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After winning a gold medal at the 2014 WJC, Finland struggled to find any level of consistency at this year's tournament and finished seventh.
However, forward Mikko Rantanen made quite the impression as one of the youngest players on the team.
In the eyes of some scouts, the 18-year-old left-shot right wing was Finland's best player. He had four of Finland's eight goals at the WJC, and proved to be fast, energetic and reliable player at each end of the ice for Finland.
"I thought Mikko was the best player on the Finnish team," NHL Director of European Scouting Goran Stubb told NHL.com. "His four goals [in the tournament] and effective overall play at World Juniors also proved that he certainly is one of the top prospects in Europe this year."
Rantanen is No. 2 on NHL Central Scouting's midterm list of international skaters eligible for the 2015 NHL Draft.
"I can't really think about my game at the tournament since we lost the last game and were out of the medal round," Rantanen said following a 6-3 loss to Sweden in the quarterfinals. "It's a team game. I was told I'm sometimes too much of a passer; I should probably shoot more."
Rantanen took 13 shots on goal in five games, and played mostly on a line with Juuso Ikonen and Roope Hintz.
"I learned lot of things playing at World Juniors," Rantanen said. "The game is different on a smaller rink and things happen faster so the game is fast too. I also learned that I have to shoot the puck more from tiny angles."
Rantanen rejoined TPS in Liiga, Finland's top professional league, three days after the loss to Sweden and resumed his top-line role, and scored a goal in his first game back. In 37 games with TPS he has four goals and 15 points, and despite his age is an alternate captain.
"He's a big, strong and mobile power forward that is always a consistent threat on the ice," Stubb said. "He has a combination of hockey sense, smooth hands and an explosive shot. He probably could take better advantage of his size (6-foot-4, 209 pounds) and strength, but overall he's a smart, two-way forward with good decision-making, reliable and a hard competitor."
It's amazing to think Rantanen was able to gain that competitive edge growing up with two sisters in Nousiainen, a province of Western Finland. Rantanen is the middle child, with older sister Laura and younger sister Noora.
"Growing up with two sisters was pretty funny I think," Rantanen said. "We're still very close and I think a big reason for that is because we have all been involved in sports as kids.
"But there was a lot teasing going on; I think me and Laura teased Noora a little bit more because she was the youngest but she understands why we did it and is not bitter anymore."
Rantanen began playing on outdoor rinks with his sisters when he was 3 years old, and began playing hockey when he was 4.
"I've always been a forward, either a wing or center," he said. "I just had to learn how to use my size to an advantage. It's something I know I need to get accustomed to doing at the next level."
Rantanen studied with great interest Hockey Hall of Fame member Peter Forsberg. Despite being a rival Swede, Forsberg was a player Rantanen looked to emulate as a youngster.
"He was the one NHL player I enjoyed to watch," Rantanen said. "He was such an all-around player, a very strong skater and very skilled. I really liked him."
Canada's gold-medal drought at the world junior championship is over, but the final step wasn't easy.
After building a four-goal lead, Canada held on through a thrilling and nerve-wracking third period to beat Russia 5-4 on Monday night at Air Canada Centre and capture the nation's first gold in this tournament since 2009.
Canada scored on its first shift, chased Russia's starting goaltender less than three minutes in and ignited the red-and-white-filled crowd of 19,014 that began to celebrate in the second period. When Russia chipped away, Canada's veteran bunch found its first trouble of the tournament but survived to avoid what would've been one of the more memorable collapses in history.
Anthony Duclair, Nick Paul, Connor McDavid, Max Domi and Sam Reinhart scored for Canada to build the lead, which at its height was 5-1. Dmitri Yudin, Ivan Barbashev, Sergey Tolchinsky and Nikolai Goldobin scored for Russia, which wasted little time chipping away.
Zach Fucale finished with 26 saves, enough to get the job done with Canada clinging to a 5-4 lead. His two biggest saves may have come with 12 and four seconds left as Russia was playing with the extra attacker.
Russia's Ilya Shestyorkin got the hook after giving up two goals on the only two shots he faced. Backup Ilya Sorokin came in and allowed three on 19 shots.
