Day 5 at the WJCbrought us much better hockey than the scoreboard showed.
The Three teams considered to be powerhouses in the WJC, Team USA (7-0), Canada (10-0), and Russia (5-1) each had more of a challenge than what showed on the final score sheet. Team USA was scoreless after one. Canada went into the break, up 1-0 and while Russia went into the first intermission up 4-0, Team Austria held their own until a penalty shot was awarded to the Bears (my nickname for team Russia).
Game One: USA 7 (2-0-0-1) vs Czech Republic 0 (1-0-0-2)
I thought this would be a test for the Eagles (my nickname for the Americans), and for the first period and a half, I was right. The Czechs kept it tight around their netminder and did not allow and decent shooting lanes. They use the same strategy that guided them to an upset of Team Russia. The Czechs outshot the boys in blue 10-8 in the first with each team taking one penalty.
Both teams played as if this was the most important game played yet in the WJC. Five minutes and 33 seconds after play resumed, Bobby Brink found a loose puck in front of the net and hammered home what would be the game-winner. Brink and Tervor Zegras both had two goals in the game. Zegras also added three assists for five points.
In goal “the day belonged to Knight.” Spenser Knight coming off a less than stellar performance against Russia bounced back with the second shutout for Team USA. Knight faced 22 shots and was on point the entire game.
Also lighting the lamp for the Eagles were Arthur Kaliyev, Cole Caufield, and Matthew Boldy. Cam York had 3 assists for a good day.
The USA will play Team Sweden on New Year’s Eve.
Game Two: Canada 10 (3-0-0-0) vs Switzerland 0 (0-0-0-3)
No way is the score indicative of how close this game was especially in the first period. The Swiss played a tough physical game. Canada was able to put the first one in the net only a minute and 30 into the contest. Philip Tomasino put in in the back of the net with help from Quinton Byfield and Jack Quinn.
At the 8:18 mark, Joel Salzgeber of Switzerland was given a 10 min misconduct for boarding. Yet the Swiss held serve and did not allow another goal in the period. Shots in the first 14-3 Canada, were as lopsided as in the game 52-15.
The Canuck-er (again used as a term of endearment) opened the Second the same way they open the game scoring with just 1:40 lapsed. Dylan Cozens made it 2-0. Less than 7 minutes later the rout was on when at 8:02 Jakob Pelletier got his first of two goals and three points.
Not to be outdone Byfield finished the day with back-to-back goals 2 minutes and 44 ticks apart to go with 4 assists and 6 points. Also hitting the twine for Canada, Conner McMichael, Cole Perfetti, Kaiden Guhle, and Ryan Suzuki.
Up next for Canada is team Finland on New Year’s Eve perhaps for first place in the group.
Game 3: Austria 1 (0-0-0-3) vs Russia 7 (2-0-0-1)
This was supposed to be the worst of the three games to watch but no one told Austria that. The Austrians, who had taken only 15 shots in the first two-game were able to get 15 shots off when the horn sounded at the end of the second.
It was clear the Austrian took a lesson from the Czechs. They tried to bottle up the middle and get passes thru the neutral zone. A hooking call on a breakaway led to an injured player and a penalty shot.
Four minutes and four seconds in Jacob Pfeffer hooked Yegor Chinakhov. Chinakhov went sliding awkward into the boards and could not return. Rodin Amirov was successful after a nifty deke. Russia got 3 more goals in the first including two by the captain Vasili Podkolzin just over seven minutes apart.
The story of the tilt was the second. The Austrians were able to keep the Bears off the score sheet allowing only 13 shots, Russia took 50 in the game while taking 6. Senna Peeters shot lit the lamp for the first time in the WJC for Austria and they won the period 1-0.
While the game is 60 min, wining any 20 is a huge victory for Austria. Able to take a healthy 18 shots in the game the Austrians showed they can play and were here to do just that in this WJC.
Russia was limited to three goals in the third by Artemi Knyazev, Yegor Afanasiev, and Arseni Gritsyuk.
Team Russia will put Sweden’s 54-game round-robin winning streak to the test on the 30th.
In all, it was a great day of Hockey. with more to come.
Day six matchups at the WJC are as follows:
Finland (2-0-0-0) vs Slovakia (1-0-1-1) 12 PM EST
Switzerland (0-0-0-3) vs Germany (0-1-0-2) 6 PM EST
And the Main event,
Russia (2-0-0-1) vs Sweden (2-0-0-0) 9:30 PM EST
Till next time Hockey FANS.
Don’t forget to drop me a comment or three.
Remember by a fan, for the fans, and most definitely About YOU the FAN.
Guy “Hawaii Blues Fan” Bensing