Friday, January 5, 2018

KAIQUE PACHECO WINS FIRST 15/15 PBR BUCKING BATTLE OF 2018 IN NEW YORK CITY

Kaique Pacheco (Itatiba, Brazil) was the victor in the first PBR (Professional Bull Riders) 15/15 Bucking Battle of the season, winning the special round at the season-launching the 25th Unleash The Beast Monster Energy Buck Off at the Garden
The 2015 Rookie of the Year covered Moto Moto (Jane Clark/Gene Owen) for 87.75 points to win the title. Now a perfect 3-for-3 against the bovine athlete, Pacheco collected $7,000 and 150 world points.
J.B. Mauney (Statesville, North Carolina), who made sports history earlier in the evening when he covered his first round draw to become the third rider in PBR history to record 500 qualified rides on the elite tour, tied for second alongside 2012 PRCA Champion Cody Teel (Kountze, Texas).
Both riders recorded matching 87.5-point scores, Mauney on Breaking Bad (Broken Arrow Bucking Bulls) and Teel aboard Hedoo (Jane Clark/Gene Owen), to earn $4,500 and 82.5 world points.
2017 Rookie of the Year and World Finals Event Winner Jose Vitor Leme (Ribas do Rio Pardo, Brazil) rode Mystikal (Jane Clark/Gene Owen) for 87 points to finish fourth in the first 15/15 Bucking Battle of his career.
Despite bucking off in Round 1 of his elite tour debut by Nailed (Broken Arrow Bucking Bulls), the Brazilian young-gun still earned $3,000.00 and 60 world points.
Dener Barbosa (Paulo de Faria, Brazil) and Eduardo Aparecido (Gouvelandia, Brazil) tied for fifth after logging matching 76.5 points trips, each winning $1,000 and 35 world points.
Barbosa’s qualified ride came on Wiley (JQH Bucking Bulls/Wallgren Bull Co.), while Aparecido was successful on Mar-A-Lago (Gene Owen Bucking Battle).
Round 1 of the Monster Energy Buck Off at the Garden was won by 2016 World Champion Cooper Davis (Jasper, Texas) who rode Ram It (K-C Bucking Bulls) for 89.75 points, collecting $6,500.00 and 125 world points.
Mauney and Dakota Buttar (Kindersley, Saskatchewan, Canada), tied for second, compliments of their 87.25-point efforts to earn $4,500 and 67.5 world points.
Two-time World Champion Mauney’s successful ride aboard All The Way Up (K-C Bucking Bulls) was the 500th of his career.
He now joins 2008 World Champion Guilherme Marchi (TrĂªs Lagoas, Brazil, 613 qualified rides), and 2004 World Champion Mike Lee (Decatur, Texas, 525 qualified rides), as the only riders to record more than 500 rides on the premier series.
Collectively, for both of his runner-up finishes, Mauney earned $9,000 and 150 world points following the first night of competition.
Buttar covered GOOD RIDE’S Jailhouse Jr. (John Peck/Kaplow Insurance/Viducic Bucking Bulls) en route to his second place effort.
Ryan Dirteater (Hulbert, Oklahoma) and Alex Marcilio (Macaubal, Brazil) finished fourth and fifth respectively.
Dirteater rode Tractor Tippin (Jo-Z Bucking Bulls/K-C) for 87 points to win $2,500 and 50 world points, while Marcilio was 84.75 points on Coopers Comet (Broken Arrow Bucking Bulls) to net $1,500 and 40 world points.
The Top 35 riders in the world return to Madison Square Garden on Saturday, January 7 for Round 2 of the Monster Energy Buck Off at the Garden.
Fans can catch all the action from the first 15/15 Bucking Battle of the season on CBS Sports at 12:00 p.m. ET on Saturday, January 6. Action from Round 1 will be available in its entirety at PBR.com/on-demand starting at 8:00 a.m. ET on Saturday, January 6. 
Professional Bull Riders – 25th Unleash The Beast
Monster Energy Buck Off at the Garden
Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York
Event Leaders (Round 1-Round 2-Round 3-Round 4-Event Aggregate-Event Points)
1. Cooper Davis, 89.75-0-0-0-89.75-125 Points.
2. Dakota Buttar, 87.25-0-0-0-87.25-67.5 Points.
(tie). J.B. Mauney, 87.25-0-0-0-87.25-67.5 Points.
4. Ryan Dirteater, 87-0-0-0-87.00-50 Points.
5. Alex Marcilio, 84.75-0-0-0-84.75-40 Points.
6. Dener Barbosa, 84.25-0-0-0-84.25-20 Points.
7. Guilherme Marchi, 83.75-0-0-0-83.75-10 Points.
8. Gage Gay, 83.25-0-0-0-83.25
9. Derek Kolbaba, 83-0-0-0-83.00
10. Valdiron de Oliveira, 82.5-0-0-0-82.50
(tie). Tanner Byrne, 82.5-0-0-0-82.50
(tie). Luciano De Castro, 82.5-0-0-0-82.50
13. Mason Lowe, 82.25-0-0-0-82.25
14. Ramon de Lima, 81.5-0-0-0-81.50
(tie). Joao Ricardo Vieira, 81.5-0-0-0-81.50
16. Shane Proctor, 81-0-0-0-81.00
17. Silvano Alves, 66.5-0-0-0-66.50
Rubens Barbosa, 0-0-0-0-0.00
Cody Campbell, 0-0-0-0-0.00
Jose Vitor Leme, 0-0-0-0-0.00
Claudio Montanha Jr., 0-0-0-0-0.00
Stetson Lawrence, 0-0-0-0-0.00
Lachlan Richardson, 0-0-0-0-0.00
Ednei Caminhas, 0-0-0-0-0.00
Troy Wilkinson, 0-0-0-0-0.00
Eduardo Aparecido, 0-0-0-0-0.00
Kaique Pacheco, 0-0-0-0-0.00
Stormy Wing, 0-0-0-0-0.00
Fabiano Vieira, 0-0-0-0-0.00
Cody Teel, 0-0-0-0-0.00
Cody Nance, 0-0-0-0-0.00
Marco Antonio Eguchi, 0-0-0-0-0.00
Robson Palermo, 0-0-0-0-0.00
Francisco Morales, 0-0-0-0-0.00
Jess Lockwood, 0-0-0-0-0.00
Emilio Resende, 0-0-0-0-0.00

