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WJC: Day Three Recap

by Avery Buye / Calgary Flames

Sweden 4 Switzerland 3 (SO) (3:30pm MST @ Scotiabank Saddledome)

Despite the notable absence of Sven Baertschi following the first period, Switzerland dug deep to tie things up in the dying minutes of the third against Sweden. However, Switzerland would only walk away with a single point in Pool A preliminary standings, as they ended up falling 4-3 in the shoot out.

Swiss head coach, Manuele Celio said that he believes Baertschi to have an upper-body injury. No further details were available at the time.

The opening goal of the game came for Sweden on the lone power play of the first frame. A well-executed pass from along the sideboards found Max Friberg in front of the net as he sent the puck sailing over the left pad of goaltender Lukas Meili.

Joel Vermin recorded the first goal of the tournament for Team Switzerland 85:15 into their World Junior preliminary round to put the teams at even.

Sweden restored their one-goal lead as a shot from the point, resulting from a clean faceoff win, was deflected in. Special teams played a crucial role in the first 40 minutes as all three goals were scored on the power play.

A rare rebound by the Swiss netminder padded Sweden's lead to 3-1 as Ludvig Rensfeldt tapped in a pass across the blue paint by Erik Thorell.

With just over seven minutes remaining, Swiss forward Vermin managed to draw the game to within one with his second of the afternoon.

A "Go Swiss Go" chant by the Scotiabank Saddledome crowd sparked the equalizer with 2:04 remaining. Defenceman, Dean Kukan turned on the jets, powering his way through on the left side and roofed it over Johan Gustafsson.

Friberg and Sebastian Collberg capitalized on Sweden's first two shoot out attempts, with Switzerland unable to put one through.

Swiss goalkeeper Meili wracked up 50 saves in the loss, with winning backstop Gustafsson stopping 24 shots.

Russia 3 Slovakia 1 (8:00pm MST @ Scotiabank Saddledome)

Though Slovakia kept it close, Team Russia proved too much to handle as they recorded the 3-1 victory to move atop early Pool A standings.

It was Slovakia that emerged from the first period unscathed with a 1-0 lead, although the Russians appeared to be largely in command. With less than a minute remaining in the opening stanza, Milos Bubela put a brief halt to Russian momentum with an unassisted marker.

It did not take long for the Russians to even the score, with Igor Ozhiganov notching the tying goal only 4:11 into the second.

The 1-1 tie held until the third period, when Team Russia got their second puck past the Slovak netminder 1:45 into the frame thanks to Mikhail Naumenkov. They would add another tally for good measure to close out the game.

Both goaltenders put up impressive numbers with Juraj Simboch of Slovakia stopping 37 shots and Andrei Makarov managing 31 saves.

FINLAND 4 USA 1 (1:30 pm @ Rexall Place in Edmonton, Alberta)

Team Finland upset the favoured Team USA 4-1 in a hard fought battle on day three of the World Junior Hockey Championships on Wednesday.

To say that this game was an upset is an understatement. Very few people would have predicted a Finnish victory, but that is exactly what happened.

After a tough opening loss to Team Canada, the Fins were looking to redeem themselves and that was apparent from the opening face off. The Americans fired 39 shots at the Finns but were only able to put one by Finnish goalie, Sami Aittokallio who was recognized for his efforts with the player of the game award.

Miikka Salomaki opened the scoring for Finland in the second period to fire up the already pro Finnish crowd at Rexall Place. The Americans responded early in the third period, but were unable to stop the Finns who went on to tally three more to round out the afternoon.

Calgary Flames prospect, Markus Granlund made his mark with an assist on the game winning goal and generated several good scoring chances playing on a line with his brother Mikael, a Minnesota Wild prospect.

Finland will now try to carry that momentum into a match against Denmark on Friday at 6:00 pm at Rexall Place in Edmonton.

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