2015 World Juniors Report: Day 4

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The round robin is beginning to wind down as teams have limited games left before the playoff rounds begin. Day 4 in the tournament marked a tie for teams to separate themselves and clear up the playoff picture before New Year’s Eve. December 31st marks the final day of the round robin and often marks the biggest games of the tournament. These New Year’s Eve games are generally between the two biggest teams in each group. As that day approaches teams look to position themselves in order to be able to win the group on that final day. As the top teams were looking to position themselves near the top of the groups the biggest battle is coming at the bottom of the groups. With the top teams almost set for the playoffs there is not much left to decide at the top of each group. Day 4 saw the Swedes and Russians solve their group as they faced each other with the Swedes coming out on top in a close game where the Swedes scored twice in the third period. The win for Sweden sent them to the first place spot while keep the Russians away from the top spot. With only one game left on their schedule the Russians can’t take first place but the Swiss can. If they can win their next two games including one against the Swedes the Swiss will take first place. In Group A the battle is between the Americans and the Canadians after both teams won in Day 4 setting up a winner take all match on New Year’s Eve. The biggest battles are near the bottom though as teams try to avoid relegation in somewhat of a surprising matchup for either group. Germany and Denmark are where many though they would be at this point in the tournament. They are sitting at the bottom of the groups and set to face off in the relegation round. They could both get out of the relegation round though as the remaining games become that much more important. The Germans are only a point away from the Finns. They have two more games left in their schedule while the Slovaks and the Finns awaiting them. If they can win both games they can take fourth place and force the Finns into the relegation round. It is not going to be an easy path for a team that has yet to score a goal in the tournament but they still have a chance at getting out of the relegation round. In Group B it is a little more of a battle as both the Czech Republic and Denmark are tied at the bottom of the group. Both teams have one more game to try to get a win and earn the fourth place spot to avoid relegation. The Czechs beat the Danes in Day 4 getting the upper hand in the relegation battle. The only issue for them is that they have to face one of the best teams in the tournament in Russia. The final game for the Czech Republic will be on New Year’s Eve when they face Russia and by that time they will know if they have to win to stay in. In Day 5 the Danes will take on the Swiss in a game that will solidify their future. A loss to Switzerland means that the Danes are out of the playoffs and in the relegation round. A win against Switzerland means that the Danes are still alive and will be watching the Czechs closely when they take on the Russians. If the Czechs lose and the Danes win Czech Republic is put in the relegation round whereas a loss by the Danes puts them in the relegation. As the round robin winds down there is still plenty to play for, for these teams with only two more games left for teams to find out where they stand. There are plenty of battles that will come down to the wire in these final games as the tournament is only getting better with the playoffs right around the corner.

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Day 4:
Czech Republic 4 – 3 Denmark
– The Czech Republic surprisingly got their first win of the tournament as they had lost games that many though they would win but the Danes did not go down easy as they kept pace forcing the game to overtime where David Pastrnak put the game away for the Czechs

USA 3 – 0 Slovakia
– The Americans made sure that their New Year’s Eve game against the rival Canadians meant something as they beat the Slovaks and moved into second place with a chance to move into first place with a win against Canada

Sweden 3 – 2 Russia
– The Russians and Swedes took the important game a little early this year as they essentially played for first place in the Group B and the Swedes came out with the win and will need to fend of the Swiss to keep first place

Canada 4 – 1 Finland
– The Canadians got their first true test of the tournament in facing the Finns in what turned out to be a very fast game with plenty of chances for either team and Zach Fucale and Sam Reinhart proving to be the difference for the Canadians

Day 5:
Switzerland vs. Denmark (Tuesday December 30th; 5:00 pm ET)
– Both teams need this win but for much different reasons as the Swiss need to win in order to set up a first place showdown on New Year’s Eve with the Swedes while the Danes need to win to have a chance at staying out of the relegation round

Slovakia vs. Germany (Tuesday December 30th; 8:00 pm ET)
– The Germans need this game if they are to get out of relegation as they must win and find some scoring to have a chance while the Slovaks look to solidify their spot in the third place spot of Group A

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