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World Junior Championships Blog

by Staff Writer / Philadelphia Flyers

JAN. 5

SETTLING FOR SILVER

It was a dramatic finish in the gold medal game between Russia and Finland at the 2016 IIHF World Junior Championships.

Defenseman Ivan Provorov’s shot from the point was deflected past the Finnish goaltender with six seconds left in regulation to knot the game at 3-3 and force sudden death overtime for Russia.

It was Provorov’s second assist of the game and eighth in the entire tournament.

Shortly in overtime however, Finland scored to capture its second gold medal in three years. Provorov and teammate, Radel Fazleev, walk away from the tournament with a silver medal.

The seventh overall pick by the Flyers in the 2015 draft finished his second World Junior tournament with eight assists in seven games to tie for Russia’s lead in scoring, as well as rank third among all defensemen in the tournament.

Fazleev finished the tournament with a goal and two assists for three points, appearing in all seven games, to go along with a plus-minus rating of plus-3.

SWEDEN FALLS JUST SHORT OF BRONZE

Oskar Lindblom posted an assist and Felix Sandstrom got his second start of the tournament, making 21 saves, but Sweden fell short to the United States in the bronze medal game, dropping an 8-3 decision in Helsinki on Tuesday morning.

Lindblom finished this year’s World Juniors, the second of his career, with six points (3g-3a) in seven games, while Sandstrom ends his first World Junior tournament with a 1-1-0 record.

All told, the Flyers had a franchise record seven prospects, all draft picks in the last two years, appear in the tournament. The seven players were tied for the most any team in the NHL sent to the tournament this year.

The 2017 World Junior Championships return to North America with Montreal/Toronto hosting the annual post-holiday tournament

JAN. 4

PAIR GOING FOR GOLD

The 2016 World Junior Championships are down to the final two teams. After semifinal victories, Russia will take on the host country of Finland for the gold medal on Tuesday.

For the Flyers, Ivan Provorov and Radel Fazleev will look to bring home the gold medal after helping Russia earn a comeback win over the USA, 2-1. Provorov went scoreless in the semifinals, as did Fazleev, who recorded three shots on goal in the contest. Both players were on the ice in the final minutes of the game when Russia was clinging to the one-goal lead.

Scoring first didn’t mean anything in the semifinal round, as host nation Finland, also came back from a 1-0 deficit to earn a 2-1 victory over Sweden, who prior to Monday’s game had outscored the opposition, 25-5.

Oskar Lindblom did not factor into the lone goal for Sweden, but posted two shots in the game, while goaltender Felix Sandstrom did not see action as back up to Linus Soderstrom.

Sweden will now face off against the United States on Tuesday morning for the bronze medal at 9:00 a.m. ET on the NHL Network in the US.

Finland is looking for their second gold medal at the World Juniors in the last three years, defeating Sweden in the 2014 World Juniors.

Russia last won gold at the World Juniors held in 2011 at Buffalo, but has also medaled in the four tournaments since winning gold - taking home Silver in 2012 & 2015, while earning the bronze medal in 2013 & 2014.

The gold medal game is slated for 1:30 p.m. ET and can be viewed on the NHL Network in the United States.

JAN. 3

ON TO THE SEMI'S
Following quarterfinal action at the World Junior tournament in Finland, four Flyers prospects will be facing off in the semifinals and remain in their quest for gold.

Russia beat Denmark in dramatic fashion. With Denmark leading 3-2 in the final minute of regulation, Russia scored with 44 seconds left to force overtime. Ivan Provorov recorded an assist on that game-tying goal, then set up the game-winning goal in the extra session with a nice pass to feed Vladislav Kamanev in front of the net to give Russia a 4-3 victory.

Radel Fazleev helped set up the game-winner, as well as recording another assist in the contest.


Provorov now has six points, all assists, in five games of the tournament, which is tied for his country’s lead and ranks third among all defensemen. Fazleev has a goal and two assists and has appeared in all five games.

On the other side of the bracket, Sweden continued their dominance throughout the entire tournament with their third shutout in five games, posting a 6-0 win over Slovakia in the quarters to advance.

Oskar Lindblom recorded his third goal of the tournament to give Sweden a 2-0 lead. He now has four points (3g-1a) in five games.


Goaltender Felix Sandstrom is serving as back up for Linus Soderstrom in the tournament. Sandstrom appeared in one game, posting a shutout by stopped eight shots.

Sweden, who has outscored their opponent, 25-5, in the tournament, will now take on rival and host country Finland in the semifinals.

An exciting back-and-forth contest saw Finland skate away with a 6-5 victory over Team Canada. Travis Konecny recorded his first goal of the tournament to put the Canadians up 2-0, but Finland stormed back on several occasions as the two teams traded goals for most of the second and third period.


Konecny ends his tournament with a goal and an assist in five games, while defenseman Travis Sanheim recorded one helper in five outings for Canada.

Flyers fifth round pick in this year’s draft, David Kase, finished his second World Junior with one assist, after going scoreless in the quarterfinals as the Czech Republic fell to Team USA, 7-0, led by an Auston Matthews hat trick.

Both Sweden-Finland and the USA-Russia semifinals will take place on Monday, Jan. 4 in Helsinki. Winner plays for the gold medal, while the two losing teams will fight it out for the bronze medal.

JAN. 1

QUEST FOR GOLD BEGINS

The Prelims are finished and the quest for gold begins for all seven Flyers prospects at the World Juniors in Finland.

Oskar Lindblom and Felix Sandstrom’s Team Sweden comes in with the highest ranking after going a perfect 4-0-0 with all wins in regulation and two shut out victories, one of them by Sandstrom.

Lindblom posted two goals and an assist, playing in all four games in the prelims as Sweden will take on Slovakia, who went 1-3-0.

Ivan Provorov finished the prelim round third in scoring among all defensemen with four assists in four games, while Radel Fazleev had a goal and an assist in his first tournament. Russia finished atop Group B with a perfect 4-0-0 record, with one game decided in a shootout. They face off against Denmark, who also went 1-3-0.

In the other quarters, Team USA finished with a 3-1-0 mark and will take on David Kase and the Czech Republic, who finished with a 2-1-1 mark. Kase appeared in all four games with one assist and a plus-2 rating.

The last matchup will see Canada (2-2-0) face off against Finland (3-1-0). Travis Konecny had one assist and six shots on goal, while Travis Sanheim went scoreless with a plus-1 rating and five shots on goal. Both players appeared in all four games.

DEC. 30

STANDINGS STARTING TO TAKE SHAPE

Days 3 and 4 of the World Juniors saw more Flyers get on the scoreboard, most notably Oskar Lindblom, who recorded a goal and an assist in Sweden’s 5-0 win over Denmark on Wednesday. He would have added another tally in the game if it wasn’t for an incredible diving save by goaltender Thomas Lillie.

Watch Oskar Lindblom's great redirect goal to put Sweden up 3-0 on Denmark.

Although he wasn’t nearly as busy as his counterpart, Flyers third round pick, Felix Sandstrom, saw his first action of the tournament, stopping all eight shots he faced to record a shutout.

The victory already gives Sweden a clinch of Group A with nine points and a 3-0-0 record with all wins coming in regulation. Team USA has six points in three games, while Canada has five points in three games. Each will fight it out for second place in the preliminary round.

Over in the other division - Group B, David Kase and the Czechs ran their record to 2-0-1 and have seven points through three games, one point behind Russia, who are 3-0-0 with two regulation wins and eight points.

Kase was held scoreless on Wednesday, but had three shots and a plus-1 in their 5-3 win over Belarus.

 
David Kase during the national anthem.

Ivan Provorov added his third assist of the tournament as Russia defeated Belarus, 4-1, on Tuesday while teammate Radel Fazleev went scoreless in the contest. He has two points (1g-1a) in his first World Juniors.

The preliminary round wraps up on Thursday with a possibility of all seven players in action throughout the day.

ALL PHOTOS COURTESY: (Matt Zambonin/HHOF-IIHF Images)

DEC. 28

PROSPECTS GET ON THE BOARD

All Flyers prospects got a rest on Day 2 with none of the seven players in action, but the schedule resumed on Monday with four games and all seven players in five countries hitting the ice in Helsinki.

In the opening games of the preliminary round, Oskar Lindblom recorded a goal midway through the first period to put Sweden up 2-0 over Switzerland en route to an 8-3 victory on Saturday. Goaltender Felix Sandstrom did not see action in the contest, while Lindblom finished the game a plus-2 and his goal came on his only shot of the game.

Sweden improved to 2-0-0 with a tight, 1-0, victory over the US. Lindblom did not factor into the goal, while Sandstrom backed up a 46-save shutout performance by Linus Soderstrom.

Lindblom gets a shot off on Swiss goaltender

In the opening game of the tournament, Russia faced off against the Czech Republic and walked away with a 2-1 shootout win after yielding the first goal of the game on a penalty shot. Radel Fazleev recorded the primary assist on Russia’s first goal, while Ivan Provorov and David Kase were scoreless for the Czechs.

