Here's a recap of the scores, the medalist, the big stories and what the Group Set up for next year will be like the official relegation of Latvia and Austria after finishing last while Germany and Norway won the Division 1 Tournament and have been promoted for next season for the 2011 World Junior Championships that will take place in Buffalo, New York.
Let's the start with the stats and scores of the Group Stage, Knockout Rounds and the Relegation Round.
Czech Republic 1 Sweden 10 (0-4, 1-2, 0-4)
Latvia 0 Canada 16 (0-5, 0-6, 0-5)
Russia 6 Austria 2 (4-1, 1-1, 1-0)
Slovakia 3 U.S.A. 7 (2-1, 1-4, 0-2)
Austria 3 Sweden 7 (0-2, 3-2, 0-3)
U.S.A. 3 Switzerland 0 (0-0, 1-0, 2-0)
Czech Republic 3 Finland 4 (2-0, 1-1, 0-3)
Slovakia 8 Latvia 3 (5-0, 2-2, 1-1)
Canada 6 Switzerland 0 (2-0, 3-0, 1-0)
Finland 0 Russia 2 (0-1, 0-1, 0-0)
Austria 1 Czech Republic 7 (1-1, 0-3, 0-3)
Latvia 1 U.S.A. 12 (0-6, 1-1, 0-5)
Sweden 4 Russia 1 (2-0, 1-1, 1-0)
Canada 8 Slovakia 2 (3-0, 4-1, 1-1)
Finland 10 Austria 1 (5-0, 3-1, 2-0)
Switzerland 7 Latvia 5 (2-3, 1-1, 4-1)
Sweden 7 Finland 1 (1-0, 3-0, 3-1)
Switzerland 4 Slovakia 1 (0-0, 1-0, 3-1)
Russia 5 Czech Republic 2 (1-0, 1-1, 3-1)
U.S.A. 4 Canada 5 (SO) (1-1, 2-1, 1-2, 0-0, 0-1)
Group Stage Standings
1. Canada 3-1-0-0 11 PTS 35-6
2. U.S.A. 3-0-1-0 10 PTS 26-9
3. Switzerland 2-0-0-2 6 PTS 11-14
4. Slovakia 1-0-0-3 3 PTS 14-22
5. Latvia 0-0-0-4 0 PTS 9-43
1. Sweden 4-0-0-0 12 PTS 28-6
2. Russia 3-0-0-1 9 PTS 14-8
3. Finland 2-0-0-2 6 PTS 15-13
4. Czech Rep. 1-0-0-3 3 PTS 13-20
5. Austria 0-0-0-4 0 PTS 7-30
12/27: Slovakia 8 Latvia 3 (5-0, 2-2, 1-1)
12/19: Austria 1 Czech Republic 7 (1-1, 0-3, 0-3)
1/2: Slovakia 3 Austria 2 (2-0, 0-2, 1-0)
1/3: Czech Republic 10 Latvia 2 (5-0, 2-2, 3-0)
1/4: Czech Republic 5 Slovakia 2 (1-1, 3-1, 1-0)
1/4: Austria 4 Latvia 6 (1-4, 2-0, 1-2)
Relegation Round Standings
1. Czech Rep. 3-0-0-0 9 PTS 22-5
2. Slovakia 2-0-0-1 6 PTS 13-10
3. Latvia 1-0-0-2 3 PTS 11-22
4. Austria 0-0-0-3 0 PTS 7-16
Russia 2 Switzerland 3 (OT) (0-0, 2-1, 0-1, 0-1)
U.S.A. 6 Finland 2 (2-0, 1-1, 3-1)
Canada 6 Switzerland 1 (1-0, 2-1, 3-0)
Sweden 2 U.S.A. 5 (0-1, 2-1, 0-3)
Russia 3 Finland 4 (2-1, 0-1, 1-2)
Bronze Medal Game
Sweden 11 Switzerland 4 (5-0, 5-4, 1-0)
Gold Medal Game
Canada 5 U.S.A. 6 (OT) (2-2, 1-1, 2-2, 0-1)
Final Tournament Rankings
Gold Medal: U.S.A.
Silver Medal: Canada
Bronze Medal: Sweden
4th Place: Switzerland
5th Place: Finland
6th Place: Russia
7th Place: Czech Republic
8th Place: Slovakia
9th Place: Latvia
10th Place: Austria
Division 1 Promotion: Germany and Norway
The U.S.A. are the 2010 World Junior Champions
Austria and Latvia have been relegated to the 2011 U20 Division 1 Tournament
Germany and Norway have been promoted to the 2011 WJC in Buffalo, NY
Here's the Tournament's All Star Team that was selected by media groups during the tournament.
