2014 World Junior Update (Day 6)

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The last day of the round robin for the World Juniors was another wild one as teams took their last crack at earning their spot. Some things had been figured out as most teams had already ensured their spot in the playoffs. In Pool B Day 5 would be D-Day for many teams and for the Norwegians the end of the day would mean the beginning of relegation. The Swiss had clinched a spot in the playoffs with a win over Norway forcing Norway into the relegation series this year. Ion the other pool it wasn’t so as the Germans were holding on to a playoff spot and watching closely to Day 6. It would be out of their hands as the Czech Republic would take on the Slovakians with a win a must for the Czechs. With a loss the Czechs would be eliminated from the playoffs and would be pushed to the relegation round. The Czechs would get the win against their rivals and would clinch a playoffs spot in the last day of the round robin and would force the Germans into relegation. It was the only real battle for a playoff spot as the rest of the teams were headed to the quarterfinals but none would really know where they would sit in the playoffs. The Slovakians and the Swiss knew that they would be sitting in the fourth and last playoff spots as neither could move up but they could disrupt the rest of the standings. The Russians and Swedes would face off in a battle for Pool B supremacy while the Swiss would look to take out the Finns and force the Finns to the 3rd place spot. The day would start with the Swedes beating the Russians and taking the top spot in the pool and leaving the Russians hoping for a Finland loss to push them to second place. The Finnish team only need one point to get the second place spot in the game and should have been able to get that one point and probably three points against the Swiss. The Swiss put up a fight though as they would lead the game for most of the time until the Finns tied the game up in the third period. The game would go to a shootout with the Swiss winning but the Finns earning the one point they needed to earn the second place spot. The pool play was done and the teams in Pool B would look to the other pool to see who they would be taking on. Pool A play would begin with the Czechs beating the Slovakians to earn their spot in the playoffs but the game everyone was looking at was the Canada vs. USA game. The game was one of the biggest of the year as the Canadians and Americans had always put on great games against each other as two of the biggest rivals in the tournament. The game was a close one and would mean the difference in the leaders of the pool. The game was back and forth and the Canadians would go down once again at the start of the game but would not give up. They would eventually get the win over the Americans and would take the first place spot in the pool. With that the matchups were set as the new system would see the top four teams in each pool make the playoffs but earning a tougher or easier path based on their standing. The Swedes and Canadians will get what seems to be the easier path although both will have to make sure not to overlook their opponents. Canada will take on Switzerland while Sweden will take on Slovakia in the quarter-finals. Then the Finns would get somewhat rewarded for their second place finish as they will take on the Czech Republic in what should be a win, although it will be far from easy. The biggest matchup for the quarter-finals though will be the Americans taking on the Russians. Russia would lose two games and for that would be put in third place for Pool B and will take on a very tough team in the Americans. The Americans will seemingly have the toughest path to the medals as they will have to take on one of the best teams in the tournament in Russia. Of course any game is tough at this point though as one mistake can mean the difference between playing in the medals or going home early as everything gets more important with the start of a new year.

 

Scores:
Czech Republic 4 – 1 Slovakia
– The bitter rivals would face off once again this year and this time it truly meant something as the Czechs needed a win to make the playoffs while the Slovakians would have loved to kick them out of the playoffs but it was not to be as the Czechs earned the win

Sweden 3 – 2 Russia
– The Russians were trying to recover from their first loss and Andrei Vasilevski did everything he could but it was not enough to get the win as the Swedes took the win and an undefeated round robin to the top of Pool B

Canada 3 – 2 USA
– The Canadians have yet to score the first goal in a game this year in the tournament and pre-tournament, that would continue as the Americans went ahead early but the Canadians fought back to win the game in the third period in another classic

Switzerland 4 – 3 Finland (SO)
– the Finnish team only needed a point to clinch the second place spot in the pool and many believed they would easily get it but that was not the case as the Finns would meet a challenge and would get the tying goal in the third to force overtime and get the point

 

Standings:

Pool A:
1. Canada (10)
2. USA (9)
3. Czech Republic (5)
4. Slovakia (3)
5. Germany (3)

Pool B:
1. Sweden (12)
2. Finland (7)
3. Russia (6)
4. Switzerland (5)
5. Norway (0)

 

Quarter-Finals:
USA vs. Russia (Thursday January 2nd; 6:00 am ET)
– The Americans seem to have the toughest test in the Quarter-Finals and the Russians are hoping to prove that sentiment right as they hope to recover from two straight losses to win and earn at least a chance at a medal

Finland vs. Czech Republic (Thursday January 2nd; 8:30 am ET)
– The Finns would earn their second place spot but just barely and for it they get the Czech Republic that should be able to be beaten but are not a team to overlook as the Finns still need to be on their game if they want to win

Canada vs. Switzerland (Thursday January 2nd; 11:00 am ET)
– The Canadians have not had the best tournament but they still found themselves at the top spot in the pool and they will take that and hopefully not get too ahead of themselves to win a game that they should and not get surprised in the quarters

Sweden vs. Slovakia (Thursday January 2nd; 1:30 pm ET)
– Sweden looks like the class of the tournament this year but the Slovakians have been known for their big upsets as the Swedes have to stay concentrated and avoid the upset to move on to the Semi-finals

Relegation:
Germany vs. Norway (Thursday January 2nd; 5:00 am ET)
– The Relegation series starts of in the best of three series as the Germans and Norwegians look to stay in the top tier of the tournament and avoid relegation with both teams trying to take first blood in the three game series

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