Professional Bull Riders – 25th Unleash The Beast
15/15 Bucking Battle, Monster Energy Buck Off at the Garden  
Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York
Event Leaders (Round 1-Event Aggregate-Event Points)
1. Kaique Pacheco, 87.75-87.75-150 Points.
2. J.B. Mauney, 87.5-87.50-82.5 Points.
(tie). Cody Teel, 87.5-87.50-82.5 Points.
4. Jose Vitor Leme, 87-87.00-60 Points.
5. Dener Barbosa, 76.5-76.50-35 Points.
(tie). Eduardo Aparecido, 76.5-76.50-35 Points.
Cooper Davis, 0-0.00
Rubens Barbosa, 0-0.00
Claudio Montanha Jr., 0-0.00
Derek Kolbaba, 0-0.00
Stormy Wing, 0-0.00
Fabiano Vieira, 0-0.00
Silvano Alves, 0-0.00
Joao Ricardo Vieira, 0-0.00
Jess Lockwood, 0-0.00

Mittelstadt named MVP

U.S. forward Casey Mittelstadt was voted the Most Valuable Player of the 2018 IIHF World Junior Championship by the media.

The 19-year-old centre from Edina, Minnesota had 11 points for the bronze-medal Americans (4-7-11) to lead the tournament. As a 2017 first-round draft pick (eighth overall) of the Buffalo Sabres, he was a fan favorite at both KeyBank Center and the 29 December outdoor game at New Era Field, where the U.S. beat Canada 4-3 in a shootout.
Mittelstadt was also named Top Forward and a tournament all-star along with fellow American Kieffer Bellows, who led the World Juniors with nine goals. Silver-medal Sweden also had two players receive Directorate Awards and all-star berths: goalie Filip Gustavsson and defenceman Rasmus Dahlin.

Forward Filip Zadina became the first Czech all-star since goalie Petr Mrazek (2012).
Total tournament attendance for 30 games in Buffalo was 211,210.
Directorate Awards

Top Goaltender - Filip Gustavsson (SWE)
Top Defenceman - Rasmus Dahlin (SWE)
Top Forward - Casey Mittelstadt (USA)

All-Star Team and MVP (selected by the media)

Goaltender - Filip Gustavsson (SWE)
Defenceman - Rasmus Dahlin (SWE)
Defenceman - Cale Makar (CAN)
Forward - Casey Mittelstadt (USA)
Forward - Filip Zadina (CZE)
Forward - Kieffer Bellows (USA)

MVP - Casey Mittelstadt (USA)

Canada wins thriller

Tyler Steenbergen scored the biggest goal of his life, and Canada won the gold medal by defeating Sweden, 3-1.

