Thursday, December 26, 2013

Norway vs Russia December 26 2013

Russia stormed out to a 5-0 lead after 15 minutes and coasted to a 11-0 win over Norway in the first game for both teams at the 2014 U20 World Championship.

The second line of Vyacheslav Osnovin-Alexander Barabanov-Damir Zhafyarov accounted for three of those goals.

As well, goalie Andrei Vasilevski tied two all-time U20 records in this opening game. Merely by playing in it he tied 14 goalies for most career U20 tournaments with three. And, his shutout put him in more exclusive company. Only Slovakia’s Jaroslav Halak has as many career shutouts as Vasilevki (four).

"We just tried to play the game as if the score was close the whole time or as if we were playing Canada or Sweden," said Mikhail Grigorenko, who finished with a goal and two assists. The 12th overall draft choice in 2012 had played only sparingly with the Buffalo Sabres and was loaned to the Russian team for the tournament.

"I wasn't playing much there, and it's always an honour to play for your country," he added.

Osnovin opened the scoring at 5:03 when he took a quick feed from Barabanov behind the net. Just 83 seconds later defenceman Nikita Zadorov ripped a wrist shot past goalie Henrik Haukeland, and eleven seconds after that Zhafyarov converted a two-on-one with Osnovin. Zhafyarov also finished with a goal and three points.

The Russian defence combined for three goals and five assists in the game.

Two goals later in the period put the game well out of reach, but credit goes to the impressive Malmo crowd which showed its appreciation by giving the Norwegians a nice round of applause any time they came up with a decent shift or chance on goal (which, unfortunately, wasn’t that often).

The Russians added another fiver in the middle period on a variety of plays. There was Vadim Khlopotov’s shot from the slot off a nice pass from Bogdan Yakimov, Anton Slepyshev’s superb one-timer on the power play, and Zadorov’s clear shot after skating into a scoring position.

Slepyshev added his second of the game for the only goal of the final period.

Recap for Germany vs Canada December 26, 2013

Canada started its road to redemption on a positive note, beating Germany 7-2 in the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship opener at Malmö Isstadion on Thursday.

After finishing fourth at the 2013 tournament, despite a stacked lineup due to the NHL lockout, the always-favoured Canadians are under pressure to win this year. Their last gold medal came on home ice in 2009 in Ottawa. Prior to 2013, the last time they failed to medal was in 1998, when they came eighth.

Anthony Mantha led the way with three goals for Canada, while Sam Reinhart added a goal and an assist. Josh Anderson, Bo Horvat and Nic Petan had singles, and Jonathan Drouin recorded three assists. Derrick Pouliot and Connor McDavid had two helpers apiece.

Dorian Saeftel and Janik Moser scored for Germany. The Germans are hoping to avoid relegation. They finished ninth last year, and the last time they bettered that result was 1996 (eighth).

Jake Paterson, who was Canada’s third-string goalie and did not play in 2013, recorded his first career World Junior victory. Germany’s Marvin Cüpper, returning between the pipes for the second straight year, took the loss.

As expected, it was a robustly played affair with the workmanlike Germans, whose skill level couldn’t match Canada’s. There is still room for coach Brent Sutter's squad to improve.

There were thunderous pre-game chants of “Go Canada Go!” from the hundreds of red-clad Canadian fans in attendance. But they were temporarily silenced when Germany drew first blood at 1:34. After a faceoff win in the Canadian end, Saeftel’s shot along the ice fooled Paterson.

At 6:21, the Canadians made it 1-1 after a spectacular Matt Dumba rush. Dumba’s backhand attempt glanced off Cüpper’s pads and Anderson was there to put the rebound high past the goalie.

During the game’s opening power play for Canada, Dumba’s aggressive rushing nearly set up the 16-year-old phenom McDavid on another close-in chance. Dumba, who has played 13 games for the NHL’s Minnesota Wild this season, often appeared to have a step on his competition.

At 10:41, Canada made it 2-0 on its second man advantage, with Mantha whipping home a rebound past the prone German netminder.

Captain Leon Draisaitl got behind the Canadian defence a couple of minutes later but couldn’t outwit Paterson in close.

Canada looked defensively suspect at times, enabling the Germans to get the equalizer at 15:59. A completely unguarded Moser took a cross-ice pass from Dominik Kahun and put it into the open net on Paterson’s stick side.

Mantha restored Canada’s one-goal lead with 2:24 left in the opening frame, cutting around the net and scoring on a backhanded wraparound.

The Germans abandoned Cüpper to the wolves on the fourth Canadian goal. The German goalie made multiple stops before Sam Reinhart sent a neat pass through the crease to Horvat, who lifted the puck home to make it 4-2 at 18:29.

Canada picked up its physical game in the second period, with Curtis Lazar running over German defenceman Jonas Noske.

The gap on the scoreboard increased as well. Sam Reinhart broke in alone on Cüpper and got three cracks at it before shoving the puck over the goal line at 6:45 for a 5-2 lead. McDavid recorded his first World Junior point with the second assist.

A sweet power play feed from Drouin gave Mantha his hat trick goal. He whacked it home at Cüpper’s left post with 8:32 remaining in the middle frame. (No hats, however, were thrown on the ice.)

Just past the halfway mark of the third period, Petan put home a loose puck to make it 7-2 after McDavid nearly scored after coming around the net. McDavid is the first 16-year-old to represent Canada at this tournament since Sidney Crosby (2004).

In 2013, the Canadians opened similarly with a 9-3 romp over Germany. The last time Canada didn’t win its first game was at the 1999 tournament in Manitoba, a 0-0 tie with Slovakia.

Germany’s next game is against Slovakia on Friday, while Canada faces the Czech Republic on Saturday.