Devils to Air Special Draft Preview on Official Site

One of the perks for the tri-state area teams of the NHL Network airing out of Secaucus, New Jersey is about to be on display this coming Monday at noon.

NewJerseyDevils.com will be airing a special Draft preview show from the NHL Network studios. The show will air at 12 noon EST on YouTube, Facebook Premiere, IGTV and Twitter (“via the club’s official social media accounts” as per the article put out by the Devils). The press release also said that the show will be available on the Devils’ official website at noon as well.

The four-part show will be hosted by NewJerseyDevils.com’s Chris Wescott and Amanda Stein and will also feature former Devils goalie and current NHL Network analyst Kevin Weekes. The three will talk about the Draft as it specifically relates to the Devils, as this is a Devils-exclusive show.

According to the press release the team put out, the hosts will discuss Kaapo Kakko, Jack Hughes and the Devils’ nine other selections in the 2019 Draft. There will be interviews with “draft analysts, as well as Devils Executive Vice President, General Manager/Alternate Governor Ray Shero.”

The press release also promises “behind-the-scenes content from the Draft Lottery, Scouting Meetings, and the Combine” during the breaks.

One interesting note is that the press release mentions “a special announcement teasing an exciting piece of coverage coming soon” at the end of the show.

This last part intrigues me. As much as I love the special Devils-specific Draft coverage that we are getting, you can only rehash what has been said so many times. What could the new content be? Could it possibly be something on the Devils’ site similar to what MSG does for the Rangers, a weekly coach’s show like the former AV Squad? Could it be something giving us more access to the players and management? Or could it be something altogether different? The Devils have been great at creating content for the fans where traditional media has failed us. We will definitely find out what this is on Monday when the special airs.

That part aside, I am certainly looking forward to this. Getting more and more insight into just who the Devils may pick and how it will benefit the team overall is always great. This special should not disappoint.

Devils Sign Boqvist to ELC

The Devils’ Public Relations department today put out a press release on the official website saying that the Devils and Jesper Boqvist have agreed to terms on an entry level contract (ELC). The contract is for three years.

Boqvist is a 20-year-old forward who played the last two years from 2017-18 to 2018-19 with Brynas IF of the Swedish Hockey League. Last season, his first full professional season in the SHL, he had a career high 13 goals, 22 assists for 35 total points. He also recorded 14 penalty minutes over his 51 games. He was in the top 20 in goals, top 16 in assists in the SHL and ended up “tied for second in points by players under the age of 21” all according to the press release put out by the Devils.

In total, he played in 98 SHL games, recording “16 goals and 39 assists for 55 points and 20 penalty minutes with a +13 rating. He added one goal and one assist for two points in 20 SHL playoff games” according to the presser.

The press release goes on to say that Boqvist is a 6-foot, 180-pound “native of Falun, Sweden” and won a silver medal at the 2016 Under-18 World Junior Championship in Grand Forks, North Dakota. There, he played with Jesper Bratt on Team Sweden. The release said that he had two goals and an assist for three points in the seven games Sweden played there.

At the 2018 Under-20 World Junior Championship, he again won the silver with Sweden. In that tournament, he played with Fabian Zetterlund, who the press release notes is a recently-signed Devils’ prospect. In this tournament, he had a goal and a plus-3 rating in six games.

The press release noted that Adam Boqvist, Jesper’s younger brother, was taken by the Blackhawks in the first round (eighth overall) in last year’s Draft. Jesper was the Devils’ second round pick (36th overall) in 2017.

Boqvist also did a Q&A with Amanda Stein on the Devils’ website as well. In that interview, Boqvist told Stein that he is excited about signing with the Devils as it is “one step closer” to being in the NHL and that is “fun for [him] to think about.”

He also told Stein that the NHL was always his “ultimate goal” but that it was fun playing with Brynas IF in the SHL because that was his “favorite team growing up.” Now, however, he is focused on playing for the Devils and that is his dream now.

