Archive for WJC – Canada

Russia Triumphs Over Canada, Retains Bronze At World Junior Championships


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Bookend goals in the first period of play and a standout performance by a player who is a first round draft pick of a National Hockey League club propelled RUSSIA past CANADA 2-1 in the BRONZE MEDAL MATCH of the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championships watched by the audience of 10,713 spectators at the Malmo Arena in Sweden.

The result marked the second consecutive year in which the Russians edged their traditional rivals from North America for third place honors at the planet’s premier ice hockey tournament for players under 20 years of age.

The scoreline in Malmo also means that the Russia have now defeated Canada at the annual IIHF World Junior Championships for a third year on the trot but continues to trail in the all-time series between the two nations (the Canucks have won ten, lost eight with two draws). However, if one includes the record of the former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, it is the Russians who now hold a slim historical lead with 16 wins against 15 losses with two ties. The particular match-up has been especially close on the scoreboard, as well, over the last two decades with eleven out of the last sixteen contests between Canada and Russia having been settled by exactly one goal.

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Russia center MIKHAIL GRIGORENKO (25) from the NHL’s Buffalo Sabres is congratulated by captain ANTON SLEPYSHEV of Salavat Yulayev Ufa and defenseman PAVEL ZADOROV (16), the first round selection (# 16 overall) of the Buffalo Sabres at the 2012 NHL Draft who is currently skating in the Canadian junior system for the London Knights of the Ontario Hockey League, after scoring the first goal of the game to determine which nation gets to depart Sweden in possession of the set of shiny bronze medals handed out at the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championships in Malmo, Sweden.
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Canada, icing a team in Sweden that included no fewer than eleven players who are coveted first round draft picks of National Hockey League clubs, are clearly disappointed at the dreadful prospect of having to depart Malmo a little lighter in the luggage than they might have hoped. Fact is, this is the first time that the Canadians have failed to earn a medal of any kind at the annual IIHF World Junior Championships since the winter of 1980/81. At that point in time, there was no true junior national team as it was Canada’s custom to simply send the current Memorial Cup holder but, of course, everything changed after the 1981 tournament held in West Germany.

The Canadian Amateur Hockey Association, to review, immediately implemented its so-called “Program of Excellence” in order to attain better results (read, defeat the Soviet Union) at international junior tournaments. And the very first dividends were paid out quickly at the 1982 IIHF World Junior Championships hosted by a variety of cities in the State of Minnesota south of the border. It was there in the United States that a pioneering Canada absolutely crushed the U.S.S.R. 7-0 in the round robin (a result that must live on for eternity as the most crushing loss that the Soviet U-20s ever suffered at the planet’s most high profile competition for teenagers) on its way to winning its very first gold medal in the annual competition that was officially recognized by the International Ice Hockey Federation first in 1977.

How the Canadians chooose to cope with this latest medal crisis at the World Junior Championships remains to be seen.

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Russia goaltender ANDREI VASILEVSKI (30) from Kontinental Hockey League club Salavat Yulayev Ufa, the 19-year-old native of Tyumen who was the first round pick (# 19 overall) of the Tampa Bay Lightning at the 2012 National Hockey League Draft, makes a pad save to deny Canada forward ANTHONY MANTHA (28) from the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League’s Val-d’Or Foreurs, the first round choice (# 20 overall) of the Detroit Red Wings at the 2013 NHL Draft this past summer, during the Bronze Medal Match of the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championships at the Malmo Arena in Scandinavia.
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January 5, 2014
2014 IIHF World Junior Championships – Bronze Medal Match
Malmo Arena – Attendance : 10,713

RUSSIA 2 – CANADA 1

03:35 … RUS – Grigorenko (unassisted) – ppg
14:38 … RUS – Gimatov (Mironov)
47:10 … CAN – Morrissey (Hudon, Pelech)

shots-on-goal : RUS 32 (14 + 8 + 10) – CAN 31 (13 + 7 + 11)

penalty minutes : RUS 10 – CAN 10

referees : Bjork (Swe) and Mayer (USA)

CANADA : Fucale – Ekblad, Pouliot ; G. Reinhart, Dumba ; Pelech, Morrissey ; Bigras – Hudon, Drouin, Mantha ; Laughton, Horvat, S. Reinhart ; Lazar, Petan, McDavid ; Rychel, Gauthier, Anderson ; Leier

