2014 World Junior Update (Medals)

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The final day of the World Juniors would determine the best teams in the world and after a few surprises it would all come down to two bitter rivals to determine the gold medal. But before the gold medal game there were two more games that were needed to figure out the rest of the rankings. First was the final relegation game in a new system that would see a best-of-three series between the Germans and the Norwegians. Norway had opened the series with a win by what seemed to be a distracted German team that was undisciplined and was not into the game. The Germans would come back in the second game to even the series and looked much closer to what many expected them to from halfway through the second period of the game. The final day of the tournament would see the two teams face off once again in an important game for both teams. The Germans would come out on top of the game and would stay in the top division for another year. Meanwhile Norway would see their hopes of staying in the top division crushed as they were the newest team to join the top 10 teams but will find their spot taken by Denmark next year. With the relegation figured out it was time for the medal rounds as the Russians and the Canadians faced off for the bronze medal game for the second year in a row. Both teams are always expected to win gold so a second year in a row in the bronze medal game was more a chance to save face than to earn a victory. Both teams would look better in this game than in their semi-finals game but the Canadians would continue to struggle finishing their chances with Andrei Vasilevski standing tall in net. The Russians would do a better job of finishing as they would go ahead 2-0 in the first period putting the Canadians down early. Canada would fight for the rest of the game but they would only get by Vasilevski once and could not even the score. The Russians would take their second straight bronze medal in what is not the finish they want but still a top three showing. The Canadian would finish out of the medals for the second year in a row marking the worst stretch in Canadian Junior hockey since 1979-1981 when they would not win a medal for three years in a row. With the rest of the final rankings figured out the host nation would take on their archrival and neighbours Finland for the gold medal. For Finland it was a chance to go from finishing in 7th place in 2013 to first in 2014 while the Swedes were looking for a gold medal at home after losing the gold medal last year. The Finns would get out ahead early in the first period and would immediately make an entire country nervous. The Swedes entered the game as the consensus best team in the tournament this year. They looked like the best team on paper before the tournament and would prove to be the best in the tournament as the only undefeated team. The Finns were the underdogs and were not supposed to compete with the Swedes but that would change when they opened the scoring. Now the Finns were showing that fight they showed against the Canadians in the semi-finals and were not going to back down from the mighty Swedes. Sweden would tie the game up in the second period but like the Finns had done before they would answer only 1 minute and 15 seconds after scoring their second goal and going ahead again. Of course the Swedes were considered the best team for a reason and they would continue putting on pressure with plenty of opportunities in the 3rd period after the Finns got into penalty trouble. The Swedes would get that tying goal and the script was written to send these two archrivals to overtime for regional and international bragging rights. In a back and forth period it would be the player who many believed should have been better in this tournament who would win the game. Rasmus Ristolainen had not had the best tournament but he was getting better in every game and in this game he would walk in from the blueline and fight his way in front of the night to slide the puck underneath Oscar Dansk’s pad to give Finland the gold medal. The Finns would win their first medal since 2006 and their first gold medal since 1998. The Finnish win would also be the 5th different country to win the tournament since 2009 at the end of the Canadian 5-peat. The parity was shown better than ever this year as another country stands at the top of the tournament once again and the rest are left to figure it out before they make the trip to Toronto and Montreal for the 2015 tournament.

 

Gold Medal:
Finland 3 – 2 Sweden (OT)
– The Finns were not going to bow to the team that everyone thought would be better as they never trailed the Swedes all game and took the win in overtime winning their first gold medal since 1998 while the Swedes lost their second gold medal game in a row

Bronze Medal:
Russia 2 – 1 Canada
– The Russians and Canadians were both frustrated that they had not made it to the gold medal game but they were both looking to at least finish the game tournament with a medal as they faced off for the second time in two years in the bronze medal game with the same result

Relegation:
Germany 3 – 1 Norway
– The Germans were supposed to win this series and were supposed to be better than they were but the Norwegians wouldn’t go down without a fight as they pushed the Germans to the third and deciding game but couldn’t hold on to stay in the top division

 

Final Standings:
1. Finland [Gold]
2. Sweden [Silver]
3. Russia [Bronze]
4. Canada
5. USA
6. Czech Republic
7. Switzerland
8. Slovakia
9. Germany
10. Norway [Relegated]

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