2012 WJC Journal – Day Three

By Ken McKenna
Photo: Russian forward Mikhail Grigorenko displayed his nifty playmaking prowess in Russia‘s 3-1 win over Slovakia (courtesy of Ken McKenna/HF)

If Day One of the 2012 World Junior Championship was highlighted by blowouts, then the third day of this event was more about more tightly played games and one near upset win.

Finland‘s 4-1 win over the United States is the game that could qualify as the upset, although the U.S. is not as strong as they looked against Denmark on Monday, nor is Finland anywhere near as bad as they looked against Canada on opening day of the WJC. But the U.S. may have a slight talent edge overall, hence the view that Finland came away with a surprise victory.

Buffalo Sabres prospect Joel Armia, a player that constantly seems to alternate between looking great or not so great, was the star for Finland with two goals and one assist. Goaltender Sami Aittokallio was equally responsible for the win, however, as he stopped 37 of 38 shots for the win. You can get a more thorough rundown of the game below…

Finland_surprises_Team_USA.shtml">Finland surprises Team USA at WJC – Prohockeynews.com The

Finland_surprises_Team_USA.shtml” />www.prohockeynews.com12/29/11

EDMONTON, AB – The U-20 USA hockey team dropped the second game they played in the preliminary round of the International Ice Hockey Federation’s World Junior Championships this afternoon at Rexall Plaza. Finland

Some postgame comments from the U.S. contingent can be found in this video…

One tweet from a presumably American hockey fan indicates a less than warm reception for the U.S. up in Edmonton…


It wasnt all warm and fuzzy between Canada and USA fans yesterday at the WJC US VS Finland game #justsayin

Thursday, December 29, 2011 10:28:22 AM

Russia and Slovakia were involved in a tight contest, with Russia coming away with a 3-1 win over the Slovaks. The Slovaks turned in a hard-working performance but failed to capitalize on some third period scoring chances that might have tilted the outcome in their direction. Instead, Russia benefited from some good goaltending for a second straight game, this time from Andrei Makaraov, plus some nice setup work from top 2012 prospects Nail Yakupov and Mikhail Grigorenko to secure the win. Below is a more thorough game recap…

The World of Junior Hockey: quells gutsy SlovaksRussia


Dating back to Slovakia‘s entry into the top-level World Juniors in 1996, the Slovaks have never defeated Russia at the World Junior Championship. Russia vanquished Slovakia 8-1 the last time these nations met at the 2009

Washington Capitals fans can take heart over the play of one of their prospects in this game..


#Caps prospect Evgeni Kuznetsov was held pointless but had a game-high 9 shots on goal in Russia’s 3-1 win over Slovakia at #WJC. #Capitals

Thursday, December 29, 2011 4:12:25 AM

In what was the biggest nail-biter of the third day of action, Sweden defeated Switzerland 4-3 in a shootout victory. The plucky Swiss squad received a top-notch goaltending performance from Lukas Meili but ultimately fell short in the shootout where the more skilled Swedish team was able to prevail. You can read more about the game in this Calgary Herald article…

Sweden+beats+plucky+Switzerland+shootout/5920888/story.html">Gallery: Sweden beats plucky Switzerland in shootout

Sweden+beats+plucky+Switzerland+shootout/5920888/story.html” />www.calgaryherald.com12/29/11

Sweden’s Mike Zibanejad, centre, gets caught between Switzerland’s Lukas Meili, left, and Christian Marti during the first period of their round-robin game of the 2012 IIHF World Junior Championship at the Scotiabank

Aside from Meili’s goaltending and the near upset by the Swiss, the play in this game that got the most attention was Swedish forward Max Friberg‘s celebration following his shootout goal. As you would expect, there was some Twitter commentary surrounding this display…


Sweden’s Max Friberg channels ‘Tiger’ for goal celebration (via NHL. com correspondent @VickersFC ). http://t.co/Gdp2jhLh

Thursday, December 29, 2011 2:27:53 PM


Max Friberg goal celebration wasn’t bad, calm down sweden haters

Wednesday, December 28, 2011 7:39:09 PM


Max Friberg‘s shootout celebration was hilarious. Rockin’ it Tiger Williams style.

Thursday, December 29, 2011 12:38:23 PM

And in the day’s near blowout, Canada took an easy 5-0 decision from the Czech Republic. Frankly, had it not been for Czech goaltender Petr Mrazek‘s stellar performance, it would have been a blowout along the lines of what we saw on Day One of the WJC. Scott Wedgewood picked up the shutout win in what was mostly an easy day’s work for the New Jersey Devils prospect. Mark Scheifele was the scoring star for Canada, picking up two goals in the victory. The folks at the Pipeline Show provide a good recap of the Canada-Czech Republic game…

Canada 2-0 After Blanking the Czech Republic – Coming Down the


All in all, it was a pretty solid night for Canada as they improved to 2-0 thanks to a 5-0 shutout over the Czech Republic. It was another quick start for the host team and once again it was a familiar player lighting the lamp.

If you’re a Canadian fan tweeting about the 5-0 win, which comes on the heels of an 8-1 win over Finland, what more can you say except keep it coming, boys..


Let’s Go Canada! Congrats to out #WJC team and their 5-0 vic over Czech Republic last night! Repeat over Denmark this eve? 7:30pm on #TSN

Thursday, December 29, 2011 9:15:12 AM


The Over-Under on how many goals Canada is going to score tonight against Denmark is 10. What’s everyones pick? #blowout #notfair #Canada

Thursday, December 29, 2011 12:32:59 PM

Only two games tonight, Canada vs. Denmark, and Russia vs. Latvia. Enjoy!