The final day of round robin action at the World Junior Hockey Championship can be either a snoozer or full of excitement. There are either battles for seeding for the medal around or, well, there isn’t. Luckily for hockey fans, there were a ton of seeding battles still at hand on the last day – and Calgary Flames prospects factored into the games in a big way.
United States beat Finland 5-4
If you have the means to do so, go back and watch this one again as it was superb. The Americans had leads of 2-0, 3-1 and 4-2 but the Finns just kept coming. But they sound a way to win, as Adam Fox scored the game-winning goal late in the third to tilt this one.
Fox was excellent in this one. He had a goal and two assists, and was on four every American goal in the game. He had five shots and played 20:15, more than every defenseman on the team and behind only Brady Tkachuk, Casey Mittelstadt and Joey Anderson. He was heavily leaned on to be a difference-maker and he ended up being one. His hockey sense on the game-winning goal was excellent. He made a smart pass under the defensive red line, then got skating, beat out a forward who was covering him, called for (and received the pass) and beat Finnish goalie five-hole.
On the Finnish side, Juuso Valimaki was similarly all over this game. He had an assist and took a minor penalty, while he ended up playing 22:23 – only Miro Heiskanen played more. He was consistently dangerous and gave his team a chance. Eetu Tuulola had some good looks but didn’t get onto the scoresheet during the 12:35 that he played.
Slovakia beat Denmark 5-1
This one was close early but Denmark faded and Slovakia pulled away as the game went on. Adam Ruzicka had an assist and a penalty in 17:32 – only defender Marek Korencik played more. It was yet another solid game from Ruzicka.
Sweden beat Russia 5-4 in a shootout
With top spot in Group B on the line, this one was a slugfest. Linus Lindstrom played 16:32, about middle of the pack for the Swedes, but he had an assist and scored one of two Swedish goals in the shootout. It was another game where he was quietly good for long stretches and then made some key contributions to tilt the game.
The quarterfinals go on Tuesday and there are a lot of Flames playing in ’em:
- Finland (Valimaki/Tuulola) plays Czech Republic at 10 a.m. MT
- Canada (Dube) plays Switzerland at 2 p.m. MT
- Sweden (Lindstrom) plays Slovakia (Ruzicka) at 4 p.m. MT
- United States (Fox) plays Russia at 6 p.m. MT