Czech Republic 3 - Slovakia 1
Despite being outshot badly, the Czech Republic managed to hang on to a 3-1 lead. Jaromir Jagr and Tomas Plekanec scored goals late in the 2nd period to break the game open. Slovakia was on the receiving end of a few questionable calls that helped keep them at bay, and some additional bad luck when the game's first goal bounced in off of Patrick Elias' caboose.
The Czechs did not give up many great chances in the third period, despite being heavily outshot. The Slovaks meanwhile may have deserved a better fate, but did not show the determination necessary to go to the hard areas and demonstrate the desperation required.
Slovakia's tournament takes a quick turnaround as they lock horns with Russia on Thursday night. The Czechs meanwhile will take on Latvia.
Finland 5 - Belarus 1
Finland looked confident and well in control of this matchup. Olli Jokinen scored on the powerplay, and team leaders Saku Koivu and Teemu Selanne provided what is expected of them: Leadership and Offense.
Finland was definitely the better team in this one, and will be fighting with Sweden to win their division and advance to the quarterfinals without having to take part in the qualification matches to make the final 8. In order to avoid relegation, Finland will have to win their division ahead of Sweden (along with Germany and Belarus), or be in second place but better than likely the USA, and Slovaks/Czechs.
Finland outshot the Belarussians horribly, 45-12.
Finland's next game is Friday night against Germany.
Sweden 2 - Germany 0
Sweden squeaked past Germany with a 2-0 win Wednesday evening. They only managed to outshoot the Germans 25-22, and despite obviously never trailing in the game, it did appear to be closer than the Swedes would have hoped.
Most of the bottom 4-6 teams in the tournament appear to be playing defensive hockey, hoping to keep the score as close as possible for as long as possible. In this game, the Swedes seemed uninspired at times. The opening goal by Mattias Ohlund was controversial as Daniel Sedin appeared to interfere slightly with Germany's goaltender, Greiss.
The Swedes will take the win and move on - and their performance Wednesday night may not be an indicator of future performances, but with goal differential entering the equation to settle ties in the standings (and therefore determining who advances to the quarterfinals), and marginal victory against a weaker team will impact their ability to win a tie-breaker against other strong teams they may be tied with at the end of the round robin.
Sweden plays Belarus on Friday morning while Germany takes on Finland Friday evening. How many Tommy Salo jokes will there be between now and Friday?