World Hockey Championship Roundup: Scandinavian Delight

Day six of the tournament brought us the final day of the preliminary round. After the final four games, we’d know who would be in the qualification round and who would fight for their lives in the relegation pool. And it was a hell of a day.

Group C: Latvia 2 vs. Austria 0 – It hasn’t been a pretty preliminary round for Austria and it looks like it won’t get any better in the relegation round. Despite a 35 save effort by goalie Bernd Bruckler, Austria went to its third straight defeat. Latvia never had much of a problem with Austria, creating chances seemingly at will while easily killing off Austrian power plays. Martins Cipulis and Guntis Dzerins scored for Latvia. Austria’s next action will be against Hungary in the relegation pool while Latvia moves on to the qualification round.

Group C: Sweden 6 vs. USA 5 (OT) – They lost it in overtime against Latvia and weren’t going to let that happen again. Sweden scored three unanswered in the third period before Kristian Huselius notched the game winning goal two minutes into the extra frame. Sweden’s epic comeback was led by Mattias Wienhandl who had two goals (including the tying goal) and an assist and Magnus Johansson who had a goal and two assists. Despite letting in five goals, Jonas Gustavsson made 39 saves for the win. Because of the international hockey points system, the Americans remained in first place in Group C despite the loss. Both teams move on to the qualification round with Sweden playing Russia and the Americans playing France.

Group C Final Standings
1. USA 2-0-1-0, 7 Pts.
2. Sweden 1-1-1-0, 6 Pts.
3. Latvia 1-1-0-1, 5 Pts.
4. Austria 0-0-0-3, 0 Pts.

Group D: Norway 5 vs. Denmark 4 (OT) – It was an absolute back and forth epic. Denmark went up by a goal three time in the game and each time Norway would come back to tie it up. Then in the third, Norway got their first lead of the game but the Danes tied up the game 91 seconds later. Just over a minute into overtime, Tommy Jakobsen scored to be the Norwegian hero. Norway was led by two point efforts by Tore Vikingstad (1 goal, 1 assist) and Per-Age Skroder (2 assists) while Denmark’s Morten Green had the only two point effort in a losing cause.

Group D: Finland 4 vs. Czech Republic 3 – If you thought the other games were good, this one may have taken the cake. The Fins were down by 2 in the second but clawed their way back with three unanswered goals to beat the Czechs and win Group D. Niko Kapanen made everything happen for the Fins with two goals and two assists to lead the team to victory. Linemate Niklas Hagman had the game winning goal and an assist. Both teams will move on to the qualification round with Finland next playing Slovakia while the Czechs will be in tough against Canada.

Group D Final Standings
1. Finland 3-0-0-0, 9 Pts.
2. Czech Republic 2-0-0-1, 6 Pts.
3. Norway 0-1-0-2, 2 Pts.
4. Denmark 0-0-1-2, 1 Pt.

Three Stars of the Day:
1. Niko Kapanen (Finland) – 2 goals, 2 assists
2. Matthia Weinhandl (Sweden) – 2 goals, 1 assist
3. Tommy Jakobsson (Norway) – 1 goal

Thursday’s Schedule:
Group E: Russia vs. Sweden
Group E: Switzerland vs. Latvia
Group F: Belarus vs. Norway
Group F: Canada vs. Czech Republic

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