Steengeren had played just 3:17 through two periods, had but four shots in the entire tournament, and had yet to score. In two days he'll turn 20, so he can consider this an early birthday present of the highest quality.
The goal couldn't have happened without Drake Batherson's determined forecheck. His tenacity produced a turnover that led to a superb slap-pass from the point by Connor Timmins. It was deflected in front by Steenbergen, breaking a 1-1 tie and sending Canada on to World Junior gold for the first time since 2015.
The win provided a double dose of revenge. One, for erasing terrible memories of the 2011 gold-medal game in Buffalo when the team blew a 3-0 lead in the third period. And two, for erasing more recent memories of a heart-breaking loss to the United States last year in the finals. 
Seven players from 2017 won gold tonight: Carter Hart, Dillon Dube, Jake Bean, Kale Clague, Dante Fabbro, Michael McLeod, and Taylor Raddysh. As well, coach Dominique Ducharme was there last year, victorious tonight.
Canada won despite going 0-for-6 on the power play, which had been its forte all tournament. But the Swedes clearly did their homework before the game and not only neutralized the potent power play but scored short-handed as well.
On the other side of the ledger, Canada did not incur a penalty for the last 51 minutes of the game. In all, Sweden had 22 PIMs to Canada's 2 (10 of the former going to Oskar Steen for a last-minute misconduct).
For Sweden, the disappointment is bitter. It hadn't won gold since 2012 and finished runner-up in the bronze-medal game for the last three years.
The first period proved that you don’t need goals for exciting hockey; you need only skilled players moving freely up and down the ice.
The Swedes didn’t get the start they wanted, though. Without doubt, the first thing on coach Tomas Monten’s checklist of what not to do was to not take penalties. Canada had converted on nearly 60 per cent of all power plays through the first six games, and this was an aspect of the game that might well decide gold.
That being said, just 3:46 after the opening faceoff, Gustav Lindstrom took an interference penalty. Although Canada had a couple of good chances, goalie Filip Gustavsson stood tall and the danger was averted.
A little later, the Swedes got a power play of their own, to no great effect. The Swedes had more shots in the first—16-9—but Canada had as many decent scoring chances. Both goalies were steady and letter perfect.
Not so in the second. Canada opened the scoring just 1:49 into the period on a couple of great plays by Jordan Kyrou and Dillon Dube. Kyrou brought the puck up ice and slid a nice pass straight ahead to Dube, who was covered by Timothy Liljegren.
Dube managed to fight off the check, control the puck, and then snap a shot over the glove of a surprised Gustavsson, thrilling the massive Canadian crowd of 17,544.
That got both teams going, but the Swedes in particular stepped it up a notch. Defenceman Rasmus Dahlin made several fine rushes, creating some good scoring chances, but Hart was rock solid and square to the shooter on every puck that went his way.
But when Canada went to the power play later in the period, Sweden struck. Canada's Robert Thomas pinched at the Sweden blue line and Linus Lindstrom and Tim Soderlund bolted up ice on a two-on-two. They criss-crossed inside the Canadian blue line, and Soderlund wired a high shot short side off the post and in at 13:07 to tie the game.
It was Sweden’s third short-handed goal in its last three periods of hockey. 
As the third period progressed, shifts got shorter and players more cautious, but there were still moments in what felt like an overtime period. Sweden won a faceoff in the Canadian end, and defenceman Jesper Sellgren ripped a shot off the post behind Hart.
A short time later, Boris Katchouk snapped a shot off Gustavsson's shoulder that would have gone in but for the fine save.
Canada came perilously close to winning in regulation on its last power play when Taylor Raddysh tipped a shot off the post, but the puck stayed out, setting the stage for Steenbergen's heroics.
Alex Formenton salted the win with an empty netter 36 seconds later.

Bronze blowout

Trent Frederic's four goals led the U.S. to a 9-3 bronze medal victory over the Czechs on Friday. It's the third straight U.S. World Junior medal.
"You want to sit in your room and feel sad, but you’ve still got another game," said Frederic. "You still want to win a medal and that’s what we did."