The gold medal is Canada's 16th since the tournament began in 1977.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper was in attendance for what felt like more than just a hockey game, even a tournament final. The tense rivalry dates to the 1972 Summit Series, and the last time these teams met for world junior gold, Canada blew a 3-0 third-period lead and lost 5-3 in Buffalo, N.Y., in 2011.
"They have such a skilled program," Canadian captain Curtis Lazar said of the Russians. "They know how to put the puck in the net with their firepower and they love spoiling Canada's parade and beating them every which way."
Russia tried to beat Canada up the second the puck dropped at centre ice. Pavel Buchnevich and Domi had been jostling before the faceoff, and Buchnevich decked Domi the instant he could.
But Domi turned down the ice and at the 23-second mark and fed Duclair for the game's first goal on Canada's first shot. Not long after, 2:32 in, Brayden Point found Paul driving to the net and it was 2-0 Canada on just two shots.
With the Russians stunned and down two goals so early, coach Valeri Bragin yanked Shestyorkin in favour of Sorokin, who beat Canada in exhibition action last month in the same building.
Duclair hit the post with a chance to score his second of the night, but then Sorokin seemed to stabilize the Russians, who got their legs under them and began to pressure Canada. At 9:20, Yudin shot the puck through traffic and had it clank off iron and in past Fucale to keep it a game.
As soon as the goal was scored, Russia's Alexander Sharov decked Canada's Nick Ritchie and pushing and shoving followed. Linesmen had to block off Canada's bench from the Russians as they celebrated to keep things from escalating.
Russia kept Canada on its heels until McDavid provided some temporary breathing room 5:08 into the second. Josh Morrissey sprung him on a breakaway, and the 17-year-old phenom slid the puck five-hole on Sorokin to make it 3-1.
Domi added his fifth goal of the tournament at 7:22 when he got space down the left wing and patiently waited before picking a corner glove side. That forced a Russian timeout with the score 4-1.
Chants of "This is our house" filled Air Canada Centre a few minutes later, and then at 12:30 fans thought they were close to tasting gold. That's when Reinhart got his stick on Domi's shot and redirected it in to give Canada a four-goal lead.
Things began to unravel when Jake Virtanen was penalized for boarding Sharov. On the power play, Barbashev poked the puck in from the side of the crease to cut it to 5-2.
Unbelievably 32 seconds later it was 5-3 when Tolchinsky scored on a two-on-one on a pass from Goldobin. Worry began to creep in with Russia rolling.
Defenceman Samuel Morin took a tripping penalty, and at 17:37 Goldobin scored to make it a one-goal game. That prompted Canadian coach Benoit Groulx to use his timeout and settle down his rattled team.
Canada had enjoyed a charmed trip to the gold-medal game, never trailing and barely playing in stressful situations. Groulx hoped going through a tough first period against Slovakia in the semifinal would provide his group with some kind of adversity to draw from.
That paled in comparison to Monday night, when Canada was forced to cling to a one-goal lead. Reinhart took a hooking penalty late in the second to give Russia a power play to start the third, and though there were some nervous moments it ended without much of a threat.
Sorokin made a pad save in the third to keep Canada from feeling too good about itself. But the Russians couldn't score the fifth goal to complete the comeback.
Notes — Bronze-medal-winning Slovak goaltender Denis Godla was voted tournament MVP by members of the media. Godla stopped 224 of the 242 shots he faced in seven games. ... Joining Godla on the all-tournament team were McDavid, Domi, Reinhart, Morrissey and Swedish defenceman Gustav Forsling.
Captain Martin Reway set up three goals, including Pavol Skalicky's winner early in the third period, as Slovakia capped a remarkable tournament by upsetting Sweden 4-2 on Monday to win bronze at the world junior hockey championship.
The Slovaks won their only other medal, a bronze, in 1998-'99, in Winnipeg. Eighth last year, they leave this tournament with wins over Finland, the Czech Republic, Germany and Sweden, losing only to Canada (twice) and the U.S.
Sweden pulled its goalie with 2:28 remaining, only to see Reway set up Patrik Koys for an empty-net insurance goal at 19:04.