He said that he “was given a pretty big role on [Brynas IF]” in that he “played on the top line and the top power-play [unit]” and that that was a huge learning experience for him. He told Stein that the thing he learned the most from last season in the SHL was that playing against older competition showed him how strong pro players are and that you have to think the game smarter at that level. He joked that you also “need to play without the puck, too!”

When asked by Stein who he saw as his role model amongst Swedish players in the NHL, he said that Nicklas Backstrom of the Capitals is one (he grew up cheering for him on Brynas IF). He also mentioned former Devil and current Boston Bruin Marcus Johansson as the other player that he admired the most.

When Stein asked what he is trying to show Devils management this summer at camp, Boqvist replied that he can “(h)opefully… bring some offensive upside and touches and just play my game.”

Stein then asked if being a part of the Devils, with a young and talented roster of prospects, is something that is exciting for him. He replied that it is and that he has been trying to follow as much of New Jersey’s games as he can from Sweden. He also hopes to “be part of [the young talent] soon.”

The interview followed up with talk about Jesper’s brother Adam, who Stein pointed out plays for the London Knights of the Ontario Hockey League. Now that Jesper will be in North America, he will get to see his brother again. He joked that “right now, we’re just happy we both have phones!” He also said that it will be nice to be nearer to where Adam is playing. They had “always been on the same teams and city” but are now separated. So that will be nice for him.

Good luck to Jesper Boqvist as we head to Development Camp next month and, eventually, training camp in September.

NHL.com: Hall Does Not Feel He Is Devils’ Top Priority Right Now

According to an article on NHL.com, Taylor Hall does not believe that his contract is the Devils’ most pressing need right now.

“I’m not the priority right now and I don’t really want to be the priority right now” he said to the Athletic Tuesday according to the article on NHL.com. He continued: “They have bigger things to worry about than me” referring to the upcoming first overall pick in the 2019 NHL Draft. The Devils have ten picks overall in the Draft, which takes place on June 21-22 in Vancouver.

Hall would become an unrestricted free agent on July 1, 2020, but “can sign an extension of up to eight years with the Devils beginning July 1” of 2019. The 27-year-old signed a “seven-year, $42 million contract” with the Edmonton Oilers on August 22, 2012 before being dealt to the Devils on June 29, 2016 one-for-one for Adam Larsson.

Clearing up some rumors that have made the rounds of late, Hall’s agent, Darren Ferris, “told NHL.com Monday that he and Devils general manager Ray Shero have been in communication.” He said: “I’m in contact with Ray, and he and I communicate regularly, and out of respect to the process, I really can’t provide any details or any conversations that we engage in.” Ferris acknowledged that “(i)t’s a decision the player will have to make in time, and there’s no pressure into making it. It’s just a discussion that is going to be ongoing.”

The NHL.com article quoted Hall as saying, “(w)e never really looked at July 1 as a deadline and Ray hasn’t looked at it like that either. The Devils have never been anything but great with me.”

The rumor I was alluding to up top came from The Fourth Period, who reported on Monday that Hall was “not interested at this time in signing an extension with New Jersey.” Shero had this to say about the rumor/possible click bait via a text message to NHL.com: “No idea where [the website] got that from aside from a ‘source.’ Nothing on our end has changed and I have never heard differently from Taylor or Darren Ferris.”

The article on The Fourth Period kicked off a frenzy of debate and, yes, a bit of worry on Devils social media, message boards and other places where fan congregate to talk and discuss the team.

Of course we will have to wait this out to see how all of this plays out over the summer. The real time to panic is if Hall begins the 2019-20 season without a contract extension in place. Then you are looking at Shero trying to possibly trade him to get maximum value for a player that they cannot come to terms with. But otherwise, we still have some time.

The 2018 Hart Trophy winner “missed the Devils’ last 47 games and had arthroscopic surgery to remove loose fragments in his left knee in February.” However, “Ferris said Hall’s rehabilitation is going well and he remains on target to be ready for training camp in September.”

NHL Tonight: Scouting Combine Special

I know it’s been a long time since my last post, but now with the playoffs winding down and the Draft upcoming, we should be back on track.

