On the third day of the WWJ's the IIHF gave to me...Canada vs the USA!

We have some marquee match ups today with Sweden/Finland starting the day and Canada/USA ending it.

Here are the standings as they sit right now, taken from the IIHF site:

Rank Team GP W OTW OTL L GF GA +/- Points
Group A
1 USA 3 3 0 0 0 16 1 +15 9
2 CAN 3 2 0 0 1 17 6 +11 6
3 RUS 3 3 0 0 2 5 9 -4 3
4 CZE 3 0 0 0 3 2 20 -18 0
Group B
1 SWE 3 2 0 0 1 13 4 +9 6
2 FIN 3 2 0 0 1 14 4 +10 6
3 SUI 3 2 0 0 1 9 5 +4 6
4 FRA 3 0 0 0 3 1 24 -23 0

Canada and the United States have secured there byes to the semi-finals in Group A and Sweden had the chance to wrap up Group B with a win over Finland. France and Switzerland will play in the relegation round Thursday & Friday.

Sadly, I won't be at the day time games for the rest of the tournament. Bills to pay and all that. I"ll be at the Canada games, which will all be at 7:30PM. I'll do my best to catch snippets of the streams, which you can find here, and I'll make sure to post the scores & scorers and link to the IIHF recaps.

Here's what's on deck for today:

Finland 3 - Sweden 1 - Full Recap Here

From the opening faceoff, this was a game that had all the feeling of a playoff matchup, complete with nervous play and a lack of scoring touch, fear of making that critical error, and the occasional great rush and big save.

Sweden thought it had the first goal late in the period when Kajsa Armborg put the puck in the net on a wraparound, but the play was waved off. Moments later, Petra Nieminen scored for Finland. She drove down the right wing and then cut in sharply on goal, sliding the puck to the far side past Emma Soderberg at 18:45

The Finns might well have upped their lead in the second, but some squandered chances allowed Sweden to get back into it. Jessica Adolfsson tied the game at 7:44 just as Eve Savander came out of the penalty box. Indeed, Adolfsson got the puck at the point, and as she wound up to shoot Savander skated hard from the penalty box to the Swede, but she didn’t get there in time. Adolfsson’s blast beat Tiia Pajarinen cleanly.

Switzerland 6 - France 0 - Full Recap Here

Even though the win gives the Swiss six points, tying them with Sweden and Finland, it is the Swiss who end up in third place in Group B and having to join France in the fight to avoid relegation.

To decide the placings, a mini-group of the three countries is created, and although each team has a win and a loss against its opponents, Sweden has the best goals differential at +2 (6-4), Finland second (3-3), and the Swiss third (3-5).

Russia 3 - Czech Republic 2 - Full Recap Here
Sinjay posted some more great photos from rinkside.

The only goal of the opening period came on a typically high-skill effort from the diminutive Russian captain Kadirova. She came out of the corner and deked her way to the goal, but her quick shot was stopped by Katerina Zechovska. The goalie couldn’t corral the loose puck, however, and Kadirova batted it in out of the air at 6:54. Video review confirmed the goal was legal.

"I've seen a lot of videos of Ovechkin scoring like that, so I tried my best to do the same thing, and I succeeded. Those videos really help me understand the game."

Canada vs USA - 7:30PM

In what is most likely, barring major upset in the semi-finals, a preview of the final game on Friday night, Canada and the United States face off in the final game of the preliminary round. Before the game Team USA decided to pay tribute to injured Boston Pride player Denna Laing.

To begin this game is moving swiftly from the Canadian end to the American. There's lots of fast skating, dekeing around opponents, and stick work to knock the puck away.

Rebecca Gilmore (USA #24) comes hard into the Canadian end. Jalyn Elmes (CAN #28) slides down to block the slashing.

The Americans are getting lots of good power play chances, the Canadians didn't seem to work on their penalty kill, which was in need of work on Day 1 vs the Russians, and the Americans are getting lots of passing lanes and chances, but they don't score.

Daryl Watts (CAN #25) comes into the American end with some nice moves, slides puck through American defenders legs to skate around her, but the shot is stopped by US Goalie Alex Gulstene (USA #1). Canada comes hard back into the USA zone, a nice pass from Sophie Shirley (CAN #18) to Malia Schneider (CAN #18) is made but Schneider misses the puck.

Amy Potomak (CAN #16) is given two for delay of game and the Americans go back to dominating the power play. Sydney Brodt (USA #11) deflects a hard point shot from Wethington to score the first goal of the game. 1-0 USA.

Canada is getting lots of good chances but nothing is making it to the net as the US defenders aren't letting anything through. Emily Oden (USA #21) and Jesse Compher (USA #14) come into the Canadian end with a nice play but Neatby makes the save.

Annie Berg (CAN #23) is called for slashing and the crowd erupts into boos as the local kid is sent to the box. As the Americans come into Canada's end Cayla Barnes (USA #7) pass to Gilmore who scores the second power play goal of the game.

Elmes tries to come into the American zone alone but is quickly surrounded and the Americans take the puck away from her. Canada keeps getting into the USA zone but is getting no chances. A Canadian turnover at their blue line gives Taylor Wente (USA #16) a perfect shot, but it hits Neatby in the pads.

Friesen tries to chop a USA forwards stick in half after a poke at Neatby, which is in retaliation to a slash from Emily Oden, who gets a penalty. Canada gets one good shot in 30 seconds spent in the US end. USA is controlling the game well. Natalie Snodgrass (USA #10) takes a hooking penalty at 19:30.