Kieffer Bellows scored twice and added an assist, and captain Joey Anderson had a goal and an assist. Ryan Poehling and Patrick Harper chipped in singles.
Bellows, who leads the World Juniors in goals, set a new U.S. single-tournament record (nine), surpassing Jeremy Roenick’s mark (eight in Anchorage, Alaska in 1989). The all-time record belongs to Sweden's Markus Naslund (13 goals, 1993).

"That’s something that’ll go down in history," said Poehling. "To beat someone so elite, with that name, Jeremy Roenick, he should be proud of himself. That’s a pretty special moment for him."

The U.S. won bronze in 2016 and gold in 2017. This doesn't make up for not repeating, but it's still a worthy success on home ice under head coach Bob Motzko.

It's the sixth American bronze medal of all time. The previous ones were 1986, 1992, 2007, 2011, and 2016. Year after year, USA Hockey remains a rising force.

"These medals are very hard to get in this tournament," said Motzko. "USA Hockey's in a great spot. They really are."
U.S. goalie Jake Oettinger started for the first time since the 4-3 outdoor shootout win over Canada on 29 December. In the 4-2 semi-final loss to Sweden, he relieved Joseph Woll, who did not dress for the bronze game. Third-stringer Jeremy Swayman got his opportunity.

Radovan Pavlik had a goal and an assist for the Czechs, and Martin Kaut and Daniel Kurovsky also scored. Petr Kodytek had two assists.
Before the game, two questions stood out. Would the Americans, hailing from a country with a gold-or-bust mentality, be invested in the outcome? And could the Czechs tighten up enough defensively and get enough production to compete?
The answers were “Absolutely” and “Nope.”
It was a disappointment for the Czech Republic, whose U20 program has been rebuilding for years. After losing 7-2 to Canada in the semi-finals, top sniper Filip Zadina looked forward to the bronze showdown: “We will die on the ice.” But that occurred differently than he intended.

"We wanted to be better but we didn't," said Zadina. "In the semi-final and tonight, there's a reason we lost. At least we scored three goals in the third, but they got a goal on our power play in the first, which wasn't good. Fourth is good for the Czech Republic now, but we wanted to bring home a medal."

The Czechs allowed 16 goals in their last two games and that's no way to succeed.
The last time the Czechs medaled was a 3-2 overtime win over the U.S. for bronze at the 2005 World Juniors in Grand Forks, North Dakota. (Petr Vrana notched the winner at 2:38.) Nonetheless, fourth is the best Czech finish since ‘05, and that means something. With upset wins over Russia and Finland in Buffalo, they have much to be proud of.
It took the Czechs more than 12 minutes to register their first shot on goal, but then they picked up their tempo as first-period shots favored the U.S. 12-8.
With just four seconds left in the first, Frederic opened the scoring shorthanded. He capitalized on Kaut’s turnover at the U.S. blue line and got a breakaway, sliding the puck past Czech starter Josef Korenar for his second goal of the tournament.

"Any time you put the puck in the net, it’s obviously a good time," said Frederic. "It’s fun. We were having fun out there. It was a tough loss yesterday. We came back and I thought we responded well."
The Americans started the second period with another shorthanded goal. Anderson grabbed the puck behind the net on the forecheck and centered it to Poehling, who made it 2-0 at 0:09.

"We were on the PK and we drew that play up before," said Poehling. "Scotty [Perunovich], the D-man, just suggested it and we ended up doing it. It somehow worked out. We were all laughing about it. It was a good play all around. I was surprised I was so open in front."

It was ironic since America’s hopes of repeating as champion for the second straight year were sunk by two Swedish shorthanded goals in the 4-2 semi-final loss.
At 4:18, Anderson gave the U,S. a three-goal lead when Tkachuk’s centering pass bounced in off his skate. The Czechs yanked Korenar in favor of Jakub Skarek, but it was too late to make a difference.

"Getting the lead was huge for us, and then the big second period, we just kept running with it," said Anderson.
Things went from bad to worse for coach Filip Pesan’s crew. Just 1:34 later, Frederic finished off a nice rush on the backhand to put the Americans up 4-0. After Libor Hajek hauled Bellows down on a breakaway at 7:23, the U.S. assistant captain was awarded a penalty shot, and he went high stick side for a 5-0 lead.
Frederic completed his hat trick at 12:55 with a snipe from the faceoff circle, making it 6-0. However, nobody bothered to throw any hats. With 59 seconds left in the middle frame, Bellows took a drop pass from Josh Norris and zipped home his second of the evening.