RUSSIA : Vasilevski – Mironov, Zadorov ; Lyubushkin, Tryamkin ; Bereglazov, Maslov ; Vasiliev – Slepyshev, Grigorenko, Buchnevich ; Zhafyanov, Osnovin, Barabanov ; Barbashev, Yakimov, Khlopotov ; Zykov, Buratov, Gimatov ; Skladnichenko

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Decided Underdog Finland Defeats Canada In WJC Semi-Final


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A lucky bounced that directly led to the first of three second period as well as very reliable goaltending throughout the entire contest formed the foundation of success for the country that had already lost twice in round robing portion of the tournament as decided underdog FINLAND skated right past shell-shocked CANADA 5-1 at the semi-final hurdle of the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championships in Malmo, Sweden.

The startling upset watched by 11,544 spectators marked the first time that the Finns had been able to defeat the always strong Canadians at that annual competition for the planet’s premier players under 20 years of age since the winter of 2001/02. As events unfolded on that occasion, Finland knocked off Canada 4-1 at the Zimni Stadion in the Czech city of Hradec Kralove on the final day of the preliminary round robin. This latest triumph over the Canucks by head coach KARRI KIVI’s squad at the Malmo Arena in Scandinavia, however, paves the way for Finland’s first appearance in the Gold Medal Game since the 2001 IIHF World Junior Championships that were held in Russia.

Finland goaltender JUSSE SAROS, the unflappable 18-year-old from domestic league club HPK Hameenlinna who was plucked by the Nashville Predators in the fourth round (# 99 overall) of the 2013 NHL Draft this past summer, was very strong in the nets and kept out all but one of the twenty-four Canadian attempts on target.

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A little more than four minutes into the second period, Finland left wing JONI NIKKO (11), the undrafted 19-year-old who currently skates for Lukko Rauma in the domestic elite league, picked up a loose puck in the slot after the little black disc had caromed rather oddly off a rut in the ice along the boards behind the net and successfully converted his chance with an accurate shot that flew over the right shoulder of Canada goaltender ZACH FUCALE, the second round choice (# 36 overall) of the storied Montreal Canadiens at the 2013 National Hockey League Draft.
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Finland left wing ARTTURI LEHKONEN (28) of Kalpa Kuopio, yet another second round selection (# 55 overall) of the famed Montreal Canadiens at the 2013 NHL Draft, makes an excellent play to control a rebound at close range and quickly shift to the backhand in order to effectively beat the Canadian goaltender Fucale and score his third goal at this 2014 IIHF World Junior Championships while doubling the lead for Suomi barely six minutes into the pivotal second period at the Malmo Arena in Sweden.
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Finland defenseman RASMUS RISTOLAINEN (5) of the American Hockey League’s Rochester Americans, the 19-year-old native of Hameenlinna who has already skated in 19 National Hockey League games for the Buffalo Sabres this season but was sent down to the minors in mid-November, whips his wrist shot over the shoulder of Canada goaltender ZACH FUCALE from defending Memorial Cup champion Halifax Mooseheads of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League to score his second goal of the tournament in Malmo …… Ironically enough, only moments before Ristolainen netted his critical tally to give the Finns a 3-1 advantage with just over four minutes left in the second period, Fucale had pulled off what might have been the best save of the entire tournament when, very much like a shortstop in baseball, the Canadian completely stretched out and dove across the face of goal to deny a Finnish shooter with his catching glove at point blank range.
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Finland center TEUVO TERAVAINEN (20) of Jokerit Helsinki, the creative and talented 19-year-old who was the first round choice (# 18 overall) of the Chicago Black Hawks at the 2012 NHL Draft, successfully converts a late third period penalty shot by skillfully lifting his backhander over the catching glove of Canada goaltender ZACH FUCAL. Exactly 23 seconds thereafter, the influential Teravainen sealed the deal for the Finns by scoring his second goal of this semi-final match at the Malmo Arena into an unguarded Canadian goal. Twelve points from the Finland’s first six games meant that Teravainen shared tournament scoring leadership with Sweden’s Filip Forsberg heading into the very last contest of this 2014 IIHF World Junior Championships.
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January 4, 2014
2014 IIHF World Junior Championships – Semifinal
Malmo Arena – Attendance : 11,544

