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2012 World Junior Championship

In defeat, Campbell savors WJC moment

Sunday, 01.01.2012 / 3:49 PM / 2012 World Junior Championship

Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer

CALGARY -- It really didn't matter to U.S. National Junior Team goalie Jack Campbell that those thousands of Canadian fans in attendance to see their local heroes battle the Americans continually chanted his last name with sarcastic undertones in the final preliminary-round match of the World Junior Championship at Rexall Place.
It began when the starting lineups were first announced and continued right through the final seconds -- "Cammmpbell, Cammmpbell, Cammmpbell."

He expected as much and, really, wouldn't have had it any other way.

It could actually be considered a term of endearment when you get right down to it. It was Campbell who broke those Canadian hearts two years ago in Saskatoon in the gold medal match -- a game these fans won't forget no matter how many medals are garnered this point forward.
"Actually, with about a minute-and-a-half left, I was on the bench and just sitting there listening to it and, as weird as this may sound, I'm so thankful that the fans were this involved in the hockey," a gracious Campbell told the media following his team's 3-2 loss to Team Canada on Saturday.

Swedes rally to beat Russia 4-3 in OT

Sunday, 01.01.2012 / 1:00 AM / 2012 World Junior Championship

Aaron Vickers - Correspondent

CALGARY -- How Swede it is to be Joakim Nordstrom.

Nordstrom scored the game winner at 2:46 of overtime to lift Sweden to a 4-3 come-from-behind Saturday night at the Scotiabank Saddledome, clinching first place in Group A at the World Junior Championship and earning a bye directly into the semifinals.

After the Swedes overcame a 3-0 deficit to force overtime on Max Friberg's goal with 40 seconds left in regulation, Friberg lugged the puck up the ice from his own zone before lifting a backhand saucer pass onto the stick of Patrik Nemeth. He one-timed a blast that was deflected by Nordstrom over the blocker of Russian goalie Andrei Vasilevski to give Sweden the victory.

The Russians, who had allowed just one goal in winning their first three games, will play the Czech Republic in the quarterfinals.

Canadians hold off Team USA 3-2

Saturday, 12.31.2011 / 11:12 PM / 2012 World Junior Championship

Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer

EDMONTON -- The Canadian National Junior Team can breathe a sigh of relief -- and perhaps celebrate for a few hours.

On the same night the Canadians finished unbeaten among the five-team Group B pool, they also defeated their archrivals across the border for the eighth time in the last nine meetings.

That being said, the Canadians needed to exert every ounce of energy to stave off a furious third-period rally by Team USA en route to a 3-2 victory in the final game of preliminary-round action before 16,647 at Rexall Place.

Slovakia rally to beat Swiss, make quarterfinals

Saturday, 12.31.2011 / 8:44 PM / 2012 World Junior Championship

Aaron Vickers - Correspondent

CALGARY -- Slovakia pushed its way into the quarterfinals of the World Junior Championship with a come-from-behind 6-4 victory over Switzerland on Saturday night at the Scotiabank Saddledome.

All it took was a little Chovan.

Matus Chovan completed a hat trick with the game-winner during a four-goal third period that punched the Slovaks' ticket for a quarterfinal date with Finland on Jan. 2. It’s the first time since 2009 that Slovakia has advanced to the quarterfinals; the Slovaks were eighth in each of the last two years.

After Swiss forward Tanner Richard made it 4-2 just 47 seconds into the third, Slovakia answered in a big way.

Finns beat Czechs for third straight win

Saturday, 12.31.2011 / 6:23 PM / 2012 World Junior Championship

Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer

EDMONTON - The Finnish National Junior Team has visions of making up for last year's sixth-place showing at the 2012 IIHF World Junior Championship.
The Finns won their third straight game in the Group B preliminary-round pool, a 4-0 triumph against the Czech Republic at Rexall Place on Saturday, to finish second among its five-team field.
It's actually familiar territory for the blue and white.
After placing second in Group A last year, the Finns dropped a 3-2 shootout decision to Switzerland in the fifth-place game to finish sixth -- its worst finish in six years. The Czechs were coming off an emotional 5-2 victory against the U.S. less than 24 hours earlier. It also didn't help that the Czechs were without the services of standout defenseman David Musil, who was a surprise scratch. According to TSN, Musil suffered a concussion.

Wedgewood makes an immediate impact at WJC

Saturday, 12.31.2011 / 1:31 PM / 2012 World Junior Championship

Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer

EDMONTON - Pretty amazing how goalie Scott Wedgewood was able to become the talk of a nation following Wednesday's debut in the World Junior Championship for the Canadian National Junior Team.
After being told he'd get the nod against the Czech Republic on Tuesday night, the usually cool and collected "Wedgy" went to bed with visions of having an immediate impact for his country.
He did.

The 19-year-old native of Etobicoke, Ont., made 26 saves to help lead the Canadians to a 5-0 victory. Not only that, he assisted on Ryan Strome's second-period goal that extended Canada's lead to two.

Pride all that's at stake when USA faces Canada

Friday, 12.30.2011 / 10:37 PM / 2012 World Junior Championship

Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer

EDMONTON -- Now that the anticipated New Year's Eve showdown between the U.S. National Junior Team and Team Canada in Group B preliminary-round play of the 2012 World Junior Championship has been "relegated" to just another game on the schedule, what could possibly motivate the players?
"One word … pride," U.S. coach Dean Blais said after his team suffered a 5-2 loss to the Czech Republic on Friday.
"Even though you're nicked up, you have to pull up the skate blades and go again. We don't have a whole lot of time for recovery and it won't be easy knowing that no matter how you play, you won't get a chance to win a medal and that's why we're here."

Swedes dominate Slovakia in 9-1 win

Friday, 12.30.2011 / 8:54 PM / 2012 World Junior Championship

Aaron Vickers - Correspondent

CALGARY -- The Swedes came, saw and conquered Slovakia.

Sweden did what was expected, handing Slovakia a crushing 9-1 defeat at the Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary on Friday night, outshooting their opponent 55-15 in the process.

Taking a 4-1 lead into the third period, Sweden ensured there would be no collapse after adding five more goals over the course of the final 20 minutes to move to 3-0-0 on the tournament and ensure an important date on New Year’s Eve with Russia.

Czechs stun U.S. behind Mrazek's goaltending

Friday, 12.30.2011 / 5:55 PM / 2012 World Junior Championship

Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer

EDMONTON -- How big was the Czech Republic's stirring 5-2 decision over the U.S. National Junior Team in Group B preliminary-round play at the 2012 IIHF World Junior Championship?
"Even the president of the Czech Ice Hockey Association [Tomas Kral] called to say how happy he was," assistant coach Jiri Fischer said. "It's funny how hockey can bring a country together."
The gritty Czechs rallied behind 16,000-plus supporters and a never-say-die approach to earn perhaps their biggest win at the WJC since a gold-medal victory over Finland in 2001. The win clinched a medal-round berth for the Czechs, who entered this year's event having finished seventh at the WJC the previous three seasons.

U.S. still has chance to win Group B

Friday, 12.30.2011 / 1:44 PM / 2012 World Junior Championship

Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer

EDMONTON -- So now that preliminary-round play in the 2012 IIHF World Junior Championship is coming to a finish, perhaps now is as good a time as any to provide a brief primer on what it all means.

The function of the preliminary round for each country was to establish seeding in each of the 10-team groups, A and B. After the four-game, round-robin schedule, the three teams with the most points in each group at the end of group play advance to the medal round at Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary beginning Jan. 2.
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