The final day of the round-robin schedule is done at the World Junior Championships. The 2023 portion of the tournament has been incredible to watch so far and now they are ready for the elimination rounds.
There was a lot of good action on this final day as teams secured their spots in certain seeds for the next stage.
A few very good games were played between some great teams and there was even a huge rivalry matchup that went to a shootout. This is how it all shook out:
The World Junior Championships have been very good so far this year
USA vs Slovakia
Team USA took down Slovakia 10-2. Rutger McGroarty (Winnipeg Jets) had a hat trick to lead the way. Now, Team USA is the Group B champions after going undefeated in the round-robin.
Slovakia will be the second seed in the group after doing so well themselves. Shockingly, they lost this badly but Team USA found that domination status that everyone thought they could reach in this tournament.
Everyone on the roster contributed to this win, including goalie Trey Augustine (Detroit Red Wings) who made 38 saves on 40 shots. That is a lot of saves for a team that scored double digits. Everyone needed to be on top of their game.
Gavin Brindley (Columbus Blue Jackets), Lane Hutson (Montreal Canadiens), and Cutter Gauthier (Philadelphia Flyers) all deserve a little bit of extra credit. Each of them, in addition to McGroarty, had three points in the game. They all played a huge part in the 10-goal explosion.
Team USA has what it takes to win the Gold Medal. They need to play this well to go all the way but there is enough depth there for them to do it.
Finland vs Sweden
Sweden entered Sunday's slate of games without giving up a goal in three games played. They took that streak into the matchup against their biggest rival in Finland.
Finland, who had been having a tough tournament coming in, got the stunning win in a shootout 5-4. They were the first team to score a goal against Sweden but more importantly, they were the first team to beat them.
The Fins got out to a 2-0 lead in this win which was good for them but they let Sweden tie it up. After taking a 3-2 lead back, Sweden entered the third period with a 4-3 lead.
Instead of letting things get out of hand, Finland found a way to tie it and force overtime. Nothing happened there so a shootout was needed. Finland took care of business there.
Sweden will still win Group A because they beat Canada in regulation earlier in the tournament but they can't love letting Finland back in the mix. They will be the third-place team in Group A.
Finland may have had a bad start but they are feeling good about themselves now. The higher seeds can't love that Finland is firmly back in the mix feeling good about themselves. They will be dangerous no matter who they play.
As for Sweden, they should believe in themselves as well. They can beat anybody as they've proven with their win over Canada. A close game with their biggest rival should be motivating rather than deflating. This is a very good team and they will be fun to watch in the next stage.
Czechia vs Switzerland
Switzerland isn't as bad as Team USA made them look when they played earlier in the tournament but they still aren't where Czechia is right now.
The Czechs won this one 4-2 and they will be the 3 seed in Group B. Team Switzerland will be the fourth seed. It was a good game between the two but the better team ended up winning.
The Swiss erased a 2-0 deficit in the game to go into the third period tied. Czechia got the go-ahead goal from Jiri Kulich (Buffalo Sabres) in the late stages of the third period and that became the game-winner. Tomas Hamara (Ottawa Senators) added a fourth goal for good measure a few minutes later.
Although the Swiss deserve their respect, Czechia is the better team and they overcame a tough pushback from a good opponent.
Czechia is the reigning Silver Medal winner and they will be looking to do something similar again later in this tournament. It should be very fun to see how this goes for them.
Canada vs Germany
This tournament has gone south for Germany after their stunning win over Finland earlier. They are a very nice up-and-coming hockey country and it showed in that game.
The unfortunate thing is that they came into Sunday 1-2. They had lost two straight with Canada looming on the schedule.
Canada is coming off a tough loss as well as Sweden got the best of them earlier in the week. They came into this game against Germany hoping to bounce back heading into the elimination rounds.
Germany got off to a good start in this one as they took a 1-0 lead over the Canadians. From there, it became a very good hockey game.
Macklin Celebrini, who will be the number one pick in the 2024 NHL Draft, tied the game at one. Canada ended up with a 2-1 lead thanks to a goal by Brayden Yager (Pittsburgh Penguins) not long after that.
Instead of folding, however, Germany found a way to score a goal and get it tied. They only needed a point from this game to stay alive and you can tell they knew it. In the third period, the game was tied at 2 before the teams traded goals one more time.
Once it was 3-3, however, the Canadians took over. They scored three unanswered and won the game 6-3. Germany gave them more of a fight than anyone thought they would but Canada prevailed. They will be the two seed from Group A.
Germany will be the last-place Group A team and now they need to try and avoid relegation. The loser of Germany vs Norway will be relegated.
This was a fun game to end this part of the World Juniors. When play resumes again on Tuesday, things are going to be much more serious.