Tyler Steenbergen’s late goal helps Canada win World Junior gold


Tyler Steenbergen was the last Canadian forward to score in the 2018 World Junior Championship and he picked a perfect time to do so.

With the game knotted up 1-1 late in the third period vs. Sweden, Steenbergen, a 2017 draft pick of the Arizona Coyotes, re-directed home a Connor Timmins pass to give Canada a 2-1 lead and help clinch another gold medal for the program.

Alex Formenton would add an empty netter to start the celebrations for fans inside KeyBank Center in Buffalo and all throughout Canada.

“The guys were giving me grief all tournament for not scoring but I’m happy to finally get it,” said Steenbergen, who saw just 3:17 of ice time through two periods.

The gold is Canada’s 17th in World Junior Championship history and first since 2015. The Swedes claimed their 11th silver medal and fifth since 2008.

Swedish captain and New York Rangers prospect Lias Andersson was so upset with getting silver that he quickly removed the medal and tossed it to a fan in the crowd.

Andersson would eventually get the medal back to end that fan’s 15 minutes of fame.


Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.

U.S. claims bronze at World Junior Championship over Czech Republic

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BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) Trent Frederic scored four times in leading the United States to a 9-3 victory over the Czech Republic in the world junior championship bronze-medal game Friday.

Kieffer Bellows scored twice, including once on a penalty shot, and added an assist. U.S. captain Joey Anderson and Patrick Harper had a goal and assist each, and Ryan Poehling also scored.

Jake Oettinger finished with 28 saves, and stopped the first 13 shots he faced before giving up two goals on three shots in the first 2:11 of the third period.

The defending champion Americans bounced back from a 4-2 loss to Sweden in the semifinal a day earlier, to earn a medal for a third straight year to mark the nation’s longest streak since in tournament history. The U.S. also finished third in 2016.

Team USA upped its medal total to 11 (four gold, one silver and six bronze), with two of the third-place finishes coming in Buffalo, where the tournament was also held in 2010-11.

Radovan Pavlik had a goal and assist, and Martin Kaut Daniel Kurovsky also scored for the Czech Republic. Despite the loss, the fourth-place finish was the nation’s best since winning bronze in 2005.

Goalie Josef Korenar allowed three goals 16 shots before being pulled after Brady Tkachuk’s centering pass banked in off Anderson’s skate 4:18 into the second period. Korenar then returned for the start of the third period and stopped nine more shots after backup Jakub Skarek allowed four goals on 12 shots.

Sweden faced 16-time champion Canada in the gold-medal game Friday night.

Frederic plays at Wisconsin and was selected by the Boston Bruins in the first-round of the 2016 draft. His four goals were one short of matching a U.S. single-game record at the world juniors. Wally Chapman scored five times against Switzerland in 1984 and Chris Bourque had five against Norway in 2005.

The Americans took control by building a 2-0 lead after Frederic and Poehling scored short-handed goals 13-seconds apart spanning the first intermission. Frederic opened the scoring by stripping the puck from Martin Kaut at the U.S. blue line and then beat Korenar through the legs on a breakaway with 4 seconds left in the first period.

Off the second-period-opening faceoff, U.S. defenseman Scott Perunovich fired the puck into the Czech Republic zone, where Anderson stripped the puck from Martin Necas behind the net. Anderson came around the left side and fed Poehling alone in front.

The Americans’ special teams bounced back a day after giving up a pair of short-handed goals over a 38-second span in the third period against Sweden.

Bellows made it 5-0 by scoring on a penalty shot in which he drove in off the left wing, cut across the front of the crease before beating Skarek inside the left post. Bellows then scored his tournament-leading ninth goal with 59 seconds left in the second period to put the U.S. up 7-0.

Canada crushes Czech Republic on way to World Junior Championship final


Canada will get its chance to avenge last year’s second-place finish at the world juniors, but they won’t face the U.S. in doing so.

With Sweden knocking off the United States 4-2 in Thursday’s other semifinal matchup, Canada punched its own ticket to the 2018 World Junior Championship gold-medal game by crushing the Czech Republic 7-2.

Such a gold-medal game should bring fans of international hockey back a few years; Canada edged Sweden in the final round of the world juniors in 2008 and 2009. Sweden’s last gold-medal win came in 2012, while Canada’s most recent top finish was in 2015.

While lopsided games aren’t necessarily foreign to international play, this tournament continues to hammer home the thought that, for the most part, this event has been dominated by a select few powerhouse nations: Canada, Sweden, Russia, and the U.S., with Finland recently joining those ranks.

Slovakia is the only other nation to earn a medal besides those five since 2006, grabbing a bronze in 2015. To some, this rant captures some of the feeling of “haves” versus “have-nots.”

The Czech Republic aims for its first medal since 2005 (a bronze) when it faces the U.S. in the bronze-medal game. They won’t just need to take on a powerhouse – albeit a struggling one, at least in this tournament – but they’ll also need to shake off a harsh beating from Canada.

In a 7-2 game, it’s not surprising to see some standout performances. Drake Batherson bathed in the open ice, generating a hat trick. It was quite the night for the Ottawa Senators prospect (121st overall in 2017):

You could argue that Filip Zadina enjoyed a solid night in scoring both of the Czech Republic’s goals, but that’s likely little solace in such a blowout.

Canada will face Sweden for the gold in Buffalo on Friday.

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

International hockey head wants NHL back for 2022 Olympics

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BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — The head of the International Ice Hockey Federation says he will do everything in his power to persuade the NHL to take part in the 2022 Beijing Olympics.

The NHL won’t allow its players to participate in the Winter Games next month in South Korea.

