World Juniors Roundup: Sweden remains undefeated - The Buffalo News

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World Juniors Roundup: Sweden remains undefeated

Sweden remained the only undefeated team at this year's World Junior Championship. But Saturday's win was no skate in the park.

Switzerland gave Sweden a tough game before the Swedes put together a dominant third period for a 7-2 win in front of a capacity crowd of 2,115 in HarborCenter.

Sweden took a 1-0 lead on a power play goal from Lias Andersson, set up by Buffalo Sabres prospect Alexander Nylander.

But the Swiss responded about five minutes later with an unassisted goal from Nicolas Muller.

Sweden took a 3-1 lead in the second with another tally from Andersson and a short-handed goal from Axel Jonsson Fjallby. But Switzerland scored in the final minute of the period on the power play, a goal from Marco Miranda, to cut the lead to 3-2.

The offense came fast and furious in the third period as Sweden finally pulled away. They scored four goals -- two by Elias Pettersson and single tallies from Tim Soderlund and Fabian Zetterlund.

"Switzerland started pretty fast today, but we got better as the game went on," said Nylander, who played on a line with Pettersson and Linus Lindstrom. "Our third period was really strong. We showed how we can play when we're playing well. They were forechecking hard in the first two periods, and we had to just simplify our game, which we did."

Finland 5, Slovakia 2

Three third-period goals lifted Finland to the win over Slovakia and into second place in Group A in front of 2,115 in KeyBank Center, setting up a key matchup with the U.S. on Sunday.

Finland now has six points with two wins plus a loss to Canada. The U.S. sits with five points after a opening win over Denmark, a loss to Slovakia, and the dramatic shootout win over Canada. The U.S. and Finland meet at 4 p.m. in KeyBank Center. If the U.S. wins in regulation, it will take second place in Group A. Anything else, coupled with the result of the Slovakia-Denmark game, and the U.S. could finish third or fourth.

After a scoreless first period, Finland took a 1-0 lead on a goal from Joona Koppanen. Slovakia responded seven minutes later with a tally from Martin Bodak.

But Finland regained the lead on a power play goal from Aapeli Rasanen with 58 seconds left in the second period. They went up, 3-1, 6:23 into the third period when Aleksi Heponiemi scored.

Slovakia, which defeated the U.S. on Thursday, came back with a goal from Samuel Bucek at 9:03, but Finland scored twice more on goals from Joni Ikonen and Markus Nurmi to secure the win.

Czech Republic 6, Belarus 5

Belarus will be playing in the relegation round at the World Juniors after going winless in its four preliminary round games in Group B. The final loss in Group B play came Saturday, a wild 6-5 decision to the Czech Republic in front of 5,222 in KeyBank Center.

Belarus went down swinging, however, starting hot and taking a 2-0 lead. Yegor Sharangovich scored a power play goal in the first period and Ivan Drozdov tallied in the second. That chased Czech starting goaltender Josef Korenar, who was replaced by Jakub Skarek.

Less than a minute after the goalie change, the Czech Republic got on the board thanks to Radovan Pavlik. That opened the flood gates for the Czechs, who scored four more in the period to take a 5-2 lead.

That's when Belarus changed its goalie, replacing starter Andrei Grishenko with Dmitri Rodik. And Belarus responded to the change with a power play goal from Sharangovich to cut the lead to 5-3.

It got even tighter in the third when Igor Martynov scored a power play goal to cut the Czech lead to 5-4.

Marek Zachar gave the Czech Republic back its two-goal lead. Belarus rallied, scoring with 5:08 left in regulation, but could not get the equalizer and fell into the relegation series.

Sabres prospect Vojtech Budik had two assists for the Czech Republic, which finishes preliminary play at noon Sunday when it meets Switzerland.

 

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