We've reached the end of the prelims and have finally gotten to the most-anticipated matchup of the round, as the Canada and United States went head-to-head. There were also three other games, so let's get to the undercards first.
Sweden vs. Switzerland
Featuring: Axel Holmstrom (2 Assists, 0 SOG) and Cristoffer Ehn (1 Assist, 0 SOG)
The Swedes polished off the Swiss 5-1 in the early game. The Swiss scored first just 3:29 in, but Sweden scored the next five. Oskar Lindblom netted a 2nd period natural hat trick with Axel Holmstrom assisting on the first. That was Holmstrom's second helper of the day as he previously helped set up Adrian Kempe for the game-tying goal in the first period. Cristoffer Ehn got in on the fun with the last goal of the game as he was the secondary assist on the Jens Looke power play marker.
Czech Republic vs. Russia
Featuring: Hockey players who weren't drafted by Detroit!
The Czechs beat the Russians 4-1 in something of a low-event game, as there were only 43 shots on net total in this one. Patrik Zdrahal scored two for the Czechs and Bruins' draft pick David Pastrnak picked up three assists. Bonus tidbit, The Czechs have a guy named David Kampf and I'll bet he's never ever heard inappropriate Godwin's Law jokes about that last name.
Finland vs. Germany
Featuring: Julius Vahatalo (0 points, 0 SOG, +1)
The Finns shut out Germany 2-0 to finish out their preliminary round with a 1-0-1-2 record, staying ahead of pointless Germany. Vahatalo was on the ice for the first Finland goal, but didn't factor in to the scoring.
United States vs. Canada
Featuring: Dylan Larkin (2 Goals, 2 PIM, 2 SOG, +2 ), Joe Hicketts (0 points, 0 SOG)
The Canadians and Americans faced off in one heck of an entertaining game on New Year's Eve. Canada won the match and their group by a score of 5-3. The game was tilted in Canada's favor the entire time, as they outshot the US 41-28, but a very good performance by goaltender Thatcher Demko kept the USA in it. Dylan Larkin played hard and once again ended up as the team's best skater, notching two goals, each of which got the US to within a goal of the Canadian team. Unfortunately, both times he did that, the coach had him off the ice for the empty net chance and Canada capitalized each time. Hicketts didn't record anything of note for team Canada and outside of a few good outlet passes, I thought he looked a bit overmatched in this one. He had several turnovers in his own zone, but still worked hard and showed that he's capable of playing along the boards against guys much taller than he is.
Schedule for Thursday, January 1st
No Games today, as the Relegation match and Quarter-Final games are all taking place on Friday.
Here's Friday's Schedule (higher seeded team listed first)
Relegation Game (SUI vs. GER) - 11:00am EST: Air Canada Centre
Quarterfinal 1 (USA vs. RUS) - 1:00pm EST: Bell Centre
Quarterfinal 2 (SWE vs. FIN) - 3:00pm EST: Air Canada Centre
Quarterfinal 3 (CZE vs. SVK) - 5:00pm EST: Bell Centre
Quarterfinal 4 (CAN vs DEN) - 8:00pm EST: Air Canada Centre
If you live in the US, then NHL Network is your source for WJC games. They're going to show all Team USA and Canada games, but not every game. NHL.com has the full broadcast schedule here.
In Canada, the TSN empire will have every single game. Here's their network/broadcast schedule.