FINLAND 5 – CANADA 1

24:19 … FIN – Nikko (Honka)
26:10 … FIN – Lehkonen (Maenalanen, Teravainen) – ppg
31:24 … CAN – Drouin (Lazar)
35:56 … FIN – Ristolainen (Vainonen, Haapala)
58:48 … FIN – Teravainen (penalty shot)
59:11 … FIN – Teravainen (Pokka)

shots-on-goal : CAN 24 ( 7 + 7 + 10 ) – FIN 23 ( 7 + 12 + 4 )

penalty minutes : CAN 10 (plus two 10-minute misconducts) – FIN 10

referees : Wiegand (Switzerland) and Mayer (United States)

FINLAND : Saros – Lindell, Pokka ; Lehtonen, Ristolainen ; Honka, Vainonen ; Vainio – Lehkonen, Teravainen, Meanalanen ; Nikko, Mustonen, Haapala ; Kumala, Kinnunen, J. Ikonen ; H. Ikonen, Rauhala, Leskinen ; Nattinen

CANADA : Fucale – Ekblad, Pouliot ; G. Reinhart, Dumba ; Pelech, Morrissey ; Bigras – Hudon, Drouin, Mantha ; Laughton, Horvat, S. Reinhart ; Petan, Lazar, McDavid ; Rychel, Gauthier, Anderson ; Leier

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Fucale, Canada Hold Off United States To Close Out WJC Round Robin


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Two rapid-fire goals early in the third period and standout netminding from an unflappable eighteen-year-old enabled the country that found the game of ice hockey, itself, to fend off its ever-improving southern neighbor as CANADA edged the defending champion UNITED STATES 3-2 in the last Group A round robin contest at the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championships in Sweden.

The Americans had much better of the play in the first period with more than twice as many attempts on target (13-6) as their counterparts. But Canadian netminder ZACH FUCALE from the mighty Halifax Mooseheads, the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League team who are the current holders of the venerable Memorial Cup as the champions of the entire Canadian junior system, was excellent in the first twenty minutes and prepared to have his best outing of the this tournament. The United States were also unlucky when Boston University defenseman MATT GRZELCYK, the third round pick (# 85 overall) of the Boston Bruins at the 2012 National Hockey League Draft, whacked a bouncing puck not only over the net, but the plexiglass, as well, on a great rebound chance with the net largely exposed.

The Americans did grab the lead while skating shorthanded early in the second period. Captain RILEY BARBER, the right wing from the University of Miami (Ohio) who now leads the United States with four goals in this competition, got a hold of a loose puck behind the net and stepped out in front to his right to quickly stuff the little black disc into the Canuck cage before the netminder Fucale could effectively react. Canada, who lost 5-1 to the United States in the semifinals of last year’s IIHF World Junior Championships in the Russian city of Ufa, were clearly stung by this development.

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Captain RILEY BARBER (right), the sixth round choice (# 167 overall) of the Washington Capitals at the 2012 National Hockey League Draft who has scored 11 goals in 18 NCAA games for the University of Miami (Ohio) this season, is one of three players on University of Minnesota head coach Don Lucia’s United States squad who won a gold medal skating with the American team at the annual IIHF World Junior Championships twelve months ago.
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The Canadians noticeably raised their intensity level in all areas of the rink after falling behind to their rivals to the south and began to apply some serious offensive pressure of its own. Highly touted right wing JONATHAN DROUN of the QMJHL’s Halifax Mooseheads, the Tampa Bay Lightning prospect who was the third overall player at the 2013 NHL Draft this past summer, smacked a shot off the iron nearing the midway point of the eighth Canada vs United States clash on New Year’s Eve day in the history of the IIHF World Junior Championships. And then center BO HORVAT of the Ontario Hockey League’s London Knights, the Vancouver Canucks prospect who was the ninth overall player taken at the 2013 NHL Draft, rang his wrist shot off the post exactly two seconds after the halfway mark of the second period passed.

The Americans’ luck would not hold up for long, however, and the Canucks were soon level when ANTHONY MANTHA of the QMJHL’s Val d’Or Foreurs, 19-year-old center who was nabbed in the first round (# 20 overall) of the Detroit Red Wings at the 2013 NHL Draft, distributed an excellent pass to NIC PETAN, the 18-year-old center from the Portland Winter Hawks of the Western Hockey League who chosen in the second round (# 43 overall) of the 2013 NHL Draft by the Winnipeg Jets, skating in on the left.