"Our players wanted to leave here on a very positive note," said Motzko. "We’re very proud of the effort they put in tonight."

In the third period, the Czechs spoiled Oettinger's shutout bid with two quick goals, one from Chytil on the power play at 0:43 and another from Pavlik through the five-hole 28 seconds later. But no miracle comeback was in the works.

Frederic got his fourth on a Bellows power-play set-up at 5:41. Just over two minutes later, Kurovsky capitailzed on sloppy U.S. play to make it 8-3. Swayman got his first appearance in net with under four minutes left, and Harper rounded out the scoring at 9-3 with 2:50 remaining.

The biggest blowout in bronze-medal history remains Sweden's 11-4 win over Switzerland in Saskatoon in 2010.

"This win was huge," said Bellows. "It sets the stage for next year, for those guys who are returning. It shows how hard this tournament can be. There are so many elite players around the world, and elite teams. It's a huge honor to get a bronze medal. It's not the one we wanted but it's great for USA Hockey."

Tips of hat to Drake

The Czechs scored first—and almost second—but then took two penalties that cost them the lead and, really, the game.
In the end, it was close for only a brief time. And then it wasn’t. Canada used its high-powered offense and fantastic power play to blast through the Czech defence and win decisively, 7-2.
Drake Batherson had three goals for the winners while Filip Zadina had both goals for the Czechs. Those two players are now tied for the goalscoring lead in the tournament, each with seven.
Canada has never lost to the Czechs in the playoff round since the format was introduced in 1996. The win puts Canada in the gold-medal game with Sweden tomorrow night. It’s the third time in four years the Canadians are in the finals.
"It’s good to celebrate now, but tomorrow we’ve got to get up and do it again," said winning goalie Carter Hart. "This win is over with now. It’s time to prepare for the real deal. The thing that makes this win sweeter is if we win tomorrow. That’s the only thing that matters."
"I think we need to be having our best game tomorrow," said Canada's coach, Dominique Ducharme. "It’s going to be quite a game."
The Czechs will play the United States for bronze in the early game tomorrow.
"It was a tough loss," said Zadina. "We tried to play how we wanted, and in the first period we did it. In the second and last period, it was so hard to play on the PK. We will do anything for the win tomorrow. We will die on the ice. We want to win a medal for the Czech Republic."
Canada’s vaunted power play brought the team back to life late in the first period. In all, it scored three goals on the night and now has 13 goals in six games. Overall, the nation has 36 goals in the tournament, far and away the most. Sweden, with 27, is second in total offense.
The Czechs stunned the pro-Canadian crowd by opening the scoring at 5:55. Zadina and Martin Necas came over the Canadian blue line on a two-on-two. Zadina took the pass, turned Kale Clague inside out, and fired a short-side shot over the glove of Carter Hart.
"That first goal was more of a wakeup call for us," Batherson said. "After that, we played our game and showed our true colours."
Soon after, Necas, who is tied for the tournament scoring lead with ten points, hit the crossbar on a Czech power play, a costly miss as fortune would have it. 
Canada tied the score on a power play of its own at 15:05 when Sam Steel ripped a one-timer that demolished the net cam in the middle of the net.
Albert Michnac was then penalized for clearing the puck over the glass and Canada struck again, this time with only three seconds left in the man advantage. Cale Makar’s quick point shot was deflected by Batherson in front at 18:08, and a game that might have been 2-0 Czechs early was now 2-1 Canada after 20 minutes.
This Makar-Batherson combo struck again on a power play at 7:48 of the second, making it a 3-1 game.
At this point, Canada had scored 13 goals on just 22 power-play chances in the tournament, an astounding 59 per cent rate of success.
The Canadians then scored two quick five-on-five goals. The first was initiated by Brett Howden who nullified an icing call with great hustle. He then threaded a pass to Maxime Comtois, who converted from close range at 9:43.
At 12:15, Jordan Kyrou made it 5-1, and when Batherson scored his hat-trick goal on a bad-angle shot, Czech coach Filip Pesan pulled Korenar in favour of Jakub Skarek.
Skarek was good the rest of the period but he surrendered a goal early in the third on a bullet wrist shot from Boris Katchouk from the slot to make it 7-1.
Zadina closed out the scoring with a good second effort, shovelling in a rebound Hart couldn't control.
"Through the guys who are returning, what they went through last year, it was tough," said captain Dillon Dube of last year's heart-breaking loss by Canada in the gold-medal game. "But I think that’s great. It gives us more motivation. It’d be unbelievable, but I don’t want to get too ahead of ourselves here, and just really focus on the first period tomorrow."

