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World Junior Championship Recap: Jan. 2

by Torie Peterson / Calgary Flames

Finland 6, Canada 5

Canada's medal hopes at the 2016 World Junior Championship came to an end on Saturday when they were edged 6-5 by Finland in the quarter-finals.

The Canadians jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first period, with goals from Travis Konecny and Dylan Strome, but Finnish forward Patrik Laine got his country on the board late in the period.

The two countries swapped leads in the middle frame; Antti Kalapudas tied up the game at 6:18, Lawson Crouse pulled Canada ahead 3-2 at 7:20, Aleksi Saarela made it a 3-3 affair at the 15:44 mark, and then Julius Nattinen gave Finland a 4-3 lead at 17:17.

Finnish netminder Veini Vehvilainen was relieved by Kaapo Kakhonen after Canada scored their third goal of the game. He allowed three goals on 10 shots.

Canada was able to make it a 4-4 game in the third period, thanks to Mitch Marner's power play goal, but the Finns kept pressing. Sebastian Aho made it 5-4 Finland at 4:21 of the period.

Keeping with the back-and-forth pace of the game, Marner scored his second power play goal of the period at 5:57 to tie it 5-5 but the Canadians ran into more penalty trouble and killed the momentum they had gained.

With Laine in the box for boarding, Jake Virtanen took two penalties -- tripping and slashing -- on the same play and then Joe Hicketts was called for delay of game shortly after.

On the five-on-three power play, Laine scored the game-winner and Canada was unable to find the back of the net in the final minutes of the game.

Defenceman Brandon Hickey, Calgary's third round pick in 2014, was held pointless in the loss. In five games, the Leduc, AB product had six shots on net and was a minus-one. Hickey was the lone collegiate player on Canada's roster this year.

Flames prospect Mason McDonald backed up Mackenzie Blackwood on Saturday. McDonald played in the first two games of the tournament, with Blackwood taking over in Canada's final three outings.

McDonald went 1-1-0 with a 2.52 GAA and a .861 save percentage at the tournament.

Sweden 6, Slovakia 0

Sweden ended Slovakia's tournament in commanding fashion, routing them 6-0 in the quarter-finals.

Adrian Kempe, Jens Looke, Axel Holmstrom, Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson, Alexander Nylander, and Christoffer Eh scored for Sweden while Linus Soderstrom picked up his second shutout at the tournament, turning aside all 17 shots he faced.

Flames prospect Adam Ollas Mattsson took one penalty in his country's win. In five games at the tournament, the defenceman has one goal, two points, four shots on net, and is a plus-three.

Sweden will now face Finland in the semi-finals on Jan. 4.

USA 7, Czech Republic 0

2016 draft-eligible forward Auston Matthews netted a hat trick in the USA's 7-0 win over the Czech Republic in the semi-finals. Matthews now leads the tournament with seven goals in five games.

The USA also received goals Nick Schmaltz, Christian Dvorak, Scott Eansor, and Alex Debrincat. American goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic made 28 saves in the shutout win.

The USA will square off against Russia in Monday's semi-finals.

Russia 4, Denmark 3

It was a back-and-forth affair between Russia and Denmark, with the Russians squeaking out a 4-3 victory in overtime.

Russia opened the scoring thanks to Yegor Korshkov's tally in the first period but Denmark answered back with Markus Jensen's equalizer early in the second stanza and then Thomas Olsen gave the Danes a lead later on in the second period.

Artur Lauta was able to even things up in the third period but Denmark would once again grab the lead when Emil Christensen scored at 14:36 to give Denmark a 3-2 lead.

Vladislav Kamenev would play the hero for Russia, tying the game with just 44 seconds left in regulation and then netting the game-winner in overtime.

"I want to say sorry to our parents," Calgary Hitmen forward Radel Fazleev told the IIHF website after the win. "It was really nervous, but we won and that’s what matters."

Russia will take on the USA in the semi-finals on Monday.

Switzerland 5, Belarus 1

The Swiss thumped Belarus in their first relegation round game on Saturday, picking up a 5-1 win. The two teams will meet again tomorrow for their second relegation game.

We haven't won anything yet. The game tomorrow is going to be huge for us, and we want to play our best game then," Timo Meier said the IIHF's website.

"We'd played against them before so we knew what to expect. And they haven't given up now."

Meier, Denis Malgin, Noah Rod, Damien Riat, and Julien Privet found the back of the net for Switzerland. Dmitri Buinitski scored Belarus' goal, a power play marker in the first period.

Switzerland had three goals disallowed in the victory; two were deemed to be kicked in while the other was scored while a Swiss player was in the crease.

The Swiss outshot the Belorussians 41-21 on Saturday.

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