Slovak goalie Denis Godla, one of the stars of the tournament, raised his arms in triumph as the final buzzer went before he was mobbed by his teammates.
The Swedes fought back after digging themselves an early 2-0 hole but their finishing — and some loose defence — failed them.
With the game tied 2-2, the hard-working Slovaks started the third on a five-minute power-play after Julius Bergman received a five-minute penalty for interference and a game misconduct for felling Koys at the end of the second. Koys needed help to get off the ice after being seemingly high-sticked in the neck but returned in the third.
Pavol Skalicky took advantage, beating goalie Linus Soderstrom between the legs from the slot after a perfect pass from Reway, a Montreal Canadiens' prospect, at 2:52.
David Soltes and Mislav Rosandic also scored for Slovakia, which got another stellar performance from Godla.
William Nylander and Jens Looke scored for Sweden. Both teams had 28 shots on goal.
While there were empty seats, the game drew an enthusiastic crowd — most clad in red Canadian jerseys ahead of the gold-medal showdown — that cheered on Nylander every time the Toronto Maple Leaf prospect's name was announced. The stylish forward had a goal and six shots in the first alone.
Down 2-0 after four minutes, the Swedes rallied to open holes in the Slovak defence and went into the first intermission tied 2-2. But Slovakia did not back down in a scoreless second that saw the Swedes' finishing unable to match their often slick buildup.
Sweden led Group B with a 4-0-0-0 record and beat Finland 4-0 in the quarter-finals before losing 4-1 to Russia in the semifinal.
The Swedes took silver the last two years after winning the 2011-'12 tournament in Calgary. They came into the game with 17 tournament medals (2-10-5)
Slovakia (2-0-0-2) finished third in Group A, recovering from an 8-0 loss to Canada on the opening day of the tournament. The Slovaks went on to win three of their next four, including a 3-0 quarter-final victory over the favoured Czechs, before falling 5-1 to Canada.
Godla, given the hook against Canada on Boxing Day, came into the game with a 2.90 goals-against average and .925 save percentage. Godla, eligible for the 2015 NHL draft, led all tournament goalies in shots faced (214) and saves (198) going into the final day of play.
Soderstrom, a New York Islanders prospect, had a 2.19 GAA and .9221 save percentage.
Soltes opened the scoring at 2:43 after a clearing pass by Andreas Englund deflected to him in the slot and the Slovak beat Soderstrom with a low shot to the stick side.
Rosandic made it 2-0 just 39 seconds later. Reway found him alone on a rush and the Rosandic burst it on net, neatly deking Soderstrom before poking it in.
Outshot 5-0 and trailing 2-0, the Swedes called a timeout.
The smooth-skating Swedes began to get their act together and Nylander scored his third goal of the tournament from in close at 10:22 after a nifty tic-tac-toe passing play.
Sweden had a five-on-three power play for 85 seconds but couldn't beat Godla. After the Swedes hit the post with a shot from the blue-line, Looke tied it at 2-2 at 16:12 after a sweet pass from Christoffer Ehn found him all alone cruising towards the goal.
Once trailing the shot count 7-2, Sweden finished the first with a 15-10 edge.
The start of the second almost mirrored the first with a Swedish giveaway giving Reway a glorious chance, but Soderstrom stuck out a leg to deny him.
A Slovak power-play goal was negated by a Rosandic penalty midway through the second as Slovakia outshoot the Swedes 13-6.
Canada will play Russia in the gold-medal game of the 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship at Air Canada Center on Monday (8 p.m. ET; NHLN-US). It's the 14th time in tournament history those teams have met in the WJC title game, and the eighth time since 1996.
Russia beat Sweden 4-1 in its semifinal Sunday while Canada beat Slovakia 5-1.
"It's special," Canada defenseman Joshua Morrissey said. "Canada and Russia; it's one of those great rivalries in hockey. It's always very intense. Hearing the fans chant 'Canada' and 'We want Russia' in the end was pretty cool. It's pretty inspiring."
Canada holds a 7-6 lead in the championship-round games. Russia, however, has defeated Canada in the playoff round at the past four tournaments, including the bronze-medal game in 2013 and 2014.
