World Junior Championship Day 5: Canada survives Slovakian scare; Germans stun Russia

Canada 5, Slovakia 3
Coming off a nail-biting 5-4 loss to the Czech Republic on Saturday, the Canada needed a strong start against Slovakia to regain their momentum from an opening-night victory over the Germans. Unfortunately for Brent Sutter, who gave the nod to Halifax Mooseheads goaltender Zachary Fucale for tonight’s tilt, he found his squad in a 1-0 hole just 1:40 into the contest after a David Griger tally.

After a flurry of activity from the Red and White, Senators prospect Curtis Lazar was able to tie the game late to make it 1-1 after one period of play in Malmo.

A collective sigh was heard around Canada as their junior stars laid an egg in the first half of the second frame. Martin Reway and Griger, with his second of the night, put the Slovaks in full control as they mounted a 3-1 lead over the heavily favored Canadians. With three minutes left in the period, Detroit prospect and bonafide sniper Anthony Mantha cut the lead to 3-2.

As both teams traded chances early on throughout the third period, Jonathan Drouin showed why he was named an assistant captain at the start of the tournament, displaying timely leadership by tying the game at 3-3 with just less than six minutes to play. From there, it was all Canada, as Portland Winterhawks speedster Nic Petan scored the go-ahead goal with 2:46 remaining and added an empty netter just more than a minute later to seal a 5-3 victory for Team Canada.

Mantha was named player of the game for Canada as he collected a goal and added three assists. The Val-D’or Fourers captain now has nine points in three games as he has dominated offensively. Drouin, with two points, and Petan, with three, each helped carry the load for the victors.

Canada now faces a serious test against the American’s when they face Team USA on New Year’s Eve in a battle of North America. If Canada wins they will finish first in ‘Pool’ A. Game time is Tuesday, Dec. 31 at 11:30 a.m. EST.

Germany 3, Czech Republic 0
How ya like me now? That’s exactly what German forward Dominic Kahun felt after his team stunned the Czech’s Monday, coming away with a 3-0 victory. Kahun led the way with a goal and an assist after his mates played a full 60 minutes and destroyed any momentum the Czech’s had after a 5-4 victory against Canada on Saturday.

Shawinigan Cataracts netminder Marvin Cupper was outstanding in net for the Germans, turning aside 40 shots.

Germany has now concluded round-robin play with a 1-0-0-3 record as they leapfrogged the Czech’s for fourth place in Pool ‘A’ . With the loss the Czech’s record now stands at 0-1-0-2.

The Czech’s faceoff against Slovakia tomorrow in the first game of a packed New Year’s Eve schedule.

Kahun explained to TSN reporter Mark Masters after the game that “they think they beat Canada so they will destroy Germany. We showed they can’t.”

Finland 4, Russia 1
Germany wasn’t the only country who played spoiler this afternoon. Finland, led by Blackhawks prospect Teuvo Teravainen, who picked up two assists, toppled the Russians 4-1 and moved into second place in Pool ‘B’ with a 2-0-0-1 record.

Finnish keeper Juuse Saros denied 28 Russian attempts as he nabbed the win.

Russia now has a huge test in the form of hometown Sweden as they battle tomorrow in Malmo. With a win, the Russian’s would move into a tie for first in Pool ‘B’ and if the Swedes win they will clinch the pool.

Finland meets Switzerland tomorrow and will look to build off their huge victory from the night prior.

Switzerland 3, Norway 2
Smooth skating rearguard and Sharks draft pick Mirco Mueller iced the game for the Swiss with just more than seven minutes remaining, tallying the go-ahead goal and leading his country to a 3-2 victory over Norway.

Melvin Nyffeler stood tall in net for Switzerland, turning aside 24 shots. Norway goaltender Joachim Svendsen was good in goal for his squad, making 35 saves.

The Swiss collected their first win and now sit fourth in Pool ‘B’ with a 1-0-0-2 record. Meanwhile, Norway concludes round-robin play with a 0-0-0-4 record, failing to register a win in a deeply competitive tournament.

Switzerland will conclude their round robin when they play Finland tomorrow afternoon.

Get scores, schedules and more on THN.com’s World Junior Championship Central page.