The end to the 2017 World Juniors is coming closer and closer, however, Tuesday, January 3rd only had one games and it wasn’t one of the semi-final matchups mentioned in the Day Seven article. That article can be read HERE.
You might be guessing what teams did play today, if the semi-final games weren’t. It happens to be game number two for the relegation series between Latvia and Finland inside the Bell Centre. If Finland left the home of the Canadiens, they would win the series by a 2-0 sweep. Did they win? Or did Latvia force a game 3?
Well, it was close after the first period of action. Eeli Tolvanen scored a powerplay marker on Mareks Mitens of Latvia. With roughly four minutes left in the frame, Latvia’s Renars Krastenbergs tied the contest up at one with a five-on-five goal.
No goals were scored for either team in the second period, but there were eight penalties in total, split in half between both teams.
The goals made a return in the final twenty minutes, all of them coming from the 2016 World Junior champions. Vili Saarijarvi and two goals from Juuso Valimaki ended the game and won Finland not only the game, but the best-of-three series.
You may be wondering what now happens to Finland that they have won the relegation series. Now Finland has avoided relegation, meaning they will return to the World Junior Championships next season. This is the worst World Juniors finish for the European country since 1955.
Latvia on the other hand, will be demoted to Division I Group A in the 2018 World Junior Championships. A new country will take their place as they have been dropped from the 10-team tournament. This aspect allows new countries to get a chance without lengthening the tournament.