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Medal round games to determine WJC 2012 slate

by Mike G. Morreale /
The winners and losers of tonight's medal-round double-header at HSBC Arena will put the finishing touches on the layout for the 2012 World Junior Championship slated for the Canadian province of Alberta.

The preliminary-round group that involves Canada will be staged at the 16,839-seat Rexall Place in Edmonton and the group, as well as the final round and relegation round, will take place in the 19,289-seat Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary.

A lottery will be held for fans who want to buy ticket packages for Calgary (21 games) or Edmonton (10 games) and that draw will close today (Jan. 5) on Jan. 5, the day of the gold medal game in Buffalo, at midnight MT and Jan. 6 at 2 a.m. ET. The groups for 2012 will be released immediately following Wednesday's gold-medal game between Canada and Russia.

Basically, the winner of the gold medal game will be placed in Group A with Switzerland, Slovakia and Latvia. The winner of the bronze medal game between the U.S. and Sweden will be placed in Group B with the gold-medal round loser (either Canada or Russia), along with Finland, Czech Republic and Denmark.

Here are the current 2011 WJC standings heading into tonight's medal round:

Ranking 2011
1. Winner Canada/Russia
2. Loser Canada/Russia
3. Winner Sweden/United States
4. Loser Sweden/United States
5. Switzerland
6. Finland
7. Czech Republic
8. Slovakia
9. Norway
10. Germany

Swiss takes fifth-place game

Yannick Herren scored the only goal in a shootout and goalie Benjamin Conz made four saves to lead Switzerland to a 3-2 victory over Finland in the placement game at HSBC Arena.

Luca Camperchioli scored a power-play goal 5:23 into the second period to pull Switzerland into a 2-2 tie. Nino Niederreiter assisted on the play. Following a scoreless third period and 10-minute overtime, the teams entered the shootout.

Erik Haula and Teemu Pulkkinen scored first-period goals for Finland, which had opened a 2-1 lead. Inti Pestoni also connected for Sweden, which received a 28-save performance by Conz.

The victory enabled the Swiss to finish fifth in the tournament after placing four last year. Niederreiter, the captain of the team, finished the tournament with 2 goals, 4 points and a team-leading 26 shots. Conz finished 2-3 with a 2.97 goals-against average and .918 save percentage in six starts for the Swiss.

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