"It's going to be unbelievable," Canada forward Connor McDavid said. "I dream of getting this opportunity and we have it in front of us. But we can't look too far ahead because we have a great Russian team next. This is going to be pretty cool [Monday]."
Canada has won three of the past four gold-medal games (2005, 2006, 2007) against Russia, but the most recent gold game between them occurred in 2011 when Russia scored five unanswered goals in the third period to earn a stunning 5-3 victory in Buffalo.
"We know we have to play a complete 60 minutes of hard hitting and fast-paced hockey against Russia," Canada defenseman Joe Hicketts said. "We expect them to play a fast game too. They play more of a North American-style of hockey on this NHL-sized ice. We'll have to get pucks deep and hopefully withstand some of their push-backs."
Russia is riding an emotional high after successive playoff-round victories against the United States (3-2) in the quarterfinals and Sweden in the semifinals.
Goaltender Igor Shesterkin (New York Rangers) has stopped 65 of 68 shots in the two medal-round wins and 120 of 126 for the tournament, with a 1.50 goals-against average and .952 save percentage. He credited his teammates in the victory against Sweden, which entered the game ranked second in the tournament with 24 goals. Shesterkin and his teammates denied Sweden on three power-play chances.
"I feel OK; all my teammates have adapted to the pressure and that's why we have done so well the past two games," Shesterkin said.
The Russia offense has been led by the top line of Ivan Barbashev (St. Louis Blues), Pavel Buchnevich (New York Rangers) and Vyacheslav Leshenko (2015 draft eligible), which has combined for six goals and 15 points. Forward Alexander Sharov (2015 draft eligible) scored two goals against Sweden and has four in the tournament.
"We've seen [Canada] games and they have pretty good skilled guys and a couple of them playing in the NHL," Barbashev said. "They have a pretty good team this year. I think it helps that we had a tough road to the final; we had a couple pretty hard games against the United States and Sweden. We know how to play and we'll be playing the same way we played [against Sweden and the United States]."
Russia two-way forward Nikolay Goldobin (San Jose Sharks), who has one goal and three points, has found good chemistry alongside Sergey Tolchinsky (Carolina Hurricanes) and Vladislav Kamenev (Nashville Predators).
Russia ranks fourth on the power play (7-for-24, 29.2 percent) but seventh in penalty killing (17-for-22, 77.3 percent) in the tournament. Russia has 20 goals in six games to rank third in that category.
"Everybody understands we don't have a chance to have mistakes," Barbashev said. "We know it was kind of brutal in [Group B], but after the quarterfinals and semifinals everybody was together and we play for 100 percent."
Canada's top line of Sam Reinhart (Buffalo Sabres) centering Max Domi (Arizona Coyotes) and Anthony Duclair (New York Rangers) has done well all tournament.
"[Russia] is a strong team," Reinhart said. "They play a physical game and come at you with everybody. We have to keep our pace up against them. I wouldn't be surprised if it's a very physical game."
Reinhart has four goals and 10 points in six games, Domi has four goals and seven points and Duclair has three goals and seven points. Nicolas Petan (Winnipeg Jets) had a hat trick in the victory against Slovakia on Sunday; he has four goals and a tournament-high 11 points.
Connor McDavid, the projected No. 1 pick in the 2015 NHL Draft, had three assists against Slovakia to boost his scoring totals to two goals and 10 points with 20 shots on goal.
McDavid entered the tournament having missed five weeks after sustaining an injury to his right hand injury Nov. 11, but he has one goal and five assists in two medal-round victories. McDavid still remembers losing to Russia in the bronze-medal game at the 2014 WJC in Malmo, Sweden, and said he is looking forward to playing on what is sure to be an emotional night in Toronto.
"I can't really explain it; it's a feeling that you're going to have to feel when you skate out there," he said. "Every time you skate on the ice at the ACC the fans are going crazy. It's so exciting every time."