Swedes dethrone Americans

Sweden scored shorthanded twice in 38 seconds in a 4-2 semi-final win over the defending champion U.S. to advance to Friday's World Junior gold medal game.

Sweden will face the winner of the Canada-Czech Republic semi-final in the final at 20:00 Buffalo time.

The unbeaten Swedes, who finished fourth at the last three World Juniors, now have the opportunity to win gold for the first time since 2012 in Calgary. Their last medal was silver in Malmo in 2014.

"We have a big chance, but we’re not going to forget how we got here," said Elias Petersson. "It’s hard work and believing in ourselves."
Amazingly, this was the first Swedish playoff win over the U.S. since a 3-0 quarter-final decision in 1996 -- the same year the IIHF instituted the playoff system at the World Juniors.
It was a disappointing and anti-climatic ending for an American team that hoped to make history with its first World Junior gold ever on home ice. In the words of American poet T.S. Eliot: "This is how the world ends. Not with a bang but a whimper."
For head coach Bob Motzko and the seven returning players from 2017, the dream of winning two straight titles for the first time since Canada’s last five-peat (2005-09) is over. The four previous U.S. golds came in Finland (2004), Canada (2010, 2017), and Russia (2013).

"We were all playing for each other, but we didn’t execute," said U.S. defenceman Ryan Poehling. "Sweden did a better job at that than we did."
Captain Lias Andersson led the way with a goal and an assist, and Pettersson scored the opening goal for Sweden. Oskar Steen and Axel Jonsson Fjallby had the shorthanded markers.

"We played a pretty good game today," said Timothy Liljegren. "The U.S. had home advantage, but we've had a good feeling in the group for a while now. This was our goal all along, to play in the gold medal game."

Kieffer Bellows and Brady Tkachuk replied for the U.S., which will seek bronze in Friday's early game at KeyBank Center.

Of the Swedes, Bellows said: "They can damage you at all times. They have great offense and superb defense. We played a really complete game, I thought. They came out on top, and credit to them."

"Our mission is not done," said Motzko. "We owe it to the future of USA Hockey. This is an important game tomorrow, and we need to honor that and be ready to go."
Swedish starting goalie Filip Gustavsson was full value for the victory as the Americans outshot Sweden 31-20.

"I think we're meeting the two best opponents, first the U.S. and then Canada," said Gustavsson. "I hope we play Canada to show everyone that we are the best team."
Sweden’s only other World Junior gold came way back in 1981. The Juniorkronorna have a long history of icing ultra-talented teams that underperform relative to their potential. But this one could be different.
The Swedes came within a hair’s breadth of opening the scoring with their first man advantage. When Andersson set up Alexander Nylander with a cross-crease pass, the puck slipped through Woll’s legs and he barely kept it out with his right pad as he pivoted on his knees. The play was video-reviewed for confirmation. Woll stoned Nylander again from the slot a few minutes later.
The U.S. outshot Sweden 8-5 in the opening stanza, and team scoring leader Casey Mittelstadt had the crowd buzzing with a late flurry in the Swedish end. But it was scoreless through 20 minutes.
In the second period, with a delayed penalty coming up to the U.S., Isac Lundestrom, who scored twice in the 3-2 quarter-final over the Czechs, was foiled by Woll’s right skate on a mid-period breakaway.
However, Sweden broke through on the ensuing man advantage at 13:30. Pettersson’s dazzling snipe from the left faceoff circle beat Woll high to the glove side. It was his third power play goal and fifth overall of this tournament. Nylander's assist on the play tied him with his father Michael Nylander for fourth overall in all-time Swedish World Junior scoring (28 points).

"We were just trying to keep our composure and not get too stressed," Nylander said. "Stay calm, play it out, keep going until we won."
The Americans botched a glorious chance to tie it on a late-period power play when they got a 3-on-0 break. Gustafsson stopped Mittelstadt, and then Bellows ran into the Swedish goalie, nullifying the man advantage with an interference minor.

"We didn’t have good jump," Motzko said. "We didn’t have some legs, and then we were fighting it. We just couldn’t get on track. You have to give Sweden a lot of credit."

