Anaheim Ducks: World Junior Championship Recap, Day 5

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As the Anaheim Ducks prepare to play their final game of the 2014 calendar year, the round-robin stage of the 2015 IIHF Under-20 World Junior Championships is finishing up. With the conclusion of two more games on Tuesday, two of the ten teams have now completed their play in the group stage. No Ducks prospects participated in Tuesday’s slate of games, but all three have important games on Wednesday. All ten teams have a chance to qualify for the quarterfinals: in fact, five countries have already clinched a spot (and one team has even already won its group).

Game 1: Switzlerland vs. Denmark

Result: Denmark defeats Switzerland 4-3 (SO)

Ducks Prospects: None

Goals:

Kris Schmidli (SUI, 1) – 2015 NHL Draft Eligible
Kevin Fiala (SUI, 3) – Nashville Predators (2014 1st round pick, 11th)
Oliver Bjorkstrand (DEN, 3) – Columbus Blue Jackets (2013 3rd round pick, 89th)
Anders Krogsgaard (DEN, 1, PP) – 2015 NHL Draft Eligible
Timo Meier (SUI, 1) – 2015 NHL Draft Eligible
Mikkel Aagaard (DEN, 1) – 2015 NHL Draft Eligible
Oliver Bjorkstrand (DEN, 4, SO) – Columbus Blue Jackets (2013 3rd round pick, 89th)

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Game 2: Slovakia vs. Germany

Result: Slovakia defeats Germany 5-2

Ducks Prospects: None

Goals:

Robert Lantosi (SVK, 1) – 2015 NHL Draft Eligible
Martin Reway (SVK, 1) – Montreal Canadiens (2013 4th round pick, 116th)
Matus Sukel (SVK, 1) – 2015 NHL Draft Eligible
Frederik Tiffels (GER, 1, PP) – 2015 NHL Draft Eligible
Martin Reway (SVK, 2) – Montreal Canadiens (2013 4th round pick, 116th)
Frederik Tiffels (GER, 2) – 2015 NHL Draft Eligible
Martin Reway (SVK, 3) – Montreal Canadiens (2013 4th round pick, 116th)

The biggest ramification from this slate of games was that Denmark recorded its first victory ever in the WJC. Their overtime win over Switzerland kept the Danes alive in the race in Group B. Denmark has played all four games in the round-robin of the WJC, and the team currently sits at four points, good for third in Group B. As things stand, Ducks’ prospect Ondrej Kase and the Czech Republic would finish last in Group B and would have to play in the best-of-three relegation round, instead of the quarter-finals. With his shootout winner, Oliver Bjorkstrand leads all players in the WJC with four goals. Despite his size, he looks to have a place in the NHL as a shooter and scorer, similar to a player such as Mike Cammalleri of the New Jersey Devils.

For the Czechs, they must now face the Russian squad while facing the very real possibility that they play in the relegation round. A loss of any kind would eliminate the Czechs, while a regulation win would vault the team into the quarterfinals and guarantee the team no worse than a third place finish in the group (since they would hold the head-to-head tiebreaker over Russia, and in the event of a three-way tie between the Czechs, Russians, and Swiss, the Czechs would be guaranteed the second highest goal-differential). An overtime win does not guarantee the Czech Republic’s safety, as a three-way tie between the Swiss, Czechs, and Danes would see the Czech Republic finish in last (Switzerland took four of six points against the Czech Republic and Denmark, Denmark took three of six against Switzerland and the Czech Republic, and the Czechs only took two points against Switzerland and Denmark).

Switzerland’s loss also guaranteed the Swedish team the top spot in Group B, as no other team in the group can reach the nine point mark. Sweden’s next match will come against the winner of the Finland vs. Germany match on Wednesday in Toronto, as the winner of that game will be guaranteed a fourth place finish in Group A.

As for the Slovakian team, they have also finished the round-robin portion of the tournament and are locked in at third place in Group A. Slovakia will play its quarter-final match in Montreal against the second place team in Group B, which could be against Russia, Switzerland, or the Czech Republic. Slovakia was shut out in its two losses, losing 8-0 to Team Canada in their opener and 3-0 to Team USA. However, they edged Finland 2-1 and defeated Germany soundly 5-2 behind a hat trick from Canadiens prospect Martin Reway.

Team USA is guaranteed to play in Montreal for its quarterfinal bout, regardless of the result against Team Canada. Canada is guaranteed to play its quarterfinal in Toronto, so the result in the “Connor McDavid vs. Jack Eichel” showdown will determine the next opponent: winner gets the fourth place team from Group B, while the loser gets the third place team.

All three Ducks prospects will be in action on Wednesday in meaningful games. Right winger Ondrej Kase and the Czech Republic will be staving off relegation and looking to get into the quarterfinal, while left winger Nick Ritchie and defenseman Shea Theodore look to cap off the round-robin stage with a win over Team USA. Ritchie is scoreless through three games, while Theodore logged his first point of the tournament on Monday (a power-play assist on Canada’s first goal against Finland, a Sam Reinhart power-play goal). None of the Ducks’ three prospects has made a flashy impact, as the three players have a combined two assists and +3 rating. While none were expected to be Tournament MVP candidates or scoring leaders, the expectations were a bit higher, especially for Ritchie.

Group A Standings:

1. + – Canada (3-0-0-0, 9 points)
2. + – USA (2-1-0-0, 8 points)
3. *+ – Slovakia (2-0-0-2, 6 points)
4. Finland (0-0-1-2, 1 point)
5. Germany (0-0-0-3, 0 points)

Group B Standings:

1. ^+ – Sweden (3-0-0-0, 9 points)
2. + – Russia (1-1-0-1, 5 points)
3. Denmark (0-1-2-1, 4 points)
4. Switzerland (1-0-1-1, 4 points)
5. Czech Republic (0-1-0-2, 2 points)

+: Clinched quarterfinal berth
*: Locked place in group
^: Won group

Next: Anaheim Ducks: World Junior Championship Day 4 Recap