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Posted On Sunday, 01.05.2014 / 5:16 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship blog

Sweden's Forsberg named MVP at WJC

Rasmus Ristolainen, who scored the golden goal midway through overtime to give Finland a 3-2 victory against Sweden in the gold medal game at the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship on Sunday, was also awarded the Directorate Award for best defenseman at the 11-day event.

Ristolainen finished the tournament with three goals and a plus-1 rating in five games. He was sidelined early in the tournament with the flu, but certainly made up for lost time when it mattered most as the Finns celebrated their first gold medal since 1998.

The Directorate's Most Valuable Player Award and Top Forward Award were given to Sweden center Filip Forsberg, who finished with four goals, 12 points and a plus-3 rating. The Nashville Predators prospect is the first Swede to be honored as an MVP since the awards were introduced in 2004.

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Posted On Saturday, 01.04.2014 / 3:19 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship blog

Dansk's heroics lead Sweden into WJC final

Oskar Sundqvist scored the decisive goal early in the third period, and goalie Oscar Dansk made it stand with a spectacular 26-save performance, to lead the Swedish National Junior Team to a 2-1 victory against Russia in the semifinal round of the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship on Saturday before a crowd of 11,725 at Malmo Arena in Malmo, Sweden.

Sweden advanced to its third straight gold medal match and will play Finland, which defeated Canada 5-1. The championship round is scheduled Sunday at 1 p.m. ET (NHLN-US) at Malmo Arena. Tre Kronor will look to win gold on home ice for the first time in its history, having come up short in 1979, 1984, 1993, 2000 and 2007.

Russia will face Canada in the bronze medal game at 9 a.m. ET (NHLN-US) on Sunday.

"I think we played pretty good," Sweden forward Alexander Wennberg told the IIHF website. "Russia's a great team. At the end, it was tough. They had a lot of scoring chances against us. But we had a nice game and I think we deserved the win."

Sweden has won nine of its past 10 meetings against Russia, dating back to 2008. Additionally, six have been decided by one goal, including a shootout when Russia won gold in 2011, and two in overtime when Sweden won gold in 2012. The host nation also earned a 3-2 win in preliminary-round play on New Year's Eve.

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Posted On Saturday, 01.04.2014 / 1:14 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship blog

German forward Laub suspended one game

Forward Lukas Laub of the German National Junior Team was suspended one game by the International Ice Hockey Federation disciplinary panel Saturday for his hit on Norway defenseman Erlend Lesund on Friday in Game 2 of the relegation round at the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship at Malmo Isstadion in Sweden.

Laub will miss the final game for his country as a result of the suspension that occurred in the second period of Germany's 4-3 win. Germany and Norway play in the third and final game of the relegation round on Sunday at 6 a.m. ET to determine which team will remain in the top level at the 2015 WJC in Toronto and Montreal. The best-of-3 series is tied, 1-1.

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Posted On Friday, 01.03.2014 / 3:35 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship blog

Germany forces deciding relegation game vs. Norway

Leon Draisaitl scored two goals, including the game-winner midway through the third period, to rally Germany to a 4-3 victory against Norway in Game 2 of the relegation round at the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship at Malmo Isstadion, in Malmo, Sweden.

The victory sets up a one-game showdown Sunday in the best-of-3 series that will determine which team will remain in the top division at the 2015 WJC. The loser will be relegated to the Division I tournament. 

Game time is 6 a.m. ET.

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Posted On Thursday, 01.02.2014 / 8:54 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship blog

Semifinals: Sweden vs. Russia; Canada vs. Finland

The semifinal round of the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship will take the spotlight Saturday when Sweden plays Russia and Canada battles Finland at Malmo Arena in Malmo, Sweden.

The survivors will meet in the gold-medal game slated for Sunday at 1 p.m. ET (NHLN-US). The bronze-medal game is scheduled for 9 a.m. ET on Sunday.

Canada is making its 16th consecutive appearance in the tournament semifinals. Sweden is making its eighth straight semifinal-round appearance, and this will mark the fourth straight for Russia. Finland failed to advance to the medal round at the 2013 WJC, and this is only the second time in eight years the country will have a chance to play for a medal.

A new champion is guaranteed Sunday since Russia beat the United States, the defending gold medalist, 5-3 in the quarterfinal round Thursday. In other quarterfinal action Sweden defeated Slovakia 6-0; Canada defeated Switzerland 4-1; and Finland defeated Czech Republic 5-3.

Here is a closer look at the semifinal matchups Saturday:

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Posted On Thursday, 01.02.2014 / 1:46 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship blog

Russia rides power-play goals to WJC semifinals

Russia defenseman Nikita Zadorov scored two second-period power-play goals to help rally his team to a 5-3 victory against the United States in the quarterfinals of the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship at Malmo Isstadion in Malmo, Sweden on Thursday.

