World Junior Championship notebook: Canada bounces back, Caufield lifts USA to overtime win

Canada got back on track after a poor outing against the Russians and USA avoided the upset thanks to some overtime heroics. Meanwhile, Sweden's streak continued and Slovakia's struggles persisted.
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Steven Ellis/The Hockey News

Steven Ellis/The Hockey News

Canada downs Germany to regain control of Group B
Canada needed a big bounce-back effort after an embarrassing 6-0 loss to Russia, and that's exactly what the Canadians got against Germany Monday despite missing Joe Veleno (suspension) and Alexis Lafreniere (injury).

In desperate need of a quick goal in order to help erase all memory of the blowout loss, Nolan Foote delivered for Canada when he made it 1-0 midway through the first frame in what was one of the Canadians' best periods of the tournament thus far. But it was in the second that Canada truly took over, putting the game out of reach with a pair of goals.

First, with Canada controlling play, Liam Foudy scored midway through the second frame when his high wrist shot past beat German netminder Hendrik Hane. And two minutes after Foudy's goal double the Canadian lead, Calen Addison struck on the two-man advantage with a blast from the point off of a feed from Foote to put Canada ahead 3-0. Late in the third, Yannik Valenti put one by Canadian netminder Joel Hofer to snap his shutout bid, but less than one minute later – and with 10 seconds remaining and the German net empty – Ty Dellandrea slid home Canada's fourth of the night.

With the win, Canada moved into top spot in Group B and they hold the tiebreaker over Team USA, the only other Group B team with two wins, thanks to the tournament-opening victory over the rival Americans. Canada can clinch Group B by closing out the round robin with a win over the Czech Republic Tuesday. Meanwhile, Germany can advance to the quarterfinal if the Czech Republic loses its next two games.

Caufield rescues USA with overtime winner
It took longer than expected, but Cole Caufield's first goal of the tournament couldn't have been more well-timed as it gave the United States a hard-fought 4-3 overtime win over the Czech Republic.

The contest started off well for the United States thanks to Shane Pinto's power-play goal mere minutes into the first period, but it wasn't long before the American lead turned deficit. Six minutes after Pinto had opened the scoring, Libor Zabransky scored his first of two first-period goals, the latter of which came late in the frame with the man advantage and handed the host Czech Republic a 2-1 lead heading into the first break.

Not long after intermission, however, the Americans seemed to shake off the cobwebs and turn it up. A minute into the middle stanza, Arthur Kaliyev's shot just squeaked over the goal line and knotted the contest at two apiece, only for Jack Drury to fire one home less than minutes later to put USA ahead 3-2.

But the Czechs weren't willing to go away. After pressing at times throughout the third period, Simon Kubicek appeared to have cracked American netminder Spencer Knight. However, after two reviews, the goal was waved off due to goalie interference, quieting a jubilant Czech crowd. Mere minutes later, Petr Cajka had the crowd rocking once again, though, shovelling one past Knight to tie the contest midway through the third.

Having sent the game to overtime, the Czechs could taste the upset, but the Americans ensured there would be no celebration at their expense. Minutes into the extra frame, Caufield rifled one home after taking a pass from longtime teammate Alex Turcotte and handed USA the victory.

Despite the loss, the point for forcing overtime is huge for the Czech Republic, who will now avoid the relegation round unless Russia beats Germany in overtime on Tuesday. The United States now sits firmly in second with their round robin complete.

Sweden extends streak with big win over Kazakhstan
Make it 51 consecutive round robin wins for Sweden, who routed Kazakhstan, 6-2, in early action Monday.

With nothing to lose, Kazakhstan left it all on the ice and even held Sweden to one goal through the opening frame, but the powerhouse Swedish club was too much too handle over the course of the outing and the wheels began to fall off for the Kazakhs in the second.

Nearly three minutes into the middle stanza, one of Sweden's top scorers, Samuel Fagemo, netted his second of the game and that kicked off an eight-minute stretch during which Sweden lit the lamp repeatedly. Ninety seconds after Fagemo had pushed the lead to two, Linus Oberg found twine, and Nils Hoglander extended the lead to four less than four minutes later. The run of four successive goals continued when Jonatan Berggren scored midway through the period, and Oleg Boiko's goal that stopped the bleeding was far too little for the Kazakhs to get back into the affair. Before the third was through, Lucas Raymond added another for Sweden and Maxim Musorov put one home to give Kazakhstan its second.

The loss means Kazakhstan finishes the preliminary round with four consecutive losses. Sweden, however, remained in control of Group A and has improved to 2-1-0-0.

Early goals sink Slovakia in Swiss victory
Switzerland was dominant from start to finish and blasted Slovakia 7-2 in a Monday afternoon meeting.

Gillian Kohler was the story early on, scoring two goals in the first 10 minutes to give Switzerland a 2-0 advantage. Valentin Nussbaumer scored at 14:49 to end Samuel Hlavaj's night in the Slovakian net, but it was hardly all on the netminder. Throughout the opening frame, Slovakia mustered only three shots, each of which came in the final three minutes.

Despite a shorthanded goal by Martin Fasko-Rudas midway through the second, little else went Slovakia's way. By that point, Simon Knak had already stretched the Swiss lead to four and Sandro Schmid made it 5-1 Switzerland less than 90 seconds after Fasko-Rudas' tally. Before the game was through, Robert Dzugan added another for the Slovaks, but Mika Henauer and Matthew Verboon sealed the deal with goals in the final 10 minutes for the Swiss.

With Kazakhstan failing to win in the preliminary round, Slovakia and Switzerland had already clinched spots in the quarterfinals. Switzerland, meanwhile, takes control of third place with two wins in three games and Slovakia continues to underachieve with just the one win.

Draft Watch
Sweden's Lucas Raymond improved to three points in three games with a goal against Kazakhstan. A member of the 'Terror Twins' combo with Alex Holtz, Raymond was one of Sweden's best players in Monday's contest. Raymond is expected to go in the top five of the 2020 draft.

Three Stars

  1. Samuel Fagemo, Sweden (2G, 0A, 2P) – For the time being, Fagemo has the tournament lead with five goals. His two goals took the steam out of Kazakhstan's early attack.
  2. Gillian Kohler, Switzerland (2G, 1A, 3P) – Two early goals set the pace for speedy Swiss team.
  3. Trevor Zegras, USA (0G, 2A, 2P) – With two assists in the second period, Zegras finishes the round robin with nine – five more than the second-place Kristian Tanus and Moritz Seider.

On Tap

Tuesday – Dec. 31, 2019 (Final day of round-robin play)
Slovakia vs. Sweden, 9 a.m. ET
Russia vs. Germany, 9 a.m. ET
Czech Republic vs. Canada, 1 p.m. ET
Finland vs. Switzerland, 1 p.m. ET

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