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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).
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— Jordan Eberle on taking his game and the Edmonton Oilers to the next level