Kase, who was named an alternate captain for the Czech team in the opening game, missed on his only shootout attempt before Russia scored the game winner in the fourth round. He rebounded in the second game, recording an assist on the game-winning goal to help the Czechs earn a 2-0 shutout win over Slovakia in early action on Monday.

Kase waits at the doorstep hoping for a rebound

Provorov posted his first point of the tournament with a primary assist on Russia’s first goal to give them a 1-0 lead on the host nation of Finland. He added another helper in the game, setting up fellow prospect Radel Fazleev’s first goal of the tournament. Fazleev gave the Russians breathing room, providing the sixth goal in their 6-4 win over Finland.

The two Travises for Team Canada were held off the scoresheet in Canada’s first game. Sanheim recorded a shot on goal in the third period, while Konecny had no shots in a tough 4-2 loss to USA, who scored twice in the final four minutes of the third period to break a 2-2 tie.

In their second game of the tournament, Canada faced off against Denmark, and after falling behind 1-0 in the first period, scored six unanswered goals to walk away with a 6-1 win.

Travis Konecny recorded a primary assist on Lawson Crouse’s goal to give Canada a 4-1 lead. He had two shots in the contest, while defenseman Travis Sanheim recorded three shots on goal and a plus-1 rating.

Travis Sanheim carries the puck in the zone for Canada vs. Denmark

ALL PHOTOS COURTESY: (Matt Zambonin/HHOF-IIHF Images)

DEC. 26

DAY 1 BEGINS FOR SEVEN FLYERS PROSPECTS

Management, scouts and fans throughout the hockey world will collide today in Helsinki, Finland as the 2016 World Junior Tournament kicks off its 11-day schedule.

Just how big is the tournament for prospects? Flyers director of scouting Chris Pryor weighs in:

“It’s a big tournament,” said Pryor. “Everybody knows who’s been across the border - in Canada it’s huge. They start this thing with the selection process in early December and it’s 24/7 on all the networks. It’s a big deal. As it is in all the other countries."

Which brings us to the Flyers prospects. The club has SEVEN (7) draft picks competing in the tournament for five countries. It is the most in franchise history, as well as tied for the most of any team in the NHL this year - with the Arizona Coyotes.

Representing Canada are: Defenseman Travis Sanheim (2014, 1st round, 17th overall) and right wing Travis Konecny (2015, 1st round, 24th overall).

Representing the Czech Republic: David Kase (2015, 5th round, 128th overall).

Representing Russia: Ivan Provorov (2015, 1st round, 7th overall and Radel Fazleev (2014, 6th round, 168th overall).

Finally, for Team Sweden: Goaltender Felix Sandstrom (2015, 3rd round, 70th overall) and forward Oskar Lindblom (2014, 5th round, 138th overall).

“It’s a big platform and it’s a great opportunity for the kids to go against their peer group and see where their game is at - not only from a country standpoint, but also from an individual standpoint,” added Pryor. “It gives us a chance to see our [prospects] in a situation where they’re playing against pretty good players and pretty good competition.”

Kase, Provorov and Lindblom will be competing in the tournament for the second time, while the others will get their first taste on the world’s highest junior stage.

Going back in recent years, a Flyers defense prospect has won the gold medal in two of the last three championships: Sam Morin (CAN: 2015) and Shayne Gostisbehere (USA: 2013). Also on defense, a Flyers draft pick has won a medal in each of the last three years with Robert Hagg winning Silver in 2014 with Sweden.

To get you up to speed on the tournament, and how it unfolds, below is the ‘need to know’ information on the rules and format.

There are 10 countries competing in the tournament (Belarus, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Russia, Slovakia, Sweden, Switzerland and USA) which are divided into two, five-team groups in the Preliminary Round.

The teams play a single round-robin series in each group. The top four teams from each group advance to the Playoff Round. The top four placed teams from the Preliminary will play a cross-over Quarterfinal game: 1A vs. 4B, 1B vs. 4A, 2A vs. 3B and 2B vs. 3A. The winner of each Quarterfinal moves onto the Semi-Finals.

Overtime & Shootout Formats

During the round robin: a 5-minute, 4-on-4 overtime is played which is followed by a shootout if no goal is scored.

During the elimination/playoff round: a 10-minute, 4-on-4 overtime is played which is followed by a shootout if no goal is scored.

During the GOLD MEDAL game: a 20-minute, 4-on-4 overtime is played which is followed by a shootout if no goal is scored.

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