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World Juniors

5 Things learned from Day 6 of World Juniors

United States defeats Canada; Sweden remains unbeaten; Finland replaces coach

by Mike G. Morreale @mikemorrealeNHL / NHL.com Staff Writer

Saturday was the sixth day of the 2017 IIHF World Junior Championship, which is being held in Toronto and Montreal.

Results

Sweden 5, Czech Republic 2
United States 3, Canada 1
Finland 2, Switzerland 0
Russia 2, Slovakia 0

 

Five things we learned

 

Special delivery against Canada

The United States showcased a suffocating defense and dynamic special teams in a 3-1 win against Canada to take first place in Group B at the 2017 IIHF World Junior Championship at Air Canada Centre on Saturday.

Jordan Greenway (Minnesota Wild), Colin White (Ottawa Senators) and Jeremy Bracco (Toronto Maple Leafs) scored and Joseph Woll (Toronto Maple Leafs) made 25 saves for the United States.

Defenseman Thomas Chabot (Ottawa Senators), who logged a game-high 27:45 of ice time, scored for Canada.

The win was the first in seven tries against Canada on New Year's Eve since 2000.

Canada entered the game with the top power play in the tournament (8-of-14, 57 percent), but finished 1-for-6 against the U.S., scoring its only goal on the second of two 5-on-3 advantages.

"We made some changes with penalty killers because we weren't sharp on the PK in past games," U.S. coach Bob Motzko said. "We added more guys to spread the minutes out. That was critical because we quieted the building down. The penalty kill was the story of the game."

The U.S. scored two power-play goals in the first period, by White at 4:31 and Greenway at 6:04, to take a 2-0 lead. Chabot scored 8:12 into the second during a 5-on-3 advantage.

"They're a good neutral zone team," Canada captain Dylan Strome said. "They knew how to get pucks behind our defense. We've got to find a way to create more. We were surviving on our power play, and when our power play isn't clicking we have to find a way to create more 5-on-5."

Video: WJC Preliminary Round Highlights: USA 3, CAN 1

 

Brick Woll against Canada

United States goaltender Joseph Woll, a third-round pick (No. 62) of the Toronto Maple Leafs in the 2016 NHL Draft, said competing in the arena where he hopes to one day play a big role was a dream come true.

"That's probably the best atmosphere I've ever played in even though they weren't rooting for us," Woll said. "I think with a crowd like that the best thing you can do is try and silence them as much as you can. I think we played to our systems and kept them to the outside (and) capitalized on our chances."

Woll, who learned he would get the start on Friday, finished with 25 saves, 12 in the second period.

 

Sweden unbeaten in Group A

Sweden won 5-2 against the Czech Republic at Bell Centre to remain unbeaten in Group A and extend its preliminary-round winning streak to 40 games.

Forward Jonathan Dahlen (Ottawa Senators) scored three goals. Sweden will play Slovakia in a quarterfinal-round game on Monday.

"We were in a pretty different position [Saturday] since we had already won the group before the game," Dahlen said. "So that was one of the things we were talking about before to get the motivation to play the game."

Sweden has not lost a WJC preliminary game since Dec. 31, 2006, 3-2 in overtime to the United States.

"Forty wins, 10 years in a row, I think it's a record that's going to be tough to beat," Sweden coach Tomas Monten said. "I think players wanted to be involved in that historical moment. We used it as a trigger before the game and it worked out good."

Video: WJC Preliminary Round Highlights: SWE 5, CZE 2

 
Ahokas takes over for Finland

Jussi Ahokas assumed control of the Finnish National Junior Team on Saturday after Jukka Rautakorpi was fired Friday.

Switzerland won 5-4 against Denmark on Friday to eliminate Finland from medal contention and force the 2016 WJC gold medalist into a best-of-3 relegation-round series against Latvia at Bell Centre beginning Monday.

Ahokas ran his first practice as coach on Saturday and Finland defeated Switzerland 2-0 later in the day.

"I think it's always a bad thing when you have to fire a head coach and you never want to jump into a situation like this," Ahokas said. "But now things happen and now we have to move on."

Finland lost 2-1 against the Czech Republic, 3-2 against Denmark and 3-1 against Sweden and finished fifth in Group A.

"The big thing is that we have to be a little bit more active and get the energy up for the team," Ahokas said.

 

Canada loses Myers

Canada coach Dominque Ducharme confirmed after the loss to the United States that workhorse defenseman Philippe Myers (Philadelphia Flyers) will likely miss the remainder of the tournament.

"He's concussed. His chances to play in the next game are zero," Ducharme said. "Might be he's doubtful for the rest of the tournament."

Myers took a big hit from U.S. captain Luke Kunin behind his own net 4:07 into the second and never returned. Kunin was assessed a five-minute major penalty for interference and a game misconduct.

"I made no intention to hurt him and hope he's OK," Kunin said. "I thought both teams were playing hard out there, trying to win a hockey game, and that's kind of what happened."

 

What's next

Monday

Quarterfinal round

Denmark vs. Russia (1 p.m. ET; Air Canada Centre, NHLN, TSN)
Sweden vs. Slovakia (3:30 p.m. ET; Bell Centre, TSN)
United States vs. Switzerland (5:30 p.m. ET; Air Canada Centre, NHLN, TSN)
Canada vs. Czech Republic (8 p.m. ET; Bell Centre, NHLN, TSN)

Relegation round

Finland vs. Latvia (11 a.m. ET; Bell Centre)

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