Mon Dec 30 03:30pm EST
Three stars from Day 5 of the world junior championship as selected by Buzzing The Net contributors:
No. 1 stars: Marvin Cüpper and Frederik Tiffels, Team Germany
It takes superlative goaltending and offensive opportunism to spring the tournament's first big upset. Germany had each as it turned the tournament on its ear by blanking the Czech Republic 3-0, putting in position to advance to quarter-final if the Czechs lose to Slovakia on Tuesday.
Cüpper was named Germany's best player after recording a 40-save shutout, although Germany was hardly under siege in its own end despite having forwards moonlight on defence. The 19-year-old world junior second-timer made eight saves in the first, then kicked it up a notch with 13 stops in the second, including a big one on Dallas Stars first-rounder Radek Faksa shortly before the Germans widened the lead. He made 19 more in the third to seal the biggest junior hockey win since the country's reunification, before any of the current team was born.
Those who saw Germany take an 8-0 dose of medicine from Team USA one day earlier could hardly believe it.
Tiffels (2G-1A, +3), a Western Michigan University recruit who will play for the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders following the world junior, opened the scoring with a rebound goal 14:25 into the match. In the second, he played possum and pounced on a lazy goalie-to-D pass and centred to the Sudbury Wolves' Dominik Kahun for the 2-0 goal. Fewer than three minutes later, he burst over the blueline, caught goalie Marek Langhamer listing to his right and wired a shot past the keeper's left pad.
Mantha (1G-3A, +2) scored or set up each of Canada's four goals against Slovakia goalie Samuel Baros during a riveting 5-3 uphill win in Group A. The Detroit Red Wings first-rounder wired a pass that Ottawa Senators first-rounder Curtis Lazar one-timed for Canada's first goal. Canada fell behind 3-1 in the second, but Mantha got a rebound goal late in the frame to steady his side. In the third, the Quebec League's leading scorer won a puck battle behind the Slovakia cage and passed out to Jonathan Drouin (1G-1A, +2) for the tying goal. Mantha got his fourth point of the day, and team-high ninth of the tourney, on Nic Petan's game-winner.
No. 3 star: Kevin Fiala, Team Switzerland
Fiala (2A) provided the spark in Switzerland's 3-2 win over a game Team Norway that secured a spot in the quarter-final. The diminutive forward set up a goal that tied the game 1-1 in the second period by throwing a puck into the slot thatToronto Maple Leafs fifth-rounder Fabrice Herzog batted into the net.
San Jose Sharks first-rounder Mirco Mueller gave the Swiss its first lead early in the third before Norway responded to level the score 2-2 with exactly 11 minutes left. Less than three minutes later, though, Fiala made a suberb feed to Anthony Rouiller for the game-winning goal.
Honourable mention: Erlend Lesund, Team Norway
The captain led Norway to the brink of completing an upset trifecta before it was shaded 3-2 by Swizterland to fall into the relegation round. Lesund (1G-1A) put Norway ahead by stealing the puck in the neutral zone and scoring on a high slapshot midway through the first period. Lesund also had an assist on Christoffer Rasch's third-period tying goal.
Neate Sager is a writer for Yahoo! Canada Sports. Follow him on Twitter @neatebuzzthenet. Please address any questions, comments or concerns to firstname.lastname@example.org.