Federation president Rene’ Fasel says he believes the best way to get the NHL involved in the 2022 Games is for the players’ union to apply pressure on the league in the next contract negotiations. The NHL’s current labor deal runs through the 2021-22 season, but includes a window to be renegotiated in 2020.

Fasel spoke on Thursday while attending the world junior championships being held in Buffalo, New York. Fasel noted that he will be watching the semifinal games with players’ union chief Donald Fehr.

Asked if it was realistic to reach a deal, Fasel responded by saying: ”I have to. I have no choice. I have to for the hockey fans, for our game.”

He then placed the emphasis on NHL players to make their case.

”The solution is in the hands of the players,” Fasel said. ”Because without the players what can we do? If they want to come to the Games, they have to say so.”

The NHL backed out of participating in South Korea because of a variety of concerns. One was the 14-hour time difference between Pyeongchang and North America’s Eastern time zone. A majority of the games would be played in the early morning hours in North America.

The NHL sought licensing agreements with the International Olympic Committee to market its players competing at the Games. The league also wanted either the IOC or IIHF to pay for transportation costs, which Fasel said would amount to $15 million.

Fasel said the transportation costs are a non-starter, because the IIHF can’t afford it.

NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly attended the world junior tournament last week and said it was premature to discuss the league’s plans to compete at the 2022 Games. Daly said talks won’t begin until after this year’s Winter Olympics are over.

”The issues with each Olympics are different,” Daly said. ”Obviously, some of the logistical difficulties we have with South Korea will be the same in China. But maybe there are some opportunities in China that aren’t in South Korea.”

US wins at world juniors, will face Russia in quarters

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BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — The United States made another late push to keep its momentum going into the medal round of the world junior hockey championship.

Adam Fox scored with 1:37 left in the third period to give the U.S. a 5-4 victory over Finland on Sunday in the Americans’ final preliminary-round game.

The defending champion Americans (3-1) finished second behind Canada in the Group B standings and will face Russia in the quarterfinals Tuesday.

Fox also had two assists, Joey Anderson scored twice, Casey Mittelstadt had a goal and two assists, Brady Tkachuk added three assists, and Joseph Woll stopped 20 shots.

”We are really confident and we believe in our group,” Tkachuk said. ”It’s a new tournament now, it starts on Tuesday, and we are excited.”

Canada (3-1) secured the top seed in Group A because of the point earned in its 4-3 shootout loss to the U.S. at the Buffalo Bills’ New Era Field on Friday. Canada will meet Switzerland in the quarterfinals.

Sweden (4-0) is the top seed in Group B and will play Slovakia in the quarterfinals. Oskar Steen scored the deciding goal in Sweden’s 4-3 shootout victory over Russia on Sunday night.

Earlier Sunday, Kristian Reichel scored twice in the Czech Republic’s 6-3 victory over Switzerland.

The Czech Republic (3-1) moved into second place in Group A and will face Finland in the quarterfinals.

Tuesday’s quarterfinal game between the Americans and Russians will be a rematch of last year’s semifinal, which the U.S. won 4-3 in a shootout for its first victory over Russia in a medal round game at the world juniors. Russia eliminated the U.S. in the quarterfinals in 2014 and 2015.

The U.S. came back from two goals down to defeat Canada in a shootout in last year’s gold medal game and repeated the feat in Friday’s outdoor game that set a tournament attendance record of 44,592.

In Sunday’s matchup between the American and Finnish teams that have won four of the last five gold medals, Finland came back from a three-goal deficit to tie it before Fox scored the winner on a partial breakaway after a lead pass from Mittelstadt.

Kristian Vesalainen and Joona Koppanen scored 66 seconds apart for Finland midway through the third period to tie it.

”There was no doubt on the bench that we were coming back and getting the next one,” said Anderson, the U.S. captain.

Trent Frederic and Mittelstadt scored in the first 15 minutes and Anderson’s goal on a 5-on-3 power gave the U.S. a 3-0 early in the second period. Aapeli Rasanen and Eeli Tolvanen got Finland within a goal before Anderson scored again on a power play in the closing minutes of the second.

”We came back the other day and today felt like a comeback,” Frederic said. ”It shows we can turn it on when we have to, but now we have to turn it on all game in the quarters.”

Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen made 32 saves for Finland.

Mittelstadt, the University of Minnesota freshman and most recent first-round draft pick of the Buffalo Sabres, is the tournament’s leading scorer with nine points (four goals, five assists). Mittelstadt assisted on all three regulation goals in the comeback victory over Canada.

Tkachuk, a Boston University freshman and one of the top prospects eligible for this year’s NHL draft, set up Mittelstadt’s goal with a deft pass in front of the net. Tkachuk scored the tying goal and shootout winner against Canada.

In another preliminary-round game, Milos Roman scored two goals as Slovaki defeated Denmark 5-1 to finish fourth in Group A. Slovakia handed the U.S. its only loss in the preliminary round.

Timothy Liljegren had a goal and an assist in Sweden’s win. Lias Andersson and Glenn Gustafson also scored.

Dimitri Sokolov, Klim Kostin and Alexei Polodyan had goals for Russia. Vladislav Sukhachyov stopped 39 shots.

In the Czechs’ victory, Martin Necas, Daniel Kurovsky and Martin Kaut each had a goal and an assist. Jakub Lauko also scored and Libor Hajek had two assists.

Ken Jager, Dario Rohrbach and Elia Riva had goals for Switzerland (1-3), which finished fourth in Group B. The Swiss have never beaten their quarterfinal opponent Canada in 21 world juniors meetings.

Denmark and Belarus will play a relegation game on Tuesday.