The preliminary round of the 2016 World Junior Hockey Championship came to a close on Thursday afternoon in exciting fashion, with all of the tournament's top teams in action.
Sweden and Russia remain undefeated, winning Group A and Group B respectively, while the United States and Finland also skated away with big wins.
With the round robin now complete, the elimination rounds will begin on Saturday, January 2nd. The top eight teams are still alive. Win and you keep going; lose and your hopes of gold are dashed..
Russia 2 - Slovakia 1
Russia continues to stay undefeated at the 2016 world juniors after today's slim 2-1 victory over Slovakia.
Defenseman Yegor Rykov scored the game-winning goal in the second period, while fellow blueliner and Philadelphia Flyers 1st rounder Ivan Provorov picked up his fourth assist in his fourth game.
With the win Russia cruises to a top seed finish in Group B of the tournament.
Slovakia, meanwhile, finished the preliminary round with just one win, over Belarus, while being outscored by a combined total of 14-8 in their games.
United States 4 - Denmark 1
Draft-eligible forwards Auston Matthews and Matthew Tkachuk keep rolling offensively, registering two points each to lead the way for the United States in a decisive 4-1 victory over Denmark.
The U.S. dominated the Danes throughout the game, finishing with a wide 44-17 edge in shots.
Denmark opened the scoring 10:14 into the opening frame, but that would be as close as they came as the U.S. took complete control the rest of the way.
Finland 5 - Czech Republic 4
It was a wild one right to the final buzzer, but Finland would ultimately emerge victorious in an entertaining 5-4 win over the Czech Republic.
The Czechs held two leads in the game, but couldn't hang on for the entire 60 minutes. The Finns scored twice in the final 10 minutes to take the game, much to the delight of their home fans.
17 year-old Finnish forward Jesse Puljujarvi continues to shine, scoring two goals and now leads the entire tournament in scoring with an astounding 12 points in just four games. Additionally, his linemates Sebastian Aho (nine points) and Patrick Laine (eight points) are right behind him at second and third in tournament scoring.
Sweden 5 - Canada 2
Sweden completed a perfect record in the preliminary round, the only team to win all four games in regulation time, with a huge 5-2 win over Canada.
Linus Soderstrom continues his stretch as the tournament's top goaltender, making 22 saves, while Sweden used a full team effort to generate their offense, with four separate players registering two-point games. Their team defense was soundly stout, allowing only 24 shots against a deep offense.
Canada, meanwhile, continues to struggle and underperform. They fell into a 2-0 hole early in the opening frame and never came back, and allowed three powerplay goals in the contest. The team has never looked fully comfortable since the opening game and will need to recover in a hurry if they hope to make it to the medal rounds.
What's Up Next:
Russia vs. Denmark at 6:00AM
Sweden vs. Slovakia at 8:00AM
Canada vs. Finland at 10:00AM
United States vs. Czech Republic at 12:00PM