First period ends 2-0 USA. Shots are 16-4 USA.

Canada opens the second period on the power play and are playing a bit better. Taking more time to set up passes and shots. I wish this one guy below me would have some patience and stop yelling "SHOOOOOOT".

An American goes into the boards and the refs arm goes up. The crowd is booing harder then I've ever heard, and Kayla Friesen (CAN #13) goes into the penalty box, two minutes for Cross Checking. A minute into the penalty kill Canada takes another penalty, Schneider gets two minutes for boarding.

The Canadian penalty kill is much better at 5 on 3 than they are with 5 on 4. Once Friesen comes out of the box, Snodgrass scores the Americans third power play goal of the game.

3-0 USA

Sophie Shirley comes into the US end with a good chance but has an American defender water skiing behind her so she has no shot. Canada is getting chippy with the Americans as they feel the US is getting away with penalties just like the crowd. Celine Frappier (CAN #21) snows US goalie Gulstene after a save.

USA is controlling the play, though Canada is getting more shots, but nothing of any quality. Jesse Compher takes down a Canadian, was lying on top of her. The refs arm goes up but Schneider takes the puck into the US end, but she is quickly surrounded by 3 Americans who strip her of the puck and the penalty whistle is blown.

Shirley has an amazing pass to Potomak, who shoots but Gulstene stops it easily. No power play goal. There were some good chances, but nothing happens.

Second period ends. Score is 3-0 USA. Shots are 24-15 USA.

We have some back and forth to start, the first five minutes were forgettable. The crowd feels that Canada was cost a couple power plays. Canada's Friesen took USA's Gilmore into the boards. Nothing was called, but Gilmore heads to the bench favouring her left arm.

Presley Norby (USA #5) has an amazing chance at the Canadian net, but no goal. Canada takes the rebound 3 on 2 into the American end but the defenders force the Canadian to shoot from the boards and Gulstene saves it easily.

Later on Canada takes a shot at the USA net and the players and crowd thinks they scored but no goal light and the ref is waving it off right away. From my view it look like Canada shot from the goalies left, it went behind Gulstene, but off the post and out to the right. The play is called for a review and it's ruled no goal.

It's still 3-0 at the 10 minute mark of the third period, shots are creeping up for Canada, sitting at 27-23. Canada is finding its groove but can't get a goal. At the Canadian blue line Grace Bowlby (USA #8) collides with Kristin O'Neill (CAN #10) and Bowlby is called for interference, but Canada can't score on the power play.

With 3:36 on the clock Canada is putting the pressure on and scores.

They keep it going in the USA end, pull the goalie at the 2 min mark, but USA gets the puck, and Gilmore scores the empty netter.

With 35 seconds left on the clock Compher is called for interference, but it's too little too late and the Americans take the game, and win Group A, 4-1. Shots on goal were 34 Canada and 32 USA.

Players of the game:

Canada #10 Kristin O'Neill

USA #24 Rebecca Gilmore.

If the Canadians can't fix their special teams then they have no chance at gold, if they make it that far. It's as simple as that. The Americans put on a clinic tonight. Special teams and even strength were excellent. Majority of Canada's chances came at the perimeter and was key to the USA controlling the game for as long as they did.

The playoff round, games are my assumption, starts tomorrow:

Relegation #1 - Switzerland vs France - 12PM
Quarter Final #1 - Finland vs Russia - 4PM
Quarter Final #2 - Sweden vs Czech Republic - 7:30PM
Thursday schedule:
Semi Final # 1 - USA vs SWE/CZE - 4PM
Semi Final #2 - CAN vs FIN/RUS - 7:30PM
Friday Schedule:
Relegation #2 - Switzerland vs France - 12PM
Bronze Medal Game 4PM
Gold Medal Game 7:30PM

Division 1 Women's U18 Championships
The Division 1 tournament started yesterday and as of publishing one game has been finished today. It's a round robin total points tournament and whomever wins gets promoted to the main group to play in next years tournament. Last place gets relegated to qualifying. Current standings are:

Rank Team GP W OTW OTL L GF GA +/- Points
1 Slovakia 2 2 0 0 0 10 0 +10 6
2 Japan 2 2 0 0 0 6 1 +5 6
3 Germany 2 1 0 0 1 5 1 +4 3
4 Norway 2 1 0 0 1 6 5 +1 3
5 Denmark 2 0 0 0 2 0 8 -8 0
6 Hungary 2 0 0 0 2 0 10 -10 0

Women's U18 Championships Division 1 Qualifying

To qualify for Division 1, 8 teams play a round robin split into two groups of four. The winners of each group play each other to determine who moves up to Division 1. The tournament wraps up today and final group standings were:

Rank Team GP W OTW OTL L GF GA +/- Points
Group A
1 Austria 3 3 0 0 0 20 1 +19 9
2 Kazakhstan 3 2 0 0 1 20 7 +13 6
3 China 3 1 0 0 2 12 11 +1 3
4 Romania 3 0 0 0 3 3 36 -33 0
Group B
1 Italy 3 3 0 0 0 15 3 +12 9
2 Great Britain 3 2 0 0 1 7 6 +1 6
3 Poland 3 1 0 0 2 14 7 +7 3
4 Australia 3 0 0 0 3 2 22 -20 0

The final standings are:
Gold Medal: Austria
Silver: Italy
Bronze: Kazakhstan
4th place: Great Britain
5th: China
6th: Poland
7th: Australia
8th: Romania
Austria will move into Division 1 at the 2017 tournament.

As with other days, please check in throughout the day for updates and recaps.