The Preliminary Round of the World Junior Championships wrapped up on Day 6 with a pair of classic games involving Preds prospects. Team USA and Team Canada played a thrilling match-up for first place in Group A, with the US grabbing an early 3-0 first period lead before Canada rallied for four straight goals. Jonathon Blum
, Team USA's captain, netted his first goal of the season to tie the score 4-4, 3:40 into the second period, but the Canadians answered back 3:16 later and then added two empty net goals late in the third period to pull out the 7-4 win.Colin Wilson
was outstanding for the US, creating several quality scoring chances despite being held off the scoresheet and was named Team USA's Player of the Game. Chet Pickard
, who started the two previous games for Canada, did not get the start, but ended the Preliminary Round 2-0-0 with a 0.50 goals against average, stopping 23 of the 24 shots he faced in the starts.
Canada earns the No. 1 seed in Group A and will earn a bye into the Semifinals. US finished with the No. 2 seed and will face Slovakia in the Quarterfinals on Jan. 2. Slovakia earned the No. 3 seed in Group B with a 3-2 shootout win over Finland. Preds prospect Jani Lajunen
recorded a two shots on goal for the Finns. Finland will play two games in the relegation round, Kazakhstan on Jan. 3 and Germany on Jan. 4.
In the other games on Day 6, Sweden shutout Russia 5-0 to earn the No. 1 seed in Group B. Russia will face Czech Republic, a 10-2 winner over Kazakhstan, in the Semifinals on Jan. 2.