by PuckStopsHere on 12/31/13 at 09:14 PM ET
The preliminary round of the World Junior Hockey Championships completed today in Malmo, Sweden. Teams are divided into two five team groups. Group A played in the Malmo Isstadion and Group B in the Malmo Arena. Both groups played a round robin amongst themselves, with the top four in each group advancing to the playoffs.
1. Canada. The Canadians lost to the Czech Republic in a shootout and gave up the first goal in each of their games, but nevertheless win this group with three wins and an overtime loss. Anthony Mantha (Detroit prospect) leads the tournament in scoring at this point with ten points. Jonathan Drouin (Tampa Bay prospect) also was a top scorer. Derrick Pouliot (Pittsburgh prospect) has been their top defenceman. Zachary Fucale (Montreal prospect) has taken over as their top goalie.
2. USA. This team's only loss was a 3-2 regulation loss against Canada. They took second in the group. Nicolas Kerdiles (Anaheim prospect) is their top scorer so far. Riley Barber (Washington prospect) has also had a strong performance. Will Butcher (Colorado prospect) has been their top defenceman. Jon Gillies (Calgary prospect) has been their top goalie.
3. Czech Republic. This team defeated Slovakia in regulation and Canada in a shootout to take third place in the group. Their top offensive players have been Ondrej Kase (2014 draft eligible) and Martin Prochazka (undrafted) have been their top scorers with Michal Plutnar (undrafted) leading their defence. Marek Langhamer (Phoenix prospect) has been their top goalie.
4. Slovakia. The only Slovak win was against Germany. They tied with the Germans with a 1-3 record but get fourth on a tiebreaker because their won their common game. The Slovaks had big offensive performances from Martin Reway (Montreal prospect), David Griger (undrafted) and Milan Kolena (undrafted). Richard Sabol (undrafted) has done most of their goaltending.
5. Germany. The Germans finish last despite beating the Czechs 3-0. It was their only victory. They only scored four more goals in their other three games. Dominik Kahun (undrafted) has been their top scorer. Janik Moser (2014 draft eligible) led their defence. Marvin Cupper (undrafted) has been their top goalie.
1. Sweden. The host Swedes were undefeated in the preliminary round. Alexander Wennberg (Columbus prospect) and Filip Forsberg (Nashville prospect) led the way offensively. Gustav Olofsson (Minnesota prospect) has led their defence. Oscar Dansk (Columbus prospect) has done most of their goaltending.
2. Finland. Finland defeated Norway and Russia, while losing to Sweden in regulation and Switzerland in a shootout. This was good enough for second place in the group. Teuvo Teravainen (Chicago prospect) was their top scorer. Saku Maenalanen (Nashville prospect) also was strong offensively. Ville Pokka (NY Islander prospect) led their defence. Juuse Saros (Nashville prospect) was their top goaltender.
3. Russia. With regulation losses to Sweden and Finland, the Russians fall to third in the group. Mikhail Grigorenko (Buffalo prospect) has been their top scorer, with support from Alexander Barabanov (undrafted). Ilya Lyubushkin (undrafted) has led their defence. Andrei Vasilevski (Tampa Bay prospect) has been their top goaltender.
4. Switzerland. The Swiss had two wins. They beat Norway in regulation and required a shootout to beat Finland. That is a pretty strong result for a fourth place finisher in this group. Sandro Zangger (undrafted) and Fabrice Herzog (Toronto prospect) have been some of their top scorers. Melvin Nyffeler (undrafted) has been their top goaltender.
5. Norway. Norway was beaten up in this tournament. They lost all of their games. They only scored three goals and they allowed 29 goals. Christoffer Rasch (undrafted) and defenceman Erlend Lasund (undrafted) led their scoring. Joachim Svendsson (2014 draft eligible) has been their top goaltender.
The quarterfinals will be played on Thursday. Canada will meet Switzerland. Sweden will meet Slovakia. Finland will meet the Czech Republic. Most likely the toughest quarterfinal will be USA against Russia.
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