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World Juniors

WJC Roundup: Canada eases past Czech Republic

Sweden wins, finishes first in Group A

by Adam Kimelman @NHLAdamK / Deputy Managing Editor

Tuesday is the sixth day of the 2020 IIHF World Junior Championship, which is being held in Ostrava and Trinec, Czech Republic.

Tuesday, Dec. 31


Canada 7, Czech Republic 2 -- Barrett Hayton (Arizona Coyotes) and Dylan Cozens (Buffalo Sabres) each had a goal and three assists for Canada in a Group B game at Ostravar Arena in Ostrava.

Joseph Veleno (Detroit Red Wings) had a goal and two assists, and Canada scored five power-play goals.

Canada finished first in Group A at 3-0-0-1 (W-OTW-OTL-L) and will play Slovakia in the quarterfinals Thursday (9 a.m. ET; NHLN).

Vojtech Strondala and Libor Zabransky scored for Czech Republic (1-0-1-2), which finished fourth in Group B and will play Sweden, winner of Group A, in the quarterfinals Thursday (2 p.m. ET; NHLN).

Canada tied a tournament record with four power-play goals in the first period, two of which came during a five-minute slashing major assessed to Czech Republic forward Ostavar Sik. The United States scored four power-play goals in a period against Germany during a game at the 2013 WJC.

Strondala and Zabransky scored 14 seconds apart early in the second for Czech Republic, but after Zabransky's goal made it 4-2 at 1:24. But 10 seconds later Liam Foudy (Columbus Blue Jackets) scored. Canada defenseman Ty Smith (New Jersey Devils) dumped the puck into the Czech Republic end. Goalie Nick Malik went out to play it, but the puck took an odd bounce off the boards, rolled in front and Foudy tapped it into an empty net.

The three goals in 24 seconds set a WJC record, bettering the three goals in 26 seconds scored by Sweden and Germany in a game at the 1983 WJC.

Switzerland 5, Finland 2 -- Fabian Berri (2020 draft eligible) scored two goals, including the game-winner with 3:57 remaining in the second period, to lead Switzerland in a Group A game at Werk Arena in Trinec.

Valentin Nussbaumer (Arizona Coyotes) also scored for Switzerland and Stephane Charlin (2020 draft eligible) made 36 saves for Switzerland (3-0-0-1), which finished second in the group and will play Russia, the third-place finisher from Group A, in the quarterfinals on Thursday (11:30 a.m. ET; NHLN).

Anttoni Honka (Carolina Hurricanes) and Joonas Oden (2020 draft eligible) scored for Finland (2-0-1-1). The 2019 WJC champion finished third in the group and will play the United States, which finished second in Group A, in the quarterfinals Thursday (6:30 a.m. ET; NHLN).

Sweden 6, Slovakia 2 -- Alexander Holtz, a top pick for the 2020 NHL Draft, scored two goals for Sweden in a Group A game at Werk Arena in Trinec.

Samuel Fagemo (Los Angeles Kings) scored his tournament-high sixth goal and Oscar Back (Dallas Stars) had a goal and an assist for Sweden, which finished first in Group A (3-1-0-0) and won its 52nd consecutive preliminary-round game. Sweden will play the Czech Republic, the fourth-place finisher in Group B, in the quarterfinals Thursday (2 p.m ET; NHLN).

Kristian Kovacik (2020 draft eligible) and Robert Dzugan (2020 draft eligible) scored for Slovakia, which finished fourth in Group A (1-1-0-2) and will play Canada, the first-place team from Group B, in the quarterfinals Thursday (9 a.m. ET; NHLN). Samuel Hlavaj (2020 draft eligible) made 36 saves.

Russia 6, Germany 1 -- Kirill Marchenko (Columbus Blue Jackets) had two goals and three assists and Pavel Dorofeyev (Vegas Golden Knights) scored two goals for Russia (2-0-0-2) in a Group B game at Ostravar Arena in Ostrava. 

Russia finished third in the group and will play Switzerland in the quarterfinals Thursday (11:30 a.m. ET; NHLN).

Nino Kinder (2020 draft eligible) scored for Germany (1-0-0-3), which will play Kazakhstan in the best-of-3 relegation round, which starts Thursday.

Things We Learned

Veleno difference-maker for Canada

Canada welcomed forward Joseph Veleno (Detroit Red Wings) back into the lineup Tuesday after he served his one-game suspension for a head-butting incident against Russia on Saturday.

Veleno gave Canada a 1-0 lead 4:41 into the game, getting to the net to knock in a loose puck after Barrett Hayton's shot had been blocked and then had two assists. He also led all Canada forwards with 18:46 of ice time.

Tweet from @IIHFHockey: Joe Veleno puts @hockeycanada on the board first tonight with a power play goal! 1-0 🇨🇦 #WorldJuniors
Veleno said he's still bitter about having to sit out Canada's game against Germany on Monday and some of that anger fueled him Tuesday.

"I've moved past it right now but it's still kind of in the back of my mind," he said. "I think if things could have gone differently in that Germany game if we would have come out with a loss ... I think that all our players on this team are real key players so it's just disappointing watching the game from the stands. I was kind of disappointed with that suspension."

Veleno finished the preliminary round with four points (one goal, three assists) in three games, and Canada will need him to continue to be a prime performer.

Holtz, Raymond continue to shine

Sweden coach Tomas Monten said at the World Junior Summer Showcase that forwards Alexander Holtz and Lucas Raymond, each expected to go in the top five of the 2020 NHL Draft, would have prominent roles at the World Juniors because of their ability to finish. So far they've done just that in helping Sweden sweep through the preliminary round.

Holtz scored two goals in the win against Slovakia, one on a delayed penalty drawn by Raymond in the first period, and a hard wrist shot late in the second period that he blistered past Slovakia goalie Samuel Hlavaj.

Tweet from @IIHFHockey: Holtz with the quick wrister nets his ������ goal of the game for @trekronorse. We have yet to see a hatty in the #WorldJuniors... Is this Holtz's day?

Holtz also scored the overtime winner against Finland on Thursday, and his five points (three goals, two assists) are second on Sweden to Samuel Fagemo's seven points (six goals, one assist). Raymond has four points (two goals, two assists).

Sweden will need Holtz and Raymond to keep producing to avoid a repeat of what happened at the 2019 WJC, a 2-0 loss to Switzerland in the quarterfinals.

Germany focused on the future

Despite a 6-1 loss to Russia and a last-place finish in Group B, Germany had a solid outing in its first WJC at the top level since 2015. 

A 4-3 win against the Czech Republic on Saturday was Germany's first non-relegation round victory since Dec. 30, 2014, and the team was outscored 19-9, a vast improvement from scoring two goals while losing all four games in regulation at the 2015 WJC.

Forward Tim Stuetzle, a top prospect for the 2020 NHL Draft, had three assists in four games, and forward John-Jason Peterka, a B-rated prospect for the 2020 Draft, tied forward Dominik Bokk (Carolina Hurricanes) for the team lead with three goals. Defenseman Moritz Seider (Detroit Red Wings), who is eligible to play in the 2021 WJC, had four assists in four games.

"We can compete here," Seider said. "We showed the whole tournament that we can compete with the best teams in the world."

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