The triumph enables Russia to advance to the semifinals on Saturday against the winner of the quarterfinal later Thursday between Sweden and Slovakia (1:30 p.m. ET, NHLN-US). The Russians lost 3-2 to Sweden in the final game of the preliminary round in the Group B pool Tuesday.

"We want to play Sweden," Zadorov told the IIHF website. "It was a close game last time and we're going to watch some video and play better."

After earning medals in two of the past three World Junior tournaments, including the gold at the 2013 WJC in Ufa, Russia, the Americans will go home this year without a medal.

Stefan Matteau had a goal and an assist, and Ryan Hartman and Nicolas Kerdiles also scored for the U.S. Goalie Jon Gillies made 20 saves.

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Posted On Thursday, 01.02.2014 / 1:35 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship blog

Discipline, penalty kill send U.S. home early from WJC

The trip home this year for the United States National Junior Team will not be nearly as memorable as the one the team made last year.

After celebrating a third gold medal at the 2013 IIHF World Junior Championship, the United States will arrive home empty-handed in 2014 after dropping a 5-3 quarterfinal game against Russia on Thursday at Malmo Isstadion in Malmo, Sweden.

"It's definitely disappointing," U.S. forward Ryan Hartman told NHL.com. "We came in with a goal to win gold and obviously fell short. It's a learning experience for the guys coming back next year; it's a good learning tool for them."

Hartman, U.S. captain Riley Barber and goalie Jon Gillies were the three returnees from the team that won the gold last year in Ufa, Russia. Hartman pointed to struggles on the penalty kill that led to the early dismissal this year.

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Posted On Wednesday, 01.01.2014 / 6:43 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship blog

U.S. ready for quarterfinal game vs. Russia

The United States National Junior Team will look to rebound from its first loss at the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship when it faces Russia in the quarterfinal round of the tournament Thursday (6 a.m. ET, NHLN-US, NHL.com) at Malmo Arena in Sweden.

The Americans are 3-4-0 against Russia in the past 10 World Junior tournaments, including a 2-1 preliminary-round loss at the 2013 WJC in Ufa, Russia. The U.S. has six wins and 20 losses against Russia in all-time at the WJC, though three of the victories have come in the past seven meetings.

The last meeting in the quarterfinal round was a 6-1 Russia win in 2002. In the last medal-round match between the teams, Russia won 4-2 in bronze-medal game at the 2008 WJC.

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Posted On Tuesday, 12.31.2013 / 9:10 AM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship blog

U.S. readies for Canada with Group A top seed on line

The United States and Canada are prepared to renew acquaintances in preliminary-round action of the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship at the Malmo Isstadion in Sweden on Tuesday (11:30 a.m. ET, NHLN-US, NHL.com).

The top seed in Group A is on the line, meaning a quarterfinal-round match Thursday with the fourth-place team in Group B is at stake.

The United States enters atop Group A with three victories and nine points, outscoring its opposition 19-4. Canada needs to defeat the U.S. in regulation to gain the necessary three points to grab the top seed. Canada has two regulation wins and one shootout loss for seven points.

"I think right now the guys know we're playing for the top seed and it doesn't matter if we're playing Canada or the Czechs or Sweden … that's our No. 1 focus," U.S. coach Don Lucia told NHL.com. "I think it'll be good that we play a good, quality team like Canada because it will help us get ready for that quarterfinal game when it's single elimination.

"Playing a good opponent with high-end talent and full of first-round draft picks (11) means there's little margin for error. Every player must be on top of his game."

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Posted On Monday, 12.30.2013 / 3:56 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship blog

Petan scores twice as Canada rallies past Slovakia

There isn't a player in the Canadian Hockey League who can match the offensive prowess of Nicolas Petan of the Western Hockey League's Portland Winterhawks over the past two seasons.

That success has certainly carried over into the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship as a member of the Canadian National Junior Team.

Petan, who has 186 points in the past 103 games to lead all scorers in the CHL since the start of the 2012-13 campaign, scored two of the biggest goals of his career on Monday to help rally Canada to a 5-3 victory against Slovakia in preliminary round action before 2,558 fans at Malmo Isstadion in Sweden.

After spotting Slovakia a 3-1 lead in the second, the Canadians roared back to score four unanswered goals to earn their second win in the Group A bracket. Canada will conclude play in Group A against the United States on New Year's Eve at 11:30 a.m. ET (NHLN-US, NHL.com). Slovakia will meet Czech Republic in its final preliminary-round match on Tuesday at 7:30 a.m. ET.

"This win was a huge boost of confidence for us," forward Jonathan Drouin told TSN.ca. "Every team is good in this tournament and we had a great comeback by our team. But it's behind us and now we have a big game [against the United States]."

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