At 6:17 of the third period, Andersson and Fredrik Karlstrom hooked up to make it 2-0 on an odd-man rush. Andersson sent a sweet saucer pass over defenceman Ryan Lindgren's stick to Karlstrom, and he gave it right back to the Swedish captain to slide into Woll's gaping cage.

It was 3-0 Sweden at 7:47 after another odd-man break, this time shorthanded. Steen cruised in off right wing and zinged it high into the net.

At 8:25, Fjallby walked into the American zone and used defenceman Scott Perunovich as his decoy, whizzing another high one past Woll. The two shorthanded goals in 38 seconds just fell shy of the record: Sweden's Fredrik Olausson and Roger Johansson scored shorties twice in 36 seconds on January 1, 1986 versus Poland.

That was it for Woll, as he was replaced in goal by Jake Oettinger. It was Oettinger's first appearance since the 29 December outdoor game at New Era Field, a 4-3 win over Canada.

"We failed Joe tonight," said Motzko. "Joe didn't fail us."

On the power play, Bellows cut the deficit to 4-1 at 12:24 with his team-leading seventh goal, converting Kailer Yamamoto's beautiful backhand feed from behind the net.

With 3:01 left, Tkachuk gave his team life when he roofed a rebound to make it 4-2. With Oettinger pulled for the extra attacker, the Americans got their chance to tie it up when Tim Soderlund was sent off for holding. The defending champs generated pressure, but couldn't beat Gustavsson.

Yamamoto was shaken up with seconds to play and was helped off the ice by his teammates. The Swedes took one more penalty for delay of game as Glenn Gustafsson put the puck over the glass. And then it was all over.

"We did a great job, especially on the PK," said Jesper Boqvist. "We played hard for 60 minutes. We met the U.S. before the tournament and lost, but you can see we're a much better team now."

The three best U.S. players of the tournament were announced: Adam Fox, Kieffer Bellows, and Casey Mittelstadt. For Sweden, it was Rasmus Dahlin, Alexander Nylander, and Lias Andersson.

The Americans wore the same Buffalo Bills-style jerseys they sported in the 4-3 comeback win over Canada in the outdoor game. Bills legend Thurman Thomas performed the ceremonial faceoff.

The U.S. has had Sweden’s number at the World Juniors in recent years. Their record over the previous 10 meetings against Sweden was nine wins and one loss (a 1-0 preliminary defeat in 2016). That includes victories in the 2013 gold medal game and the bronze medal games of 2007, 2011, and 2016. But that history provides scant consolation for the hosts now.

Denmark survives for 2019

Denmark edged Belarus 3-2 in a shootout to sweep their best-of-three relegation series on Thursday at KeyBank Center.
Denmark will return to the elite division for the fifth consecutive year at the 2019 IIHF World Junior Championship in Canada (Vancouver and Victoria). Half the team is eligible to play there.

"I’m happy about it and I’m also proud," said Denmark's Daniel Nielsen. "It’s good for my country. It’s so nice to see our country, when we are so little, that we can stay in the [elite division] and keep fighting with the other teams in the top 10. It’s awesome."

Battling through a spate of injuries and illness, the Danes blew a 2-0 third-period lead in Game Two, but Jacob Schmidt-Svejstrup got the shootout winner, and Andreas Grundtvig and Jonas Rondbjerg, with the final shootout tally, also converted.

"I tried that move a few times in practice and it worked out," said Rondbjerg of his high backhand tally, which prompted a wild celebration. "So I just thought I’d do the same. Lucky it went in."

In regulation, team points leader Rondbjerg had a goal and an assist, and Nielsen also scored. Joachim Blichfeld, who left midway after being injured, added two assists. Shots favored Belarus 30-28.

Captain Maxim Sushko led the way with a goal and an assist for Belarus, and Ilya Litvinov had the other goal.

"It’s so hard right now," said Sushko. "In my head there are only bad Russian words right now. It’s life and it’s really tough for us."
The Danes heartstoppingly won Game One 5-4 on two third-period goals at 19:26 and 19:45.

Newly promoted Belarus competed hard in this tournament, especially in losses to Switzerland (3-2) and the Czech Republic (6-5). However, the Belarusians have only avoided relegation twice in their World Junior history (2001, 2002), and their strong power play and penalty kill weren't enough to save them in Buffalo.

