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WJC Update

by Julie Robenhymer /

The 2017 IIHF World Junior Championship concluded the preliminary round last night and the quarterfinal match-ups have been determined.

Joey Anderson and Team USA defeated Blake Speers, Michael McLeod and Team Canada yesterday to remain undefeated and earn the top seed in Group B and a date with Switzerland in tomorrow's quarterfinal. Canada will face Czech Republic.

Ygor Rykov and Team Russia finished third in Group B and will face Denmark, which is making its third consecutive appearance in the quarterfinals and first as the second seed with wins over Czech Republic and Finland in Group A. Sweden finished atop Group A and will play Slovakia in the quarters.

All games will air live on NHL Network. Here's the schedule: 

Denmark vs Russia - 1pm
Sweden vs Slovakia - 3:30pm
USA vs Switzerland - 5:30pm
Canada vs Czech Republic - 8pm

You might notice the defending champions, Finland, are missing from this group. That's because they lost their first three games of the tournament, finished last in Group A and will face Latvia in a best-of-three series in the relegation round. The winner stays in the top group next year. The loser goes down to Division 1A and will be replaced in next year's tournament by Belarus, which won this year's 1A championship.

Since the start of the World Junior Championship 41 years ago, Finland has never finished lower than 7th. Their inclusion in the relegation round was so disappointing, the national federation fired their head coach and replaced him with the coach of their U18 team for the duration of the tournament, starting with yesterday's 2-0 win over the Swiss - a game that had no bearing on the standings for Finland, only pride.

Looking ahead, the winner of USA-SUI will play the winner of DEN-RUS and the winner of SWE-SVK will play the winner of CAN-CZE in the semifinals on Wednesday. The bronze and gold medal games will be on Thursday. All four games will air in their entirety on NHL Network.

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