NORTH AMERICA (4) vs. SWEDEN (3) - OT
The Swedes needed one point to secure a place in the semifinal round of the 2016 World Cup of Hockey, while the North Americans needed a regulation win. With both squads displaying the kind of poised tenacity it takes when the tournament is on the line, Wednesday's match was surely one to not miss.
The young guns struck first, with Auston Matthews and Vincent Trochek putting North America ahead 2-0 just 1:35 into the game. Swedish forward Filip Forsberg slowed the early onslaught with a marker of his own 8:24 into the stanza before both clubs traded tallies once more-Johnny Gaudreau for North America and Nicklas Backstrom for Sweden-before the furious frame came to a close.
The game would remain deadlocked at 3-2 until the third period, when Patrick Berglund notched the equalizer to eventually force overtime.
Perhaps some of the best, back-and-forth bonus hockey to be played occurred when the puck dropped on the three-on-three, five-minute frame. Both teams traded chances, but there could be only one victor.
All alone at the faceoff dot, Colorado Avalanche forward Nathan MacKinnon received a pass that set him up for a deke-alicious solo opportunity on netminder Henrik Lundqvist. MacKinnon drove the net, avoided a poke check and buried a backhander to take the victory.
"I saw his stick came up for a poke check and managed to beat that and get it up," he said after the win. "It was fun, a fun goal."
MacKinnon finished the match with the game-winner, six shots, one hit and first-star honors through 18:21 of playing time.
Both Gabriel Landeskog and Carl Soderberg skated for Team Sweden. Landeskog concluded the contest with two shots, two hits and 12:24 of ice time. Soderberg picked up an assist on the game-tying goal and had two shots, two hits and a minus-1 rating after 10:26 of play.
Despite the win, only Sweden secured a place in the next round. With a 1-1 record, Team North America will be all in on Team Finland today as it takes on Team Russia at 1 p.m. MT. Since Russia owns the head-to-head win, the under-23 club needs Finland to be victorious in order to move on.
Sweden faces Team Europe in the semifinals on Sunday, Sept. 25, at 11 a.m. MT.
CANADA (4) vs. EUROPE (1)
The dominant Canadian super squad secured a berth in the semifinal round with Wednesday's 4-1 finish over the European all-star team.
Like it's done for most of the event, Team Canada took control of the game early and never relented.
Sidney Crosby and Jonathan Toews delivered the death blow in the first period, amassing two tallies by the time the buzzer sounded for intermission.
European forward Marian Hossa countered 4:38 into the middle stanza, trying to rally his club back into the match, but his goal was the only one that the club could muster. Toews countered in the second and Logan Couture scored once more in the third to put the game out of reach.
Avalanche forward Matt Duchene found the scoresheet again on Wednesday, picking up a helper on the game-winning goal. He finished with the assist, one hit and two takeaways in 12:33 of ice time.
The Canadians play either the young North Americans or experienced Russians on Saturday, Sept. 24, at 5 p.m. MT.