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Canada-Switzerland, Russia-Finland in quarterfinals

Saturday, 01.01.2011 / 12:03 PM / NHL Insider

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Canada-Switzerland, Russia-Finland in quarterfinals
The second step in the road to the 2011 World Junior Championship gold medal starts Sunday with a pair of quarterfinal matchups.
The second step in the road to the 2011 World Junior Championship gold medal starts Sunday with a pair of quarterfinal matchups.

In the first game, Canada faces Switzerland (3:30 p.m. ET, NHLN-US, TSN). It's the first time the teams have faced each other in medal-round play since the 2002 WJC semifinals, won 4-0 by Canada.

Canada is led by Brayden Schenn, the tournament leader with 7 goals and 14 points. He's 4 points shy of tying Canada's single-tournament record of 18 points, set by Dale McCourt in 1977.

The game also will feature a matchup of Portland Winterhawks teammates Ryan Johansen (Canada) and Nino Niederreiter (Switzerland), who also were taken fourth and fifth, respectively, at the 2010 Entry Draft.

Inti Pestoni leads Switzerland with 3 goals and 5 points.

The winner of that game will play the U.S. in the semifinals Monday (7:30 p.m. ET, NHLN-US, TSN).

In the other quarterfinal Sunday, Finland will play Russia (7:30 p.m., NHLN-US, TSN2).

Finland, led by goaltender Joni Ortio, a Calgary Flames prospect, has had an outstanding tournament. Recent struggles have seen Finland fighting just to advance to medal-round play -- they finished fifth last year, their best finish in the previous four tournaments. This year, however their only loss in preliminary-round play came against the U.S. in overtime on the opening night of the WJC.

Ortio stopped 80 of 84 shots in the preliminary round, and his 1.08 goals-against average and .952 save percentage both are second in the tournament. Erik Haula, a Minnesota Wild prospect, had 2 goals Friday against Slovakia and leads a balanced offense with 3 goals. Red Wings prospect Teemu Pulkkinen has a team-best 6 points.

They'll face a Russia team that lost its first two games of the tournament and needed a win Friday against the Czech Republic just to qualify for the medal round.

Russia defenseman Dmitri Orlov, a Washington Capitals prospect, leads the tournament with 7 assists

It'll mark the first time the teams have met in the medal round since the 2004 WJC quarterfinals, won by Finland 4-3.

The winner of the game will face Sweden in the second semifinal Monday (3:30 p.m. ET, NHLN-US, TSN).

The winners of Monday's semifinal games will meet in the gold-medal game on Wednesday (7:30 p.m. ET, NHLN-US, TSN). The losers will play Wednesday for the bronze medal (3:30 p.m. ET, NHLN-US, TSN).
Quote of the Day

We want to make sure that whoever makes our team really makes our team by earning it and not putting them in situations where they get preference because of their status as a first-round pick or whatever it might be. That's not going to happen. Everybody has to earn their way on our team.

— Columbus Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen on the team's prospects at development camp