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World Juniors daily recap: There’s a first Noel joke here somewhere

Your daily recap of the 2021 World Juniors action.

Sweden v Czech Republic: Preliminary Round Group B - 2021 IIHF World Junior Championship Photo by Codie McLachlan/Getty Images

Throughout the World Juniors tournament, we’ll be keeping track of all the action and bringing you all of the results in one place.

Austria vs. Sweden

We had a shorter day of action with just two games on deck yesterday, and first up we had Sweden and Austria. And this was going to be an interesting one from the jump, as both teams were going to be missing key pieces—Sweden would be without Philip Broberg who was dealing with a minor injury, and Austria without Philipp Wimmer, who was serving the first of a two game suspension for an illegal check to the head put on Patrick Moynihan in their last game against the USA. So, a loss on each side that they were going to have to work around.

This game kicked off with a bit of pace, and Sweden pretty quickly worked to grab the edge in momentum and run with it. They were putting on a possession clinic, but it wasn’t until late in the period when they were finally able to break through, with an absolute laser of a goal from Noel Gunler on the power play. Sweden picked up two more goals in the second period—a power play goal on sort of a weird deflection of a shot by Lucas Raymond that went in off of Theodor Niederbach, and then a second by Gunler—and then tacked on a third power play goal from Raymond early in the third period, effectively putting this one out of reach for Austria and sealing Sweden’s win.

And there isn’t a whole lot more to recap here in terms of back and forth action because, well, Sweden had possession for just about the whole game and was just toying with Austria, waiting for their next chance to break through. This wasn’t an absolute blowout like we’ve seen a few times already in the tournament, but don’t be fooled, it very well could have been. Were it not for Sebastian Wranschitz, this game could have gotten really out of hand for Austria. All told, Sweden outshot Austria 65-6, and that stat feels pretty illustrative of how this game played out. Sweden played a really solid game, and kept their momentum rolling.

Final: Sweden 4 - Austria 0

Next game up (SWE): Dec. 30, 9:30 EST vs. RUS.

Next game up (AUT): Dec. 29, 9:30 EST vs. RUS.

Slovakia vs. Germany

We were talking about somewhat depleted teams in our last recap, and guess what gang, Germany still hasn’t gotten any skaters back from the covid protocols, so it was another game with nine forwards and five defensemen for them. These poor kids.

Anyway, we were in for a real interesting one in this late game. Germany jumped out to an early lead with a goal by Tim Stutzle, but Slovakia hung with them and got right back into this one, tying things up just over four minutes later with a shorthanded tally by Michal Mrazik (which upon review on the broadcast was actually offside, but it wasn’t caught in the moment so the goal stood). .

And this ended up being something of the story for the rest of this game—one team would jump ahead, grab some momentum, and the other would find an equalizer. No one really ran away with this one, and it was a lot of fun. Slovakia extended their lead early in the second period with a goal by Oleksly Myklukha, but Stutzle pulled them right back into a tied game just over five minutes later on the power play. Then Mrazik picked up his second of the game on the power play just past the 14 minute mark, but Germany wasn’t going to head into the intermission quietly. You guessed it, they got one back in the final minute of the period, in the final four seconds of a power play, thanks to Florian Elias. Whew.

Both sides got a couple of good looks in the third period, but no luck, nothing broke through, and for the first time in the tournament, we were going to overtime! Both sides had a good look in the early going, but Germany got a great chance to work with towards the middle of the overtime period when Myklukha was called for a hooking penalty. They got a good bit of puck movement going in the offensive zone, and in the end it was a shot from Mario Zimmerman at the point that made its way through, sealing for Germany their first win of the tournament.

Final: Germany 4 - Slovakia 3 (OT)

Next game up (GER): Dec. 30, 6:00 EST vs. SUI.

Next game up (SVK): Dec. 30, 2:00 EST vs. FIN.