BUFFALO, NY — On New Year’s Eve, four very talented international teams faced off at KeyBank Center with positioning for the beginning of the World Junior Championship quarterfinals at stake. Our Rocket Sports Media team was on hand for both the USA v Finland and Russia v Sweden games.
The Americans seemed to follow the same path of recent games where they took an early lead and seemed to have the game in hand, when suddenly the Fins surged and capitalized on some high-quality chances to score two quick goals and even the score. It was a scene that had played out in prior tournament games for the USA, but this time they didn’t allow things to come apart at the seams. With just about one minute left in regulation, Adam Fox combined with Casey Mittelstadt and Brady Tkachuk to give the host team a regulation win.
The Russia v Sweden game was exactly the kind of hockey that the World Juniors are noted for: fast, exciting, and full of skill. The game was tight throughout all 60 minutes, with each team taking turns scoring goals on the other. The ice was open as players created lanes, accelerated through the neutral zone, and drove the net hard. The Russians got a go-ahead goal with just over five minutes remaining, but the Swedes kept pressure and potted an equalizer just minutes later. After a nail-biting overtime period, Sweden went on to win in a five-round shootout.
Listen below to full audio from our post-game interviews with Joni Ikonen (FIN), Ryan Poehling (USA), Quinn Hughes (USA), Ryan Lindgren (USA), Rasmus Dahlin (SWE), and German Rubtsov (RUS).
Post-game interview with Joni Ikonen:
Post-game interview with Ryan Poehling:
Post-game interview with Quinn Hughes:
Post-game interview with Ryan Lindgren:
Post-game interview with Rasmus Dahlin:
Post-game interview with German Rubtsov: