Switzerland at Czech Republic: 4-3 Switzerland in overtime
The Swiss seemed to have this one unexpectedly in the bag with first a 2-0 lead and then a 3-1 lead into the third period, and they had experienced goalie Joren van Pottelberghe in net, but it nearly got away from them. The Czechs scored two goals, the second just after Swiss star Nico Hischier came out of the penalty box in the last minute of play.
Hischier was the hero in overtime though, getting the winning goal, and that sound you hear is his draft ranking ratcheting up higher.
This win sets up a very interesting situation in the group starting out in Montréal. The Czechs already have a win, but with Switzerland beating them, the Swiss have the first tie breaker if it comes to that. Finishing fourth in the group, where the expected quarterfinal opponent is Canada, is not what anyone wants. Finishing a surprising third or even second for the teams in the weaker Group A is a better chance at a deeper medal round run.
Russia at Latvia: 9-1 Russia
At the end of two periods in this game, the shots on goal were almost even, but the score was 6-1, and Russia had already chased the first Latvian goalie, did worse to the second, and were back working on the first again.
The third period was all Russia, pouring on the offence, and they added three goals on 19 shots and overwhelmed the Latvian team.
Martins Dzierkals got his first point of the tournament, and Latvia only has two goals, so he hasn’t had much chance to show off. He nearly had a goal earlier as well:
Sukhachyov robs Dzierkals to maintain a 2-0 Russia lead. pic.twitter.com/6sQ4qy9wYw— Marc Dumont (@MarcPDumont) December 27, 2016
Balcers gets Latvia on the board. pic.twitter.com/gKf8LvllKN— Marc Dumont (@MarcPDumont) December 27, 2016
Life for Latvia doesn’t get any easier as they play Canada next. If they’d ended up in the other group this year, they might have had a very different tournament and would be leaving a very different impression of Latvian hockey.
Russian captain Kirill Kaprizov had a hat trick, five points, and was the obvious choice for player of the game. Yegor Korshkov’s teammate Alexander Polunin had two goals and two assists in a strong game for him.
“I’m going to try to show that there’s a spot for me and fight for it.” - Dzierkals on chance to be part of Leafs young core.— Scott Wheeler (@scottcwheeler) December 28, 2016
“This is not going to be the only time I’m going to play here (at the ACC).” - Dzierkals.— Scott Wheeler (@scottcwheeler) December 28, 2016
Finland at Denmark: 3-2 Denmark
Krog’s experience paid off big for the Danes today with their third ever victory at the WJC, as the shots on goal were 36-10 for Finland. That makes it seem like the Danes stole a win, but the Finns were never playing the solid crisp game they played against the Czechs the day before when they lost a heart breaker.
The Danes are a bad team. Relatively. Relative to the Finns, they are, and they took bad team penalties, hooking, tripping, high-sticking. They took a lot of penalties. But the Danes are also a good team, a team with good underlying systems and special teams, and a technically proficient penalty kill, a less than inspiring Finnish power play and a lot of blocked shots were the difference.
Finland came out hard in the second period and tried to take over the game, but it was only partially successful, and by the end of the game, they did not look a team that believed they could stage the big comeback. Not like the Czechs did in their game.
This group is now a total shambles! Finland has yet to win, but everyone else has, and they meet powerhouse Sweden next.
Someone has to come last and go to the relegation round, and at this point, that looks like it might be, shockingly, the defending champ Finland. But on New Year’s Eve, they play a game against Switzerland, and that game may just decide their fate.
Watch this celebration video. They’re happy kids.
Slovakia at Canada: 5-0 Canada
Shots on goal were 44-6 for Canada. The player of the game for Slovakia as declared by whoever does this was captain Erik Cernak. Not the goalie who faced 44 shots on goal, Adam Huska. This is clearly a travesty, but there you are.
With today’s games, and the relatively low scoring in the Canada game, it should not surprise that Russians dominate the scoring race.
IIHF Scoring Leaders as of December 27, 2016
|ERIKSSON EK Joel||SWE||F||1||1||1||2||0||3|