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WJC ON LOCATION: Canada advances, Finland halted

by Marc Ciampa / Edmonton Oilers
Oilers prospect Curtis Hamilton and his Canadian squad came away with a 4-1 win Sunday over the Swiss (Photo by Getty Images)  
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BUFFALO, NY -- From now until the end of the Gold Medal Game, we will be on location to provide coverage of the World Junior Hockey Championship.


Coming off a strong two-goal performance, OIlers prospect Curtis Hamilton found himself on Canada's top line to start alongside Brayden Schenn and Ryan Johansen although head coach Dave Cameron shuffled up the lines quite a bit. 

Canada started out slowly against the Swiss as a lucky bounce resulted in Switzerland taking a 1-0 lead just over a minute into the game. Hamilton was on the ice for the play, finishing the game at -1.

"It was a bad bounce," said Hamilton of the early Swiss goal. "It bounced behind the net there and ended up on the other guys stick and it kind of slid past the d-man but I think we did a really good job of bouncing back.

The Canadians had some chances to tie it, including a two-man advantage but were continually stifled by the Swiss. Ryan Johansen finally got the tying goal late in the opening frame.

The Swiss continued to match the Canadians through most of the second period until Casey Cizikas broke the deadlock with 2:58 to play in the middle frame. He skated in on a two-on-one and elected to shoot, roofing it past Swiss netminder Benjamin Conz.

"It was a tight game," Hamilton remarked. "Switzerland is a pretty good team, I think they suprised a lot of teams and a lot of people. They are a very powerful hockey nation, it was a tight game."

Canada added a third goal, courtesy of Louis Leblanc, to clinch the outcome and Zack Kassian added an empty netter for the 4-1 win. They now take on the USA tomorrow at 5:30 p.m. MST.

"It's a quick turnaround with the US semi's tomorrow but we're all really excited for it and looking forward to it," Hamilton said.

Post-game interview with Curtis Hamilton | Highlights: Canada vs. Switzerland


Oilers prospect Toni Rajala (photo by Getty Images)
Oilers prospect Toni Rajala and his Finnish squad had an opportunity to face archrivals Sweden in the semifinals with a victory on Sunday over Russia in the quarters but two late goals from Russia in the third period tied the game up and Yevgeny Kuznetsov netted his second of the game to win it with 3:16 left to play in overtime.

Russia got off to an early lead, about 10 minutes in when defenceman Yuri Urychev scored to make it 1-0. Just over two minutes later, Teemu Pulkinen tied it for Finland. 

"We started pretty well and the second period was just ok, then I don't know what happened in the third period," explained Rajala. "We didn't play our own game. They came back 3-3 and that happens sometimes. Of course I'm not happy about that, it's my last year, but it happened."

The Finns were outshot in the second period by a 12-8 count but scored the period's only goal to take their first lead of the night. Just over two minutes into the third, Joonas Donskoi extended Finland's lead to 3-1. 

However, Kuznetsov and Maxim Kitsyn scored 2:03 apart in the final four minutes to get the game back on even terms, setting the stage for Kuznetsov's winner.

It was Finland's second overtime loss in the tournament.

"We had four or five great games," Rajala commented on Finland's overall play. "We started pretty well like against USA, it was a great game from us. We played really well but that wasn't enough." 

Rajala had three shots on goal and an even rating in the game. Overall, he has four assists through five games in the tournament.

"Of course I can always play better but that's how I played now and now I have to keep working on getting better."

Finland's tournament wraps up on Tuesday when they face Switzerland at 5:30 p.m. MST in the fifth-place game.

Toni Rajala post-game video | Highlights: Finland vs. Russia

Post-game interviews
Oilers prospects Curtis Hamilton & Toni Rajala speak to us after each game.
WJC Memories: Gagner
Oilers centre Sam Gagner looks back at his time in the World Juniors.
Game Highlights
Watch highlights of Canada's 4-1 win over Switzerland and Finland's 4-3 OT loss.

(all times mountain)

Sunday, January 2:

Canada 4 - Switzerland 1
Gamesheet | Recap | Photos | Highlights  | Post-game interviews

Russia 4 - Finland 3 (OT)
Gamesheet | Recap | Photos  | Highlights | Post-game interviews

Monday, January 3:

Sweden vs. Russia - 1:30 p.m.
Gamesheet | Recap | Photos | Highlights | Post-game interviews

USA vs. Canada - 5:30 p.m.
Gamesheet | Recap | Photos | Highlights  | Post-game interviews

Wednesday, January 5:

Bronze Medal Game - 1:30 p.m.
Gamesheet | Recap | Photos | Highlights  | Post-game interviews

Gold Medal Game - 5:30 p.m.
Gamesheet | Recap | Photos | Highlights  | Post-game interviews


(all times mountain)

Sunday, December 26:

Canada 6 - Russia 3
Gamesheet | Recap | Photos | Highlights

Sweden 7 - Norway 1
Gamesheet | Recap | Photos

USA 3 - Finland 2 (OT)
Gamesheet | Recap | Photos | Highlights

Monday, December 27:

Slovakia 2 - Germany 1 (OT)
Gamesheet | Recap | Photos

Tuesday, December 28:

Finland 4 - Switzerland 0
Gamesheet | Recap | Photos

7 - Czech 2
Gamesheet | Recap | Photos | Highlights

Sweden 2 - Russia 0
Gamesheet | Recap | Photos

USA 6 - Slovakia 1
Gamesheet | Recap | Photos | Highlights

Wednesday, December 29:

Finland 5 - Germany 1
Gamesheet | Recap | Photos

Canada 10 - Norway 1
Gamesheet | Recap | Photos | Highlights

Thursday, December 30:

Switzerland 6 - Slovakia 4
Gamesheet | Recap | Photos

Sweden 6 - Czech 3
Gamesheet | Recap | Photos

Friday, December 31:

Finland 6 - Slovakia 0
Gamesheet | Recap | Photos | Post-Game Interviews

Sweden 6 -  Canada 5 (SO)
Gamesheet | Recap | Photos | Highlights | Post-Game Interviews

======END OF ROUND ROBIN======

Author: Marc Ciampa |

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