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WJC: Finishing Up The Prelims

by Staff Writer / Florida Panthers

USA Hockey

The World Junior Championships are underway as Panther prospects AJ Jenks (USA) and Jacob Markstrom (Sweden) are looking to earn gold for their country.

Day 6: 12/31
The Preliminaries ended Thursday in Saskatoon and Regina for the World Junior Tournament and Jacob Markstrom and Sweden sewed up an automatic bid to the semis with a 7-1 victory over Finland to finish 4-0 in Group B while despite an amazing game against the heavily favored Canadians, AJ Jenks and the United States ultimately fell to Canada 5-4 in a shootout.

For Sweden, their victory can be largely attributed to Markstrom. Finland threw 26 shots on goal, yes 26, in the first period alone and Markstrom turned away every single one of them. Sweden was outshot 26-3 in the opening period yet led 1-0. The Swedes turned up the heat with three goals in each of the second and third periods on their way to a 7-1 victory.

Markstrom, who was named Sweden's Best Player Of The Game for the second straight contest, was not as busy in the latter two periods, stopping nine in the second and three of four in the third. His preliminary ends perfectly at 3-0-0 with a 1.00 GAA and a .969 Save Percentage, tops in the tournament.

For AJ Jenks and the US, it's really a matter of what should have been.

After Canada took a 1-0 lead 2:03 into the contest, the United States would score four of the next five goals of the game, including two short-handed, to be lead 4-2 just 1:01 into the third period. Philip McRae, Jordan Schroeder (sh), Tyler Johnson (sh) and Danny Kristo all scored for the US. Hanging around, Canada upped the pressure and got to within one on Jordan Eberle's second of the night with 9:57 to play and Alex Pietrangelo tied it on a shorthanded goal with 4:15 left in the game.

After the scoreless overtime period, the game went to the shootout with Eberle, Nazem Kadri and Brandon Kozun all scoring for Canada and Kristo and Jeremy Morin scoring for the US. With the chance to tie it as the third shooter, Schroeder was stopped by Jake Allen which sent the Canadians to the semis and the Americans to a date with Finland in the quarterfinals on Saturday.

Jenks finished the contest with two shots on goal, four penalty minutes and was a plus-one.

Day 4: 12/29
Sweden and the United States got back at it in grand fashion Tuesday after both having off days on Monday.

The United States blitzed Latvia by a score of 12-1, scoring six times in the first 20 minutes en route to the victory while Sweden knocked off Russia with a 4-1 victory to capture first place in Group B with one game left to play.

Both Panthers prospects had a hand in their teams wins as AJ Jenks collected a goal in his second straight game while Jacob Markstrom turned away 36 shots for his second victory of the tournament. Jenks rebounded the puck in for the U.S' fourth goal of the game, a power play tally 14:40 into the first and finished with four shots and a plus-one. Markstrom was named Sweden's Best Player Of The Game for his efforts against the Russians.

The US now have a day break before their big showdown with Canada to determine who gets the bye into the semis for Group A while Sweden finishes up pool play on Thursday as well against Finland.

Day 2: 12/27
Day two was more of the same for Sweden and the USA. Jenks found the back of the net for the first time of the Junior tournament as the US defeated Switzerland 3-0 while Sweden didn't even need Markstrom between the pipes on their way to a 7-3 victory over Austria.

The Americans were actually in for a scare against the Swiss, not scoring their second goal until the 12:35 mark of the third period while Jenks tally gave the US the final scoring with 3:24 left to play in the game. Jenks finished with the goal on three shots and was a plus-one.

Day 1: 12/26
It was a great opening day for both Sweden and the United States as both teams had dominating final scores. Sweden posted a 10-1 victory over the Czech Republic while the US earned a pulled away from Slovakia 7-3. Markstrom turned a way 20 shots for his first victory of the tournament while Jenks finished with a shot on goal, a plus-one and a cross-checking penalty in the second period while centering the third line.

"It's always good to win the first game, and we won it big," Markstrom told "It's a good game we played, but I think we can play a lot better on defense and execute better on the power play. We have more to give. Still, a good start for sure."

Panthers 4th pick (100th overall) in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft.
 *Fifth overall in the tournament in face-off percentage (67.27%)

GP Goals Assists Points Shots +/- PIM Face-offs
4  2 0 2 10 +4 6 37 of 55
 Panthers 1st pick (31st overall) in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft.
*Named Sweden's Player Of The Game vs Finland (12/31)
*Named Sweden's Player Of The Game vs Russia (12/29)
 *First overall in the tournament in GAA (1.00)
 *First overall in the tournament in save-percentage (96.91%)

GP Saves  Goals Allowed Save % GAA Record
3  94  3  .969  1.00   3-0-0
Rank Team GP W OTW OTL  L
1 CAN 4 3 1 0 0 11 29 35 6   1 SWE 4 4 0 0 0 12 22 28 6
2 USA 4 3 0 1 0 10 17 26 9   2 RUS 4 3 0 0 1 9 6 14 8
3 SUI 4 2 0 0 2 6 -4 11 15   3 FIN 4 2 0 0 2 6 2 15 13
4 SVK 4 1 0 0 3 3 -8  14  22   4 CZE 4 1 0 0 3 3 -7 13 20
5 LAT 4 0 0 0 4 0 -34  9  43   5 AUT 4 0 0 0 4 0 -23 7 30
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