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World Junior Championships Preliminary Round

The preliminary round is complete in the 2010 World Junior Championships which are being held in Saskatoon and Regina, Saskatchewan.  The teams are divided into two five team divisions.  The top three teams in each division qualify for the the medal round.

Group A

1. Canada  Canada had 35 goals scored and only allowed six in the preliminary round.  Their only challenge came against USA, who they defeated in a shootout 5-4 (meaning they had a 30-2 goal differential in heir other three games).  Canada’s deep offence was led by Jordan Eberle (Edmonton prospect) who had 10 points, Gabriel Bourque (Nashville prospect) with eight points and Taylor Hall (2010 Draft Eligible) and Brandon Kozun (Los Angeles prospect) with seven points each.  The defence was led by Alex Pietrangelo (St Louis prospect) who had nine points and Ryan Ellis (Nashville prospect) with six.  Canada’s top goalie was Jake Allen (St Louis prospect) who played in three games sporting a 1.30 GAA and a .925 saves percentage.

2. USA USA had a dominant 26-9 goal differential.  The only blemish on their record is a shootout loss to Canada.  The American offensive leader was Derek Stepan (NY Rangers prospect) who scored nine points.  He was supported by Jerry D’Amigo (Toronto prospect) and Kyle Palmieri (Anaheim prospect) who had six points each.  Their top goaltender was Jack Campbell (2010 Draft Eligible) who sported a .912 saves percentage and a 2.40 GAA.

3. Switzerland  The Swiss are the third medal round qualifier in this group.  They had a 2-2 record, with losses to Canada and USA.  Nino Niederreiter (2010 Draft Eligible) scored six points to be the offensive leader of this team.  Patrick Geering (undrafted) was the top Swiss defenceman.  Benjamin Conz (undrafted) put up some great goaltending with a .913 saves percentage and was likely the reason the Swiss make the medal round..

4. Slovakia  The Slovak team had offence with Richard Panik (Tampa Bay prospect) leading the way with seven points and Marek Viedensky (San Jose prospect) with five.  Matus Rais (undrafted) led their defence.  The team struggled with weak goaltending and hence missed the medal round.

5. Latvia  Latvia was outscored 43-9 in the tournament.  They had some top scorers in Roberts Bukarts (undrafted) who scored five points and Ronalds Kenins (undrafted) who had four points.  Ralfs Freibergs (undrafted) led their defence.  Latvia struggled with goaltending throughout the tournament with a team saves percentage of 0.789.

Group B

1. Sweden  Sweden went undefeated and scored 28 goals while allowing six.  Magnus Paajarvi-Svensson (Edmonton prospect) and Andre Petersson (Ottawa prospect) led the way with nine and eight points respectively.  Top defenceman Oliver Ekman-Larsson (Phoenix prospect) scored five points.  Jacob Markstrom (Florida prospect) had an incredible .969 saves percentage and 1.00 GAA so far.

2. Russia  Russia’s only loss was to Sweden, but unlike other top teams did not have an incredible goal differential.  They had 14 goals for and 8 allowed.  Kirill Petrov (NY Islanders prospect) led the way with seven points.  Nikita Filatov (Columbus prospect) added five points.  Maxim Chudinov (undrafted) was their top defenceman.  Igor Bobkov (Anaheim prospect) played all four games in goal with a .946 saves percentage and a 2.00 GAA. 

3. Finland  Finland wen 2-2 in this tournament to get the final medal round spot.  Mikael Granlund (2010 Draft Eligible) led the team with five points.  Jyri Niemi (NY Islanders prospect) had a strong tournament on defence.  Finland has been known for known for good goaltending in the recent past, but they did not have any strong goaltending performances this year.

4. Czech Republic  The Czechs have struggled recently in international play.  This tournament is no different, where they failed to make the medal round.  Tomas Kubalik (Columbus prospect) and Tomas Knotek (undrafted) led the way offensively with five points each.  Vladimir Roth (undrafted) led the defence.  The Czechs suffered from poor goaltending performances.

5. Austria  Austria lost all four games scoring seven times and allowing 30 goals.  Offensively, they were led by Konstantin Komarek (2010 draft eligible) and Dominique Heinrich (undrafted) who both had four points.  Nikolaus Hartl (undrafted) was the top Austrian defenceman.  Austria, like other bottom feeding teams struggled with goaltending.

In the medal round, USA will face Finland and Russia will face Switzerland.  The winners will advance to the semi-finals to face Sweden and Canada respectively, with the winners facing in the gold medal game.

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imageThe Puck Stops Here was founded during the 2004/05 lockout as a place to rant about hockey. The original site contains over 1000 posts, some of which were also published on FoxSports.com.

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