World juniors: Slovakia stuns U.S. with highlight-reel winner

Samuel Bucek scored an unassisted goal with 2:08 remaining in the third period to give Slovakia a 3-2 victory over the United States at the world junior hockey championship on Thursday.

Samuel Bucek snaps defending champs' 9-game tournament undefeated streak

U.S. goalie Joseph Woll makes a save on Milos Roman (26) during Slovakia's 3-2 upset win at the world juniors on Thursday. (Mark Blinch/Canadian Press )

The Slovakian skaters swarmed goaltender Roman Durny to celebrate on the ice after upsetting the United States at the world junior hockey championship on Thursday.

"It's like winning a medal," forward Marian Studenic said. "It's a big win for us. We're a small state and this is an honourable feeling."

United States falls to Slovakia at world juniors

5 years ago
Duration 1:15
Samuel Bucek lifts Slovakia to 3-2 win over U.S.

Samuel Bucek scored an unassisted goal with 2:08 remaining in the third period to give Slovakia a 3-2 victory over the defending gold medallist Americans.

"We never really thought we could beat a USA," Bucek said. "But we've done that because we've been playing really with patience and we stick with the process and we did the right things on the ice."

Filip Krivoski scored the other two goals for Slovakia, and Durny made 43 saves in his world junior debut.

"Our goalie was outstanding," Bucek said. "That was probably the main reason why we won tonight."

Casey Mittlestadt and Brady Tkachuk had goals for the U.S., which had won nine straight world junior games entering the night. The U.S. began its streak with the 2016 bronze medal game and went undefeated in winning the gold medal last year in Toronto. The previous American record was eight consecutive victories from 2004-05.

'You can't take anyone for granted'

"You've got to realize the stage and realize that you're playing the world juniors," Mittlestadt said. "You can't take anyone for granted."

The U.S. faces Canada in an outdoor game at the Buffalo Bills' New Era Field on Friday afternoon.

In other preliminary-round games, Sweden beat the Czech Republic 3-1, Russia pulled away in the third period for a 5-2 victory over Switzerland and Finland defeated Denmark 4-1.

Slovakia is 4-13-1 all-time against the U.S. in the world junior championship and had lost six straight preliminary-round meetings since last defeating the U.S. in a 2009 quarterfinal.

Bucek made an outstanding individual effort to score the winning goal, manoeuvring around three defenders and circling behind the net before scoring on the rebound of a wraparound shot after Joseph Woll made the initial save.

Mittelstadt tied the game for U.S. with 3:11 left in the third period.

Following a 9-0 rout of Denmark on Tuesday, the U.S. got off to a sluggish start in a game it never led.

"The main thing we've got to work on is we've got to have a better start," Mittlestadt said.

Krivosik gave Slovakia a 1-0 lead five minutes into the second period. He put Slovakia ahead 2-1 on a backhand with 4:45 left in the third period.

Ryan Poehling set up Tkachuk for the tying goal on a 2-on-1 midway through the second period. Woll stopped 22 shots.

Sweden improves to 2-0

Earlier, Alex Nylander had a goal and an assist and defenceman Rasmus Dahlin, the expected top pick in next year's NHL draft, had two assists to lead Sweden.

Marcus Davidsson and Elias Pettersson also scored goals as Sweden improved to 2-0 in preliminary play. Filip Gustavsson made 24 saves.

Sweden remains perfect at world juniors with win over Czech Republic

5 years ago
Duration 1:03
Sweden earns 2nd straight victory, beat the Czechs 3-1.

Filip Zadina scored the Czech Republic goal to make it 2-1 late in the second period. Jakub Skarek stopped 34 shots.

Artur Kayumov and Georgi Ivanov scored third-period goals to lead Russia over Switzerland. Kim Kostin and Vladislav Syomin each had a goal and an assist, Andrei Svechnikov had two assists and Vitali Abramov scored an empty-netter for the Russians, who are 1-1 in preliminary play.

Russians use strong 3rd period to beat Switzerland at World Juniors

5 years ago
Duration 1:19
Russia scored three unanswered goals in the third period to beat Switzerland 5-2 at the World Junior Championship in Buffalo.

Marco Miranda and Ken Jager scored for Switzerland. Philip Wuthrich made 32 saves. Jager's goal tied the game at 2-2 early in the third period before Kaymov scored the go-ahead goal with 8:58 remaining.

Juuso Valimaki and Henri Jokiharju both had a goal and assist for Finland in its win over Denmark.

Finland scored two goals in game's first seven minutes to cruise to a 4-1 victory over Denmark at the world junior hockey championships on Thursday. (Matt Zambonin/HHOF-IIHF Images)

Joona Koppanen and Aapeli Rasanen scored the other goals to give Finland a 2-0 lead in the first seven minutes. Miro Heiskanen had two assists and Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen needed to make just six saves. Finland improved to 1-1 in group play.

Kasper Krog stopped 58 shots for Denmark. Nikolaj Krag scored Denmark's first of the tournament following a 9-0 loss to the United States in the opener. Krag scored on a power play to make it 2-1 early in the second period. Finland pulled away when Valimaki and Jokihariu scored two minutes apart late in the period.