3 – 2 Slovakia (OT)
– The Russians suffered a bit of a scare against the upset kings in the Slovakians as the Slovakian team pushed the Russians to their limit forcing them to overtime where Albert Yarullin scored with only 10 seconds left in the game to give the Russians the win

 

Standings: 

Pool A:
1. Finland 3)
2. Sweden (3)
3. Czech Republic (0)
4. Latvia (0)
5. Switzerland (–)

 

Pool B:
1. Canada (3)
2. Russia (2)
3. Slovakia (1)
4.  Germany (0)
5. USA (–)

 

Day 2:
Switzerland vs. Latvia (Thursday December 27th; 7:00 am EST)
– Latvia began their tournament in a bad way losing to the Fins in their first game but they get a second shot at their first win in a game that might be their most realistic shot at winning against the Swiss who will open their tournament in this game

USA vs. Germany (Thursday December 27th; 9:00 am EST)
– The Americans are hoping to start their tournament off right with a win to tie the Canadians at the top of the standings in Pool B as they take on the Germans who are coming off of a loss to the Canadians in their first game

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