2012 WJC Journal – Day Five

By Ken McKenna
Photo: Swedish forward Sebastian Collberg contributed two goals to his team’s 9-1 win over Slovakia (courtesy of Ken McKenna/HF)


The 2012 World Junior Championship has featured some tight contests in the first four days of the tournament. But Day Five brought us our first upset win, at least on paper.

Led by the sharp goaltending of Petr Mrazek, the Czech Republic stunned the United States with a 5-2 victory. Although the U.S. played a good game, they could not capitalize on their chances, due in part to Mrazek’s heroics.

The game turned with the score tied at 2. The USA’s Josh Archibald was awarded a penalty shot with about 10 minutes left in the third period. A successful attempt would have put the U.S. in the driver’s seat. Instead, Mrazek did enough to keep Archibald from scoring, and the game turned in the Czech’s favor going forward.

Mrazek has displayed his penchant for jubilant celebration at this tournament, which is covered in this video…

Petr Mrazek Detroit Red Wings Prospect Czech vs USA WJC 2012

Detroit Red Wings 5th round (141st overall) pick of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft.

Mrazek was trending on Twitter at one point. A couple of tweets commenting on the player that has become the star of the 2012 WJC…

magicjunction7

Magic Mrazek impresses Red Wings head scout in world junior debut: By now, you surely know who Petr Mrazek is. I… http://t.co/pw33Dsfl

Saturday, December 31, 2011 12:11:41 PM

chuq

Petr Mrazek—worth the price of admission! http://t.co/xD4P7X43

Saturday, December 31, 2011 12:56:59 PM

The other close game of Day Five took place in Calgary, where Switzerland defeated Latvia 5-3 to extend their medal hopes while sending Latvia to the relegation round.

As they have for most of the tournament, Latvia played hard but ultimately didn’t have the talent to compete with the more hockey-developed countries. Latvia did tie the score at 3 late in the third period. But two quick goals by the Swiss brought the Latvians’ upset dreams to a screeching halt.

You can get a full rundown of the Swiss victory in this article…

Switzerland Hands Latvia Their Fourth Loss 5-3 – KuklasKorner

www.kuklaskorner.com12/31/11

Unfortunately for Latvia, once more they were the unvictorious Friday night against the Swiss. This loss once again was certainly not for lack of effort. Latvia trailed through the first two periods, but rallied to tie the game only to

The remaining games were blowouts, with Finland besting Denmark, 10-1, and Sweden routing Slovakia, 9-1.

The Danes played their game minus the five players that were featured in the YouTube video posted in our Day Four article. Apparently their act didn’t play well with the coaching staff.

A recap of the Finland-Denmark contest can be found at this link…

World Junior Hockey 2012: Finland whips short-handed Denmark squad – Edmonton Journal

news.google.com

24 Hours VancouverWorld Junior Hockey 2012: Finland whips short-handed Denmark squadEdmonton JournalBy Evan Daum, edmontonjournal.com December 30, 2011 Finland’s Miikka Salomaki, left, is sent flying by Denmark’s Patrick Bjorkstrand during the third …

Sweden’s victory over Slovakia was nearly as lopsided as the Finnish win vs. Denmark. The Swedes outshot the Slovaks, 55-15 as they won this game going away. The win sets up a good New Year’s Eve showdown between Russia and Sweden, with both teams heading into the game seemingly firing on all cylinders.

A review of the Sweden-Slovakia game, as well as some talk of the Sweden-Russia matchup, can be found at this link…

Sweden looks forward to first-place showdown – Edmonton Journal

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Sweden looks forward to first-place showdownEdmonton JournalBy Bryce Forbes, Calgary Herald December 31, 2011 3:23 AM Sweden’s Johan Sundstrom watches the puck go past Slovakia goalie Dominik Riecicky during the third period of play at the world juni …

Does a tournament that features several mismatches and blowout contests really matter? This one blogger seems to think so, so read on at this link…

2012 WJC: Why the World Junior Championship Matters | The

unitedstatesofhockey.com12/28/11

Then there’s everybody else, like Denmark, Belarus, Norway, Latvia, and so on. At the end of this tournament, even more will become clear as to where everyone stands. All 10 teams participating …. Junior stage, we’re also finding out which countries will be international powers over the years to come. Coming later Wednesday morning, a detailed preview of Team USA’s second preliminary-round match up of the 2012 IIHF World Junior Championship against Finland.

Enjoy today’s games, and Happy New Year to all!