Tuesday was the second of the slow preliminary round days at this year's IIHF world junior championships, with only two games being played, but that's quite alright because it sets up a day of epic proportions on Wednesday.
The United States, Canada, and Sweden are all in action, with all three still vying to finish in 1st place in their divisions. The marquee matchup will, undoubtedly, be USA versus Canada, the two historic hockey rivals, with the winner taking home the top spot in Group A. It will also feature the much-anticipated showdown between Jack Eichel and Connor McDavid, the two players that are jockeying for the 1st overall selection at the 2015 NHL Entry Draft.
Here's how the two games from Tuesday went down:
Denmark 4, Switzerland 3 (SO)
A magical start to the tournament led to a historic moment for Denmark on Tuesday afternoon, as the Danes defeated Switzerland 4-3 in the shootout for their first ever win at the world juniors after 15 straight defeats.
As they have been all tournament long, drafted prospects Nikolaj Ehlers and Oliver Bjorkstrand were the heroes for Denmark, scoring the team's two shootout goals to secure the victory.
"I'm really happy right now, and the guys are really fired up in the dressing room," said Ehlers, as reported by the event's official website. "It's amazing to stand here with a win. We told ourselves we were not going to lose a fourth game."
The two sides traded goals throughout the first two periods, before settling into a goalie duel for the third. Netminder George Sorensen was instrumental for Denmark, making 42 saves in regulation and then two out of three in the shootout.
For Switzerland, a disappointing tournament showing continues. They'll need to find a way to grab points from Sweden on Wednesday in order to make the elimination round. Nashville Predators 2014 1st rounder Kevin Fiala had a goal in yesterday's loss.
Slovakia 5, Germany 2
Slovakia kept their medal hopes alive thanks a steady 5-2 defeat of Germany.
Montreal Canadiens prospect and Slovakian team captain Martin Reway led the charge for his side, scoring a hat trick in the victory, with the last goal coming via an empty net.
The Slovaks jumped out to a 3-0 lead 15:03 into the first period, a hot start that allowed them enough of a cushion to work with the rest of the game. Germany would eventually cut the lead to 4-2 in the third period, but that would be as close as things got.
Germany finally scored their first goals of the tournament, but still lost their third straight game in regulation. Barring a miracle against Finland today they'll be off to the relegation match for the second year in a row.
What's Up Next:
The schedule for Wednesday's games is as follows (all times listed in Central Time):
- Sweden versus Switzerland at 12:00 PM: Sweden will be looking to remain perfect in preliminary play, while Switzerland needs some points (and maybe a little momentum on their side) if they hope to take home a medal. Can big names like Fiala and Mirco Mueller help to upset the strong Swedes?
- United States versus Canada at 3:00 PM: This has all the makings of being the most thrilling game of the round robin. Both teams have been excellent so far, both are loaded with talented players, and bragging rights and national pride are on the line, so expect one heck of a showdown.
- Czech Republic versus Russia at 4:00 PM: The Czechs finally got their first win of the tournament on Monday over Denmark, so it will be interesting to see if they can carry any momentum into Wednesday as they face a strong Russian team.
- Finland versus Germany at 7:00 PM: Nothing has gone right for the defending champion Finns so far this year, but surely they can snag their first win over the hapless Germans...right? Or is an epic upset in the cards? Either way, something has to break for the two winless teams.