2015 World Juniors Report: Day 3

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Day 3 was not a particularly active one for the World Juniors but it was a chance to send a message for the four teams in action. The Juniors are a tournament that brings a lot of excitement and yet is over so quickly. There is a short time between the start and end of the tournament and one game can change everything. Before teams know it they have found their way out of contention or played their way into contention. Losses can be devastating for teams but it has changed. The round robin has taken on a new meaning with the addition of another playoff team in each group. Now with five teams in each group and only one being eliminated from the playoffs the round robin is not the be all and end all of the tournament. Whereas in the past one or two losses could end a tournament for a team now it only matters in terms of positioning. That is not to say that it is any less of a disadvantage to lose a game or two as positioning can be a big difference. If a team finishes in the bottom two of the playoff teams In their group they will have to take on a much better team. Seeing as their truly only four main contenders for the gold medal there is a good chance that finishing at #3 or #4 in a group will translate to playing one of these teams. So despite a loss not meaning the end of a tournament any more it could mean a much tougher road to the medals for teams that can’t get started right away. That was almost true of two of the top contenders this year as the Americans and Russians struggled in their first games of the tournament. The Americans were expected to be one of the best teams in the tournament this year with a very deep lineup. When they faced the Finns that lineup struggled to produce and they were forced to a shootout by a team that many saw as taking a step backward this year. Meanwhile the Russians were forced to a shootout by the Danes who are expected to be a relegation team this year. The Russians don’t have their same punch that they are used to but they are still considered a good team so to be pushed to the brink against a much worse team was a shock. Both the Russians and Americans had a day off to think and change their approach before their second games as they tried to get back on track. They weren’t the only teams that saw the Day 3 games as important. Their opponents were also taking these games seriously as a chance to prove that they belong in the tournament. For the Germans it was a chance to recover from their loss in their first game of the tournament. As they took on the Americans they saw a team that might be primed for an upset and they were hoping to be the ones to do it with a big win that could go a long way to keeping them in the top tier and out of relegation. That would not come true though as the Americans easily got by the Germans in a show of just how good they can be. The 6-0 win over the Germans was a welcome sight for the Americans who got into the win column and found their way into second place in Group A. Meanwhile in Group B the Swiss were riding high after their game 1 win over the Czech Republic. They had made a statement in their first game beating a team many saw as better than them. They tried to do it again in their second game against the Russians who were clearly not the team they once were in their first game. If the Swiss could get the win they would show that they had entered the top of the tournament and were ready to compete. Clearly it wasn’t time though as the Russians’ offence reappeared pushing them to a 7-0 win in a much more familiar game for the powerhouse. The opportunity was missed for the Swiss and the Germans while the Americans and Russians found their groove again. They will need to keep this going as the games are only going to get tougher with the New Year’s Eve games approaching that will go a long way to determining the best teams in the tournament.

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Day 3:
Russia 7 – 0 Switzerland
– It was another Russian goaltender that stole the show in their second game as Switzerland came to play and put 37 shots on net all of which Igor Shestyorkin stopped to help the Russians to a convincing win in their second game of the tournament

USA 6 – 0 Germany
– The Americans were pushed to the brink in their first game but they proved why most consider them to be one of the best teams in the tournament as Dylan Larkin scored two goals and added an assist to give the Americans an easy win

Day 4:
Czech Republic vs. Denmark (Monday December 29th; 1:00 pm ET)
– The Czechs have not been able to get a win after two games and they will be looking to get that first win against the Danes because if they can’t they could be heading to relegation quickly while the Danes are trying to avoid that same fate

USA vs. Slovakia (Monday December 29th; 4:00 pm ET)
– The Americans showed that they are still one of the best teams in the tournament and they will look to do the same thing again as they take on the Slovaks who will try to get their second win of the tournament and improve their position

Sweden vs. Russia (Monday December 29th; 5:00 pm ET)
– The tournament begins to get tougher for the Russians and the Swedes as this will be their biggest game of the round robin, both can win this group and to get first place they need to beat the other in this game

Finland vs. Canada (Monday December 29th; 8:00 pm ET)
– The tournament really starts right now for the Canadians as they face their toughest tests of the year starting with the defending champions who are sure to bring their A game despite a loss to the Slovaks in their second game

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