Canada captain Curtis Lazar (Ottawa Senators) also has been big, tying for the tournament lead with five goals. Defensively, Darnell Nurse (Edmonton Oilers) and Shea Theodore (Anaheim Ducks) will look to shut down Russia's top line, just as they did United States center Jack Eichel, a projected top-two choice in the 2015 draft, and his linemates in a 5-3 preliminary-round victory on New Year's Eve.
Morrissey (Winnipeg Jets) not only has three points and a plus-seven rating for Canada, but he has been a big physical presence in every area of the ice. Goaltender Zachary Fucale (Montreal Canadiens) has started the past two games, allowing one goal on 29 shots.
"Canada versus Russia is something you dream of," Hicketts said. "That rivalry has been around since the 1972 Summit Series that I have been told about and see highlights all the time. It's going to be something special."
Sweden, Russia, Canada and Slovakia are the final four teams left at the 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship, and they'll play in the semifinals Sunday at Air Canada Centre.
Sweden, who won the silver medal at the 2014 WJC, plays Russia, the 2014 bronze medalists, in one semifinal; Canada faces Slovakia in the second game.
The survivors will meet in the gold-medal game in Toronto on Monday at 8 p.m. ET. The bronze-medal game is Monday at 4 p.m. ET.
Canada is making its 17th consecutive appearance in the tournament semifinals, Sweden is making its ninth straight appearance and Russia is in the final four for the fifth straight time. Slovakia, which has finished no higher than sixth (2012) the past five years at the WJC, last earned a semifinal berth in 2009.
A new champion is guaranteed this year since Finland, the 2014 gold medalist, lost 6-3 to Sweden on Friday in the quarterfinals. The other quarterfinal games saw Canada beat Denmark 8-0; Russia defeat the United States 3-2; and Slovakia defeat the Czech Republic 3-0.
Here is a closer look at the semifinal games:
SWEDEN vs. RUSSIA (4 p.m. ET)
Two of the highest-scoring teams in the tournament should provide plenty of offensive fireworks. Sweden, unbeaten in five games, ranks second with 24 goals while Russia is third with 16 goals. Sweden has beat Russia in 10 of their past 11 games at the WJC; the past five have been one-goal games.
Sweden beat Russia 2-1 in the semifinals of the 2014 WJC. The last time Russia beat Sweden was a 4-3 win in the semifinals in 2011 in Buffalo; that also was the last time Russia won gold at the tournament.
Forwards William Nylander (Toronto Maple Leafs) and Oskar Lindblom (Philadelphia Flyers) are tied for the tournament scoring lead with nine points. Lindblom and Adrian Kempe (Los Angeles Kings) lead Sweden with four goals each. Nine players have at least three points, including defenseman Gustav Forsling (Vancouver Canucks), who leads all players at his position at the tournament with eight points.
Sweden beat Russia 3-2 Dec. 29 in a Group B preliminary-round game, with an even-strength goal by Axel Holmstrom (Detroit Red Wings) with 9:07 remaining in the third period breaking a 2-2 tie.
"We beat them already but we have to forget about that win and worry about this next game," Nylander said. "They have great players so we have to be ready to go at it right off the bat. Advancing in this tournament is always the goal. We know how good we are and we know that we're able to compete for a medal so you want to set your standards pretty high because you expect a lot from yourself."
Sweden has excelled on special teams, with the tournament's best power play (12-for-24, 50 percent) and penalty kill (16-for-16, 100 percent).
Goaltender Linus Soderstrom (New York Islanders) has five wins, a 1.80 goals-against average and .932 save percentage. He's played every minute of the tournament for Sweden.
Russia, which has averaged 3.2 goals per game, ranks fourth on the power play (6-for-20, 30 percent) but seventh on the penalty kill (14-for-19, 73.7 percent).
Ten players have at least one goal for Russia and eight players have three or more points, led by Pavel Buchnevich (New York Rangers), Ivan Barbashev (St. Louis Blues) and Vyacheslav Leshenko (2015 draft eligible) with five points each.
Defensively Ivan Provorov (2015 draft eligible) has done his best to impress in front of goaltenders Ilya Sorokin (New York Islanders) and Igor Shesterkin (New York Rangers). Shesterkin, who made 39 saves in the win against the United States, has a 1.67 GAA and .949 save percentage in three games. Sorokin has a 2.41 GAA and .903 save percentage in two games.
