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WJC roundup: Slovaks, Finns, Czechs all win Sunday

by Mike G. Morreale

The Slovakian National Junior Team moved one step closer to advancing into the medal round of the 2013 World Junior Championship on Sunday following a 2-1 overtime decision against Germany in Ufa, Russia.

New York Rangers prospect Peter Ceresnak, the only player on the Slovakian roster to be drafted by an NHL team, blasted a shot from the left circle that beat German goalie Marvin Cupper high on the short side. Ceresnak's goal, off an assist from top 2013 draft-eligible prospect Marko Dano, came 1:40 into the extra period and with Slovakia on the power play.

Slovakia, which suffered an 8-5 loss to Finland in the quarterfinals of the medal round last year and finished sixth, will meet the United States on Monday in a game to determine the third seed in the Group B field. Both the U.S. and Slovakia have three points in the group field. The contest is set for 5 a.m. ET (NHLN-US).

Bruno Mraz scored 4:02 into the third period to pull Slovakia into a 1-1 tie. The surprising Germans, who were outscored, 24-3, in three previous tournament contests, had taken a 1-0 lead 13:56 into the second when Edmonton Oilers prospect Tobias Rieder converted a pass from Leon Draisaitl.

Finland 5, Switzerland 4 (shootout)

Finland survived a huge scare from feisty Switzerland by overcoming a two-goal deficit on two occasions to score a critical shootout victory Group A competition.

After spotting Switzerland a 2-0 lead in the first period, Finland received goals from Calgary Flames prospect Markus Granlund and Chicago Blackhawks prospect Teuvo Teravainen to even the contest in the second. Switzerland regained a two-goal lead in the third on goals by Alessio Bertaggia at 1:08 and Dario Simion at 11:30.

Finland again rallied as Teravainen scored his second of the game, on the power play, at 13:06 before Granlund struck for his second with the goalie pulled for an extra attacker with just 1:40 remaining in the third.

In the shootout, Granlund connected in the fifth round and Sven Andrighetto's attempt to tie it was turned away by Finland's Joonas Korpisalo (Columbus Blue Jackets).

On Granlund's first attempt in the shootout, he was stopped by Melvin Nyffeler. It marked the second time that Nyffeler suffered a shootout loss in the tournament -- Switzerland dropped a 3-2 SO setback to Sweden on Friday.

"It hurts. It really hurts to lose a shootout for the second time," Nyffeler told the IIHF website. "We need to score more in the shootout. We were leading. We should have won."

Finland coach Harri Rindell decided to give Granlund a second opportunity in the shootout and was rewarded.

"It was his decision," Granlund told the IIHF website. "I wanted to shoot again. I wanted to score."

Czech Republic 4, Latvia 2

Martin Frk scored a pair of goals, defenseman Petr Sidlik had two assists and goalie Patrik Bartosak made 18 saves to lead the Czech Republic in Group A competition at the Ufa Sports Palace.

With the victory, the Czechs jump into second place in the group with six points. The country still has an outside chance of finishing first in the group depending on the outcome of their game against Switzerland on Monday and the result of the Sweden-Finland contest earlier in the day.

Dmitrij Jaskin's goal 13:46 into the third gave the Czech Republic a 3-2 lead. Frk then tacked on an insurance goal, with his team on the power-play, with just 27 seconds remaining in the third.

"After we got the first goal we took some penalties and let Latvia get back in the game," Frk told the IIHF website. "They scored and played a very good game."

Latvia goalie Ivars Punnenovs made 36 saves in defeat. Nikita Jevpalovs and Roberts Lipsbergs scored the goals for Latvia, which finished winless in four games of Group A pool play.

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