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Sunday was the sixth day of the 2022 IIHF World Junior Championship, which is being held at Rogers Place in Edmonton.
United States 3, Sweden 2 — Matt Coronato (Calgary Flames) scored two goals, and the United States clinched first place in Group B in its final preliminary-round game.
Brett Berard (New York Rangers) scored, Logan Cooley (Arizona Coyotes) had two assists, and Kaidan Mbereko (2023 NHL Draft eligible) made 28 saves for the U.S. (4-0-0-0), which went undefeated in WJC preliminary-round play for the fourth time since 2000.
“I think being physical was important,” Coronato said. “They’re a great team and do a lot of things well. I think a lot of focus was on us and how we were going to play, and we did what we needed to do. We’re happy with the way we played and we’re just going to continue to build on it.”
Emil Andrae (Philadelphia Flyers) had a goal and an assist, and Jesper Wallstedt (Minnesota Wild) made 38 saves for Sweden (2-0-0-1), which needs to win against Germany in its final preliminary-round game on Monday to finish second in Group B..
“I think I betrayed the whole team; all the players, all the staff and I disappointed the whole country with this loss,” Wallstedt said. “We’re out of the top spot in our group, and a lot of that responsibility is on myself.”
Berard scored on his own rebound for a power-play goal at 6:35 of the first period to give the U.S. a 1-0 lead.
Coronato made it 2-0 at the left post at 5:37 of the second period, then scored again at 5:26 of the third period on a shot from the left face-off circle for a 3-0 lead. The forward prospect has six points (four goals, two assists) during a four-game point streak.
Andrae pulled Sweden within 3-1 on a shot from the point that deflected out of Mbereko’s glove at 11:38 of the third.
Ake Stakkestad scored on a 6-on-4 advantage during a Sweden power play and Wallstedt pulled for an extra attacker at 18:45 for the 3-2 final.
The United States, which will next play Czechia in the tournament quarterfinal round on Wednesday, is looking to win back-to-back titles for the first time after defeating Canada in the 2021 championship game. Canada was the last team to do so, winning five straight from 2005-09.
“It was a good team effort; we battled and got the job done,” Mbereko said. “I think when we play our game we’re one of the top teams in the tournament, and I could see once we got to our game we were pretty dominant. I think we just need to stick to our game plan in the elimination round.”
Latvia 5, Czechia 2 — Ralfs Bergmanis had a natural hat trick, and Latvia upset Czechia to secure third place in Group A in its final preliminary-round game.
Bruno Bruveris made 33 saves for Latvia (1-0-1-2), which won at the World Juniors for the first time since defeating Denmark 2-1 in overtime in a relegation-round game in 2012.
Latvia will play a quarterfinal-round game at the WJC for the first time in its seven appearances at the under-20 tournament. The country had been winless in 27 preliminary-round games.
“We made history, so I’m really happy about the team and we’re really excited,” Bergmanis said. “From the beginning of the tournament, everybody was making jokes about us that we were just happy to be here. Now we’re here to win and try our best every game.”
Bruveris denied Czechia forward Jan Mysak (Montreal Canadiens) on a penalty shot at 7:58 of the third period with his country holding a 4-2 advantage.
Stanislav Svozil (Columbus Blue Jackets) had a goal and an assist, and Jan Bednar (Detroit Red Wings) made 12 saves for Czechia (1-0-1-2).
“That was a tough game for us,” Svozil said. “They wanted it more than us. It was like a Game 7 for them, so I don’t know what happened. Their goalie was pretty good, but we have to score more goals than two against Latvia.”
Martins Lavins gave Latvia a 1-0 lead at 4:30 of the first period, and Rainers Rullers made it 2-0 from the right circle at 12:21.
Michal Gut pulled Czechia within 2-1 with a power-play goal at 16:43 of the first.
Svozil tied it 2-2 on a backhand from the right circle at 9:33 of the second period.
Bergmanis, a 20-year-old defenseman, gave Latvia a 3-2 lead on a shot from the right point at 11:15. The Latvia captain, who will be a freshman at the University of Vermont this season, then made it 4-2 with a power-play goal at 17:38.
Bergmanis scored an empty-net goal at 18:41 of the third period for the 5-2 final.
“Of course, a hat trick is nice, but it was more important that we won the game and made history and we’re really happy about this,” Bergmanis said.
The win by Latvia eliminated Slovakia (0-1-0-3) from medal-round contention. Latvia earned a point in a 3-2 shootout loss to Slovakia on Friday.
Czechia will finish fourth in Group A.
Finland 9, Slovakia 3 — Joel Maatta (Edmonton Oilers) and Kasper Simontaival (Los Angeles Kings) each scored two goals for Finland, which remained in contention for the top seed in Group A.
Kasper Puutio (Florida Panthers) and Aatu Raty (New York Islanders) each had a goal and two assists, Roni Hirvonen (Toronto Maple Leafs) had a goal and an assist, and Joakim Kemell (Nashville Predators), Roby Jarventie (Ottawa Senators) and Topi Niemela (Maple Leafs) each had two assists for Finland (2-1-0-0), which went 5-for-7 on the power play and is 8-for-13 in the tournament.
Juha Jatkola made 13 saves in his tournament debut.
Finland’s forward line of Raty, Hirvonen and Kemell combined for seven points.
“It’s a good combination,” coach Antti Pennanen said. “Aatu is really smart and can make some plays, Kemell has a great shot, and Hirvonen is so mature and very responsible, so it’s a good combination. They are good on the power play, lots of skill on the ice, so it’s fun to watch when they’re playing.”
Libor Nemec had a goal and an assist, and Rayen Petrovicky had two assists for Slovakia (0-1-0-3). Simon Latkoczy allowed six goals on 35 shots before being replaced in the third period by Tomas Bolo, who made 10 saves.
“I don’t know what’s not working; it was a tough game for us,” Petrovicky said. “We had a lot of PKs, and that’s what we can’t do, that’s what killed us today. We allowed five goals on the PK, and that’s terrible. We blocked a lot of shots (on the penalty kill), but the goals were coming and we can’t get so many fouls. That was the main factor.”
Simontaival scored with a backhand at the left post 35 seconds into the first period to give Finland a 1-0 lead.
Peter Repcik tied it 1-1 at 7:42.
Maatta put Finland back in front 2-1 at 14:02, scoring from the right face-off circle with six seconds remaining on a power play.
Hirvonen scored another power-play goal on a deflection 24 seconds into the second period to make it 3-1, but Servac Petrovsky (Wild) cut it to 3-2 at 7:04.
Finland then pulled away with three goals on its next four shots.
Maatta scored his second of the game on the power play to make it 4-2 at 11:42, Raty extended the lead to 5-2 at 16:41, and Oliver Kapanen (Canadiens) made it 6-2 on a shot from the right circle at 18:08.
Kalle Vaisanen (Rangers) pushed it to 7-2 at 6:11 of the third period before Nemec scored for Slovakia on a deflection to make it 7-3 at 9:16.
Simontaival scored a power-play goal to make it 8-3 at 11:45. Puutio then scored Finland’s fifth goal with the man-advantage at 15:17 for the 9-3 final.
Finland will play Canada for the No. 1 seed in Group A on Monday. Slovakia has completed its preliminary-round schedule.
LNH.com staff writer Guillaume Lepage and NHL.com independent correspondent Derek Van Diest contributed to this report
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