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The United States had a tremendous opportunity with the power play when Canada took a late second period penalty but would not get anything accomplished. However, it was the 15-times gold medalist at the annual IIHF World Junior Championships who continued to attack and changed the complexion of the game for good almost four minutes into the final frame. This when CONNOR MCDAVID, the first 16-year-old to appear for Canada at the planet’s premier tournament for players under 20 years of age since contemporary NHL superstar SIDNEY CROSBY of the Pittsburgh Penguins turned out at the 2004 IIHF World Junior Championships in Finland, picked a sensational moment to score his first goal at this 2014 IIHF World Junior Championships in Sweden.

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Canada right wing CONNOR MCDAVID from the Erie Otters of the Ontario Hockey League is not eligible for the annual National Hockey League Draft until the calendar year of 2015.
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The Canadians exerted their authority on this affair even further by scoring a third goal on the power play exactly two minutes and nineteen seconds later. Drouin, who had been unfortunate with the pipe in the second period, showed his class by faking a shot and then walking around the sliding United States defenseman CONNOR CARRICK, the full-fledged professional who currently skates for the Hershey Bears in the American Hockey League. An excellent feed left CURTIS LAZAR of the WHL’s Edmonton Oil Kings, the 18-year-old who was the first round selection (# 17 overall) of the Ottawa Senators at the 2013 NHL Draft, little to do in front in order to extend Canada’s lead to 3-1.

The Americans made every effort to haul themselves back into the contest but, for the most part, had little luck with Canadian custodian. United States center JACK EICHEL, the talented 17-year-old from Chelmsford, Massachusetts, thought he had successfully negotiated the five-hole but the in-form Fucale was able to squeeze his pads and get his catching mitt down behind himself just in time. The Montreal Canadiens prospect made what was, perhaps, his best save of the game when the American rearguard Carrick, the 19-year-old who has already made three appearances and scored one goal in the vaunted National Hockey League for the Washington Capitals this season, had a clean breakaway with about five and a half minutes remaining.

For a brief moment it seemed as if Carrick might score but Fucale stuck out his last pad at the very last second to brilliantly thwart the commendable attempt.

The Canadian netminder did gift the United States a goal by failing to stop a simple wrist shot from STEFAN MATTEAU, the 19-year-old left wing who was taken in the first round (#29 overall) of the 2012 NHL Draft by the New Jersey Devils and now skates professionally for the AHL farm club in Albany. Fucale would not permit the Americans to come any closer, however, and earned Canada a quarterfinal match with Switzerland in the process. The disappointed United States, meanwhile, must open the knock-out round against Russia.

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Canada goaltender ZACH FUCALE of the Memorial Cup champion Halifax Mooseheads, the second round choice (# 36 overall) of the famed Montreal Canadiens at the 2013 National Hockey League Draft, stops United States defenseman CONNOR CARRICK (28), the fifth round selection (# 137 overall) of the Washington Capitals at the 2012 NHL Draft, on the breakaway late in the third period of the last Group A round robin contest at the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championships in Malmo, Sweden.
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December 31, 2013
2014 IIHF World Junior Championships – Group A
Malmo Isstadion – Attendance : 3,882

CANADA 3 – UNITED STATES 2

23:29 … USA – Barber (Slavin, Kerdiles) – shg
32:19 … CAN – Petan (Mantha)
43:54 … CAN – McDavid (Horvat, Morrissey)
46:13 … CAN – Lazar (Drouin, Pouliot) – ppg
57:15 … USA – Matteau (Fasching, Butcher)

shots-on-goal : USA 26 (13 + 6 + 7) – CAN 24 (6 + 11 + 7)

penalty minutes : USA 10 – CAN 6

referees : Bjork (Sweden) and Stricker (Switzerland)

UNITED STATES : Gillies – Skjei, Carrick ; Butcher, Santini ; McCoshen, Grzelcyk ; Slavin – Kerdiles, O’Regan, Barber ; Erne, Eichel, Hartman ; Matteau, Copp, Fasching ; Hinostroza, Shore, Di Pauli ; Stepan

CANADA : Fucale – Ekblad, Pouliot ; G. Reinhart, Dumba ; Pelech, Morrissey ; Bigras – Hudon, Drouin, Mantha ; Lazar, Petan, S. Reinhart ; Laughton, Horvat, McDavid ; Rychel, Gauthier, Anderson ; Leier

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