"It's going to be tough game because Russia has a lot of skilled players and tough players," Kempe said. "We need to come out the same way we did last game; we played well against them."
CANADA vs. SLOVAKIA (8 p.m. ET, NHLN-US)
Canada beat Slovakia 8-0 when they played a Group A game Dec. 26, the opening game of the tournament.
Slovakia will have an uphill battle against a Canada team that is clicking on all offensive and defensive cylinders right now. The only setback occurred Friday when forward Robby Fabbri (St. Louis Blues) sustained a high right ankle sprain in the win against Denmark; he'll miss the remainder of the tournament. Fabbri had two goals, six points and a plus-7 rating in five games, including two goals and four points in the preliminary-round win against Slovakia.
Canada coach Benoit Groulx has received production throughout his lineup. Canada is averaging a tournament-best 5.8 goals per game, and has gotten at least one goal from 14 players; eight have at least four points.
The top line of Sam Reinhart (Buffalo Sabres) centering Max Domi (Arizona Coyotes) and Anthony Duclair (New York Rangers) has been Canada's best. Reinhart is tied with Sweden's Nylander and Lindblom for the tournament scoring lead with nine points (four goals, five assists). Domi has four goals and seven points, while Duclair has two goals and five points.
"Don't let the last game [against Slovakia] fool anyone because it's not fooling us," Reinhart said. "They've gotten better, and if they had a few breaks at the start that would have been a different game. We're not taking them lightly in the slightest."
Connor McDavid, the projected No. 1 pick in the 2015 NHL Draft, appears to be getting stronger and more confident each game. McDavid entered the tournament having missed five weeks after sustaining an injury to his right hand Nov. 11 but he flashed some offensive wizardry in the quarterfinal win against Denmark with one goal and two assists. McDavid has two goals, seven points and a plus-5 rating in five games.
Canada captain Curtis Lazar (Ottawa Senators), McDavid's roommate and linemate, is tied for the tournament lead with five goals. Nicolas Petan (Winnipeg Jets) has provided secondary scoring with one goal and eight points, and Lawson Crouse (2015 draft eligible), the youngest player on the roster, has one goal and three points.
"The coaches are always stressing good habits," Crouse said. "In a tournament like this you always have to play with good habits. Even though you're winning you still have to do the right things at the right time."
Crouse played a key role on a steadily improving fourth line, alongside Frederik Gauthier (Toronto Maple Leafs) and Nick Ritchie (Anaheim Ducks), against Denmark on Friday.
"We're three big bodies and we have to use them down low to bring pucks to the net," Gauthier said. "We can create scoring chances or just get some momentum and so far it's been great."
The shut-down defense pair of Shea Theodore (Anaheim Ducks) and Darnell Nurse (Edmonton Oilers) has been exceptional, and defenseman Joshua Morrissey (Winnipeg Jets) has one goal and three points but also has set the tone at the start of almost every game with a thunderous hit.
Canada has allowed a tournament-low four goals, and each goaltender has played well, but it will be Zachary Fucale (Montreal Canadiens) in goal against Slovakia, rather than Eric Comrie (Winnipeg Jets).
Fucale had 14 saves in the shutout of Denmark in the quarterfinals, and in three games Fucale has three wins, two shutouts a 0.33 GAA and .981 save percentage. It also will be the first time Groulx has started the same goaltender in back-to-back games; he had alternated Fucale and Comrie in the first five games.
Slovakia will look to captain Martin Reway (Montreal Canadiens), who leads Slovakia with four goals and six points. Linemate Peter Cehlarik (Boston Bruins) has two goals and three points. Each player scored a third-period goal in the quarterfinal victory against the Czech Republic.
Goaltender Denis Godla, who made 34 saves in the shutout against the Czech Republic, has three wins, a 2.43 GAA and a .935 save percentage. Slovakia has allowed 14 goals in five games.
In the preliminary round of the 2014 WJC, Slovakia did hold its own in a 5-3 loss to Canada, which included an empty-net goal for Canada with 1:20 remaining in regulation.