"I enjoyed playing here against Sweden and Russia," said Sushko. "It’s so much better than playing against Germany and Latvia. I can’t say the other teams are worse, but I just enjoyed playing against the best teams."
Even though Danish captain Christian Mathias-Wesje returned after a one-game suspension and Schmidt-Svejstrup after being ill, two other players sat out: forward Nikolaj Krag (concussion, for the second straight game) and defenceman Christian Larsen (illness).
Denmark didn't make life easy on itself. Just four seconds in, Nielsen was sent off for high-sticking. But the Danes weathered the early storm, and the assistant captain redeemed himself by opening the scoring at 10:47. Following a faceoff in Belarus’s end. Blichfeld centered the puck from behind the goal line to Nielsen, who tallied from the slot.
Less than two minutes later, Denmark went up 2-0 when Blichfeld’s bad-angle release from the left side squeezed past Belarus starter Andrei Grishenko and Rondbjerg poked the puck across the goal line.

"Our coach told us before every game that we have to play all 60 minutes every game," said Sushko. "But it looked like we were not playing in the first period."
Belarus called its timeout and pulled Grishenko, who’d been fighting the puck, in favor of backup Dmitri Rodik. Rodik did his best to keep Belarus in it, stoning Grundtvig – the Game One hero with the last-minute winner – and Philip Schultz on close-range chances before the first period ended.
The Belarusians didn’t surrender in the second period. At 6:40, slippery forward Ivan Drozdov drew a penalty when he got to the Danish net on a partial breakaway and was stopped by Kasper Krog.
Belarusian defenceman Dmitri Deryabin drilled Blichfeld into the boards with a dangerous hit and received a five-minute major for boarding and a match penalty at 10:45.
There was a long delay and a hush fell over the spectators as paramedics took the 19-year-old forward off on a stretcher. It was an unfortunate tournament conclusion for the prospect of the San Jose Sharks, who currently have Danish veterans Mikkel Boedker and Jannik Hansen on their roster. Blichfeld gave a thumbs-up as he left.

"We played together at the last World Juniors too," said Rondbjerg. "We knew each other before. He’s a really good player. We had good connections. It’s sad to see him lying down on the ice and carried out. Hopefully it’s not too bad."

Deryabin's punishment nullified a Belarusian power play, but after a 4-on-4 sequence, the Danes couldn't cash in with a 5-on-4 for 1:39.
In the third period, Belarus had a monumental chance to get back in the game with a 5-on-3 for 1:14, as Nielsen went off for boarding and Rasmus Heine for elbowing. They took full advantage with two goals.

Power play quarterback Vladislav Yeryomenko and Sushko played catch before the Belarus captain broke Krog's shutout bid, converting from the side of the net at 8:64.

The tying goal, just 46 seconds later at 5-o-4, was a thing of old Soviet-school beauty, as Sushko fed Viktor Bovbel down low and he centered it to Ilya Litvinov, who made no mistake.

In overtime, Denmark used its timeout when it got a power play, as Yeryomenko was called for tripping up Rondbjerg. However, the Danes failed to capitalize on their chances. Drozdov feinted past the Danish defence for a nice chance with 30 seconds left in overtime, but Krog foiled him.

"When we were in Grand Forks two years ago for the U18, we lost in a shootout," Schmidt-Svejstrup recalled. "We got relegated. That wasn’t a great feeling, letting down the guys who were coming up. But obviously winning is the most fun in the world. It’s great."

After the game, Belarus's three best players of the tournament were honored: Vladislav Yeryomenko, Ivan Drozdov, and Maxim Sushko. For Denmark, it was Jeppe Mogensen, Jonas Rondbjerg, and Joachim Blichfeld.

Asked when Belarus would earn promotion back to the elite division, Sushko unhesitatingly said: "Next year."
Belarus will be replaced by Kazakhstan, which earned promotion by winning the 2018 IIHF Ice Hockey U20 World Championship Division I Group A in France a few weeks ago.
Denmark will make history in May as it hosts the senior IIHF World Championship for the first time (Copenhagen and Herning). Whether any of these U20 players participate in that tournament remains to be seen. After all, there are currently seven Danes in the NHL and five in the KHL, not to mention other top European leagues.

However, coach Olaf Eller’s boys have done what they had to do to keep their country among the world’s elite at this level. "It means everything," Rondbjerg said. "That’s our goal heading into the tournament, to survive. We did that."