World junior roundup: Swiss just miss eliminating Russia
|Russia's players celebrate defeating Switzerland in a shootout during their quarterfinal game at the World Junior Hockey Championship in Ufa, Russia, on Jan. 2, 2013. (Mark Blinch/Reuters)
UFA, RUSSIA - You couldn't have blamed Melvin Nyffeler had he reached for a box of Kleenex Wednesday night.
His team and country, Switzerland, had just come within a bounce of eliminating Russia from medal contention at the 2013 world junior championship.
Instead, Nikita Kucherov scored the winning goal in a shootout as Russia won the quarterfinal 4-3, advancing to a semifinal against Sweden.
"It really hurts," Nyffeler, the Swiss netminder, said. "It's really hard to find words now. Sorry.
"I'm very proud of our team. We are a pretty good team. We could reach a lot, but we had no luck today."
After defeating Latvia in their first game, the Swiss lost their last four games in the tournament in overtime or a shootout.
What's more, Switzerland held a 3-2 lead when Kucherov scored on a power play with less than two minutes left in regulation.
Neither team could score during a 10-minute overtime.
This is the last year that teams that win their respective group at the world junior will get a bye to the semifinals. Starting at the 2014 tournament in Malmo, Sweden, all eight playoff teams will participate in the quarterfinals.
"All I told them was how proud I was of them," Switzerland coach Sean Simpson, a native of Brampton, Ont., said. "They played their hearts out."
Alex Khokhlachyov and Mikhail Grigorenko also scored for Russia while Christoph Bertschy, Martin Ness and Sven Andrighetto replied for the Swiss.
U.S. 7, Czech Republic 0
The Americans warmed up for a semifinal showdown with Canada by hammering the Czech in the quarters.
John Gaudreau's hat trick -- all three goals came on the power play -- sparked the U.S.'s high-octane offence, which piled up 16 goals in wins over the Czech Republic and Slovakia after sputtering to start the tournament.
Riley Barber added a pair of goals for the Americans, J.T. Miller had one goal and two assists, Ryan Hartman had one goal and Jacob Trouba and Seth Jones, a potential first overall pick in next summer's NHL draft, both had four assists.
Kitchener Rangers goalie John Gibson recorded the shutout and is expected to start against Canada.
Finland 8, Germany 0
Calgary Flames prospect Markus Granlund had a goal and three assists as the Finns pounded Germany to move atop the relegation pool standings.
Ville Pokka and Aleksander Barkov both scored twice for Finland while Miikka Salomaki, Joel Armia and Artturi Lehkonen also scored.
Janne Juvonen stopped 15 shots for the shutout while German netminder Marvin Cupper, who's been under seige the entire tournament, kicked out 48 of 56 shots.