The quarterfinal round of the IIHF World Junior Championship will be played Friday in Montreal and Toronto after Canada, Finland, Sweden and the Czech Republic won on the final day of preliminary-round games.
The United States (2-1-0-1, eight points), the runner-up in Group A, will open quarterfinal play against Russia (1-1-0-2, five points) at Bell Centre in Montreal at 1 p.m. ET (NHLN-US). Russia, third in Group B, defeated the United States in the quarterfinals at the 2014 WJC in Malmo, Sweden.
Sweden (4-0-0-0, 12 points), which rolled through Group B, will face Finland (1-0-1-2, four points) at 3 p.m. ET at Air Canada Centre in Toronto. Finland, which beat Germany to finish fourth in Group A, defeated Sweden in the championship game last year.
Slovakia (2-0-0-2, six points) and the Czech Republic (1-1-0-2, five points) will play at 5 p.m. ET at Bell Centre (NHLN-US). The Czech Republic finished second in Group B by beating Russia 4-1 on Wednesday. Slovakia finished third in Group A.
Unbeaten Canada (4-0-0-0, 12 points), the Group A winner, will conclude the quarterfinal round at 8 p.m. ET with a game against Denmark (0-1-2-1, four points) at Air Canada Centre (NHLN-US). Denmark, fourth in Group B, is in the final eight after its first-ever WJC victory, a 4-3 shootout win against Switzerland on Tuesday.
HC Geneve-Servette defended its Spengler Cup title on Wednesday with a 3-0 victory over Salavat Yulaev Ufa at the Vaillant Arena. It was the 88th edition of the tournament.
Arnaud Jacquemet, Daniel Rubin and Taylor Pyatt scored and Janick Schwendener made 21 saves for the shutout.
HC Geneve-Servette defeated Canada 6-5 in the semifinals a day earlier. Canada nearly came back after entering the third period trailing by five goals, but fell one goal short.
Spengler Cup All-Star Team: Genoni (HCD); Du Bois (HCD), Heikkinen (Ufa); Pestoni (GSHC) Slepyshev (Ufa), Omark (Jokerit).
The Danes won the shootout 2-1 thanks to goals from Nikolaj Ehlers and Oliver Bjorkstrand. It was the first win in history at the World Juniors' top division for Denmark.
The Swiss won the only two previous meetings between the teams.
The Swiss jumped into a 2-0 lead with quick goals midway through the opening period. Luca Hischier tried to stuff the puck in the short side of the Danish goal, but the rebound came right to Kris Schmidli, who was left uncovered by defenceman Mikkel Aagaard at 10:48.
Just 66 seconds later Kevin Fiala converted a one-timer off a cross-slot pass from Denis Malgin, and the Danes were down but not out.
The top line of Nikolaj Ehlers, Mads Eller, and Oliver Bjorkstrand all contributed to a late goal to get their team back in the game. Ehlers danced through the slot before dishing the puck off to Bjorkstrand, who made a nice deke on goalie Gauthier Descloux. The goalie made the save, but he then knocked the puck into his own goal at 17:58 to give the Danes life after one period.
The second period also produced three goals, the edge going to Denmark and producing a 3-3 tie after 40 minutes. Anders Krogsgaard’s point shot on a power play went all the way at 12:19 to tie the game.
But just 24 seconds later, the Swiss went ahead again on a bad goal. Timo Meier’s close-in shot was stopped by Sorensen and the rebound went behind the goal. Meier chased it down and shot the puck in front from near the end boards, and it bounced off the goalie’s leg and in.
The Danes weren’t done, though. Defenceman Michael Fora muffed his clearing attempt from the slot, and Mikkel Aagaard was there to snap the puck in, tying the game 3-3.
Meanwhile, as Denmark clawed its way back into the game, Sorensen was making a series of sensational left-pad saves to keep the score close. Those saves were small, though, compared to the one he made midway through the third period, robbing Luca Fazzini of a sure goal with that same left pad. Fazzini looked to the rafters after being denied, but it was all Sorensen and nothing divine about the stop.
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