Tournament All Star Team
G: Benjamin Conz (SUI)
D: Alex Pietrangelo (CAN)
D: John Carlson (USA)
F: Jordan Eberle (CAN)*
F: Derek Stepan (USA)
F: Nino Niederreiter (SUI)
*Jordan Eberle was also selected the Tournament MVP
The 2011 Tournament Groups will be determined by how the teams finished the 2010 WJC. As for the 2 newly promoted teams in Germany and Norway, the Division 1 Champions will be the 9th seed while the Runner up will be the 10th seed at next years event which will take place from the HSBC Arena which is home of the Buffalo Sabres while Dwyer Arena which is on the University of Niagara Campus which is about 20 miles just outside of Buffalo. Schedule, The Group Venues and more info regarding on next year's 2011 Tournament will be on line at http://www.buffaloworldjuniors.com/
Group A: U.S.A. (1), Switzerland (4), Finland (5), Slovakia (8), Germany (9)
Group B: Canada (2), Sweden (3), Russia (6), Czech Republic (7), Norway (10)
Breakout Star, Nino Niederreiter of Switzerland
His stock is rising big time after a really successful run at the WJC where his 2 goal effort against Russia helped pull off one of the biggest upsets in recent years in the WJC. Before coming to Portland Winterhawks in the Western Hockey League, he was pretty successful with EHC Chur and HC Davos Junior Programs and even played a few games near the end of last season for HC Davos which included the playoffs as the team won the Swiss NLA title back in the Spring. After that, he decided to go to the Major Junior Import Draft where he selected by the Portland Winterhawks 2nd overall.
So far this season for Portland, he has an impressive 41 points in 37 games this season and is getting ready for the NHL Draft this summer. Despite being one of the youngest players on the Swiss Team, but he looks to be the first big forward from Switzerland to make an impact in the NHL and for the Swiss National Team Program for many years to come. Despite getting shutout twice in the Group Stage, he came back with a strong come back by scoring 6 points in the Group Stage in games against Latvia and Slovakia. He also scored a power play goal during the Bronze Medal game against Sweden and also made the All Tournament Team that was announced after the Gold Medal Game.
Most Important Group Stage Game (Czech Republic VS. Finland)
I easily could have picked the USA VS. Canada that ended the Group Stage, but they saved the best stuff for the Gold Medal Game. However, after a crushing 10-1 loss the previous day against Sweden, the Czechs were looking for a comeback against Finland. It looked good after going up 3-0, but a 2nd period goal by Teemu Hartikainen helped the Finns start a 3rd period rally with goals by Sami Vatanen on a 5 on 3 power play chance to get them within goal at 3-2. Then it looked like the Czechs calmed down after that and for a while at least, it looked like the Czechs would pull off a huge win and a comeback after the big loss against Sweden.
However, Vatanen scored with 5 and a half minutes left to tie the game at 3-3. Just 3 Min later, Rask put the Finns up for good and a 4-3 win that turned out to be the decider not just in the game. But in Group B, as the Finns would use that as the difference to make the Quarterfinals where they later went on to finish 5th after a win against Russia of the same score in the 5th place game. As for the Czechs, that loss meant that the Czechs were sent down to the relegation round where they beat Slovakia and Latvia to finish 7th overall.
Thoughts on the USA Winning Gold
When the Tournament began, a lot of people thought they would be lucky to win the Bronze Medal with the lack of experience at this level and the young roster. However, the USA embraced the underdog role to it's finest and won only the 2nd WJC Gold Medal in the Tournament's 30 plus year history.
I thought that the USA would finish at least 2nd in the group where I feared a big time loss against Canada on New Years Eve. However, they played one of the best games in this tournament in years where despite a 4-2 lead, a SO loss took them out of winning the group and getting an important bye.
I was wondering how they would respond, especially after how they got beat by Slovakia in the QF's last year. After controlling the Finns, it was a tough matchup against Sweden where a lot of people were picking them to play Canada in the Final. However after a gut wrenching 1st 2 periods where the game was tied at 2-2.
A frustrating power play early in the 3rd period gave a lot of people a lot of fits. However John Carlson started the 3rd period runaway with a goal with 7 and a half minutes left, started the USA resurgence where I felt no going back after Jerry D'Amigo scored to make it 4-2. Then in the Gold Medal, where I great confidence where they could get this done after a strong showing against them in the group stage.
The most amazing thing was that after the initial 1-0 lead by Canada in the first couple minutes, the Americans didn't trail very much after that, after going 3-2 in the opening minute, the Canadians came back to tie the game electrify the crowd in Saskatoon and I thought, O No, at some point the Canadians would take this game over. Home Ice, the Gold Medal Streak and the fact they know high pressure would help them out to win the game.
However, the Americans didn't allow that to happen in the 3rd where 2 goals just over 2 minutes apart put the team up 5-3 and a great goal tending performance by Jack Campbell seemed like it would be enough, but those Canadian Nerves came back with 2 goals by Jordan Eberle put the game tied at 5-5 and thought they would find a way to do it in OT. However, give credit to head Coach Dean Blais to put the team at ease and allowing John Carlson to score his 2nd of the game to win the WJC Gold for the Americans.
Great job boys, you ended the Gold Medal Streak and let's do this again same time next year in Buffalo, NY as we have a shot of defending a WJC gold which the USA has never done in this event. As for Matt Donovan, he did the Southwest proud by being the first player from the Southwest to win a major international hockey event and hopefully his performance will help his chances at the University of Denver and with him being in the NY Islanders program.
Also for USA Hockey, keep the Pre Tournament Camp going every year before this event, most teams have a tough camp to help their chances not just in the WJC, but in most major tournaments.
And it payed off in the biggest way for Team USA. Now let's do this next month for the Men's and Women's Olympic Tournaments in Vancouver, B.C., after a bad showing where a single win against Kazakhstan was the only thing they could muster 4 years ago. Also the Women's team failed to reach the Gold Medal Game for the first time in the Short History of the Women's Tournament.