WJC roundup: Lundell powers unbeaten Finland past Slovakia at WJC


Wednesday is the sixth day of the 2021 IIHF World Junior Championship, which is being held at Rogers Place in Edmonton.


Day 6 games

Finland 6, Slovakia 0: Anton Lundell (Florida Panthers) scored a goal and assisted on two others to help Finland to its third straight win in Group A.

Samuel Helenius (2021 draft eligible) scored two goals, and Kasper Simontaival (Los Angeles Kings) and Topi Niemela (Toronto Maple Leafs) each had a goal and an assist. Kari Piiroinen (2021 draft eligible) made 12 saves.

Finland (3-0-0-0, nine points) and Canada (3-0-0-0, nine points) are tied for first place in Group A. They will play for the top seed in the group for the quarterfinals Thursday (6 p.m. ET; NHLN, TSN).

“We had a good first period, but I think we played even better in the second and third,” said Lundell, who is tied with Niemela for the Finland lead with six points (three goals, three assists).

Samuel Hlavaj (2021 draft eligible) made 44 saves for Slovakia (1-0-1-2, four points).

Lundell, Finland’s captain, scored the game’s first goal at 8:57 of the first period when he tapped in a cross-ice pass from Simontaival, giving him a goal in each of his team’s three games. Lundell then set up Niemela’s goal during a delayed penalty to make it 2-0 at 6:09 of the second.

Simontaival was credited with the goal that gave Finland a 3-0 lead at 8:35 of the second. He carried the puck to the net, Hlavaj poked it away from him, but it bounced in off the stick of Slovakia defenseman Oliver Turan (2021 draft eligible).

Santeri Hatakka (San Jose Sharks) made it 4-0 when at 6:10 of the third when he scored from the goal line, putting a shot between Hlavaj’s head and the post. Then Helenius, who received a B rating from NHL Central Scouting in its preliminary players to watch list, made it 5-0 at 7:27 when he scored on the rebound of a shot by Benjamin Korhonen (2021 draft eligible), and made it 6-0 at 13:49.

“We had a good first period, but I think we played even better in the second and third,” Lundell said.

Slovakia is assured of playing in the quarterfinals on Saturday.

“In that second period, there was lots of pressure on us, they were all over us … we were losing lots of battles,” Slovakia coach Robert Petrovicky said. “We have to go back to what it was in the first few games and the first few days, see what was working for us, especially those first few games.”


On tap

All games on NHL Network in U.S., TSN and RDS in Canada

Germany vs. Switzerland (6 p.m. ET) — Germany captain Tim Stuetzle (Ottawa Senators) scored two goals and had an assist in an overtime win against Slovakia on Monday and has scored five points (three goals, two assists) in three tournament games. The 18-year-old has averaged 26:24 of ice time for Germany (0-1-0-2, two points), which has had to use the same nine forwards and five defensemen in its three Group A games because several players were in quarantine. Germany’s best finish at the WJC was fifth in 1981 (as West Germany). Switzerland (0-0-0-3, 0 points) is last in Group A and has been outscored 15-1.

Sweden vs. Russia (9:30 p.m. ET) — Russia (2-0-0-1, six points) can clinch first place in Group B with a victory but may be without forward Yegor Chinakhov (Columbus Blue Jackets), who is doubtful after sustaining a lower-body injury in the first period of a 7-1 win against Austria on Tuesday. Sweden (2-0-0-0, six points) defeated Austria 4-0 on Monday to extend its winning streak in the preliminary round to 54 games. That streak includes 47 wins in regulation, three in overtime and four in shootouts. Sweden’s most recent preliminary-round loss was 3-2 in overtime to the United States on Dec. 31, 2006. Sweden will play the United States (2-0-0-1, six points) on Thursday.

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