Tonight the NHL Network presented a special edition of NHL Tonight. It was called the Scouting Combine Special and featured interviews with and analysis of some of the prospects who took part in the NHL Scouting Combine at Harborcenter in Buffalo.

The first person interviewed was the player expected to go first overall in the Draft, to the Devils, Jack Hughes.

NHL Network host Alex Tanguay – who did the interview – opened by asking how he was feeling now that the moment is finally coming (being picked in the Draft). He asked him who has the best hockey IQ in his family, his dad, mom or brothers (all of whom played or play hockey). He said his brother Quinn of the Vancouver Canucks sees the ice and processes the game better that he can.

He was asked if he liked to score a goal or assist on one better. He said that while scoring is great, he loves setting players up. He said that having Cole Caufield on his line to finish plays is like “getting a free point.”

Tanguay asked him who he compares his game to the most. Hughes said that he did not want to sound cocky, but he feels his ceiling is a player like Mat Barzal of the Islanders or the Blackhawks’ Patrick Kane.

When asked about his competitiveness, Hughes said that “he has not met many kids more competitive than (him).” He was then asked the million dollar question about whether or not he thinks he is strong enough or big enough to make an impact in the NHL. He said that there is a difference between “gym strong” and “hockey strong.” Hughes feels that he might not be the kind of guy who can “throw around a lot of weight in the gym” but does have the strength to stay on his skates and be strong in the corners and along the boards and in traffic. He said he uses his hockey IQ and brain to play the game in a strong way.

He then talked about being a 17 and 18-year-old playing against men at the World Championship and how it was a learning experience for him.

He broke down a play that Tanguay showed him that he made at the at the 2019 World Junior Championship last December. It showed his thought process and just how quickly he thinks the game of hockey. He even mentioned that it is hard to communicate on the ice because the game is moving so fast so players need to know where to be and what to do.

Tanguay finished up the interview asking if Hughes can play right away in the NHL. Jack said “I’m not oblivious to (the NHL) being the hardest league in the world (to play in).” He said that he wants to be “driving the bus, not a passenger” on the team that drafts him. He wants to win and be a part of the reason the team is winning.

Basically, he said that he wants to be a star in the NHL right away and is driven to be such. He said he wanted to “get out of the gates fast” and wants to be an impact player.

Tanguay did a good interview (as short as it was) with Hughes. The one thing I take way from the interview is that Hughes already has an idea of the culture that Ray Shero and John Hynes are trying to create. His verbiage about “not being a passenger and driving the bus” is exactly the type of player that the Devils are looking for.

We only got the interview from Hughes as far as top two picks go, but it was a really good interview nonetheless.

Site Note

Alright. So I got all of the old missing posts back up that were lost due to the crash. Everything should be good now. As I said, I intended for this site to act as a bit of a repository for Devils information as it happened and all of the missing pieces from the 2018-19 season have been plugged in.

Unfortunately, what is missing is the categories and tags. Again, if I find that it is absolutely necessary, I may go back and fix things.

Hopefully we don’t have any more problems (fingers crossed) and this can act as a resource for Devils fans going into the future.

Thanks!

Finns Win Gold at Worlds; Huskies Claim Memorial Cup

A day before the St. Louis Blues and Boston Bruins get it on in game one of the Stanley Cup Final, the hockey world was focused on Bratislava, Slovakia for the final of the IIHF World Championship and the final of the Memoria Cup in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

The gold medal game for the World Championship ended in an upset as Finland defeated Canada 3-1 to claim the gold. It was the second time Finland claimed victory over Canada in this tournament.

The first prime scoring chance of the game went to the Finns as, at 5:28 of the first period, Canada’s Thomas Chabot was called for a trip and Finland was awarded a penalty shot. They did not convert on Canadian goaltender Matt Murray.

The Canadians then took the lead about five minutes later, at 10:02, when Shea Theodore scored what would be Canada’s lone goal from Anthony Mantha and Jared McCann. The Canadians took that lead into the second period.

Early in the second, the tide began to turn. Theodore took a tripping penalty 2:15 in and Finland’s Marko Anttila scored on the power play. That tied the game up at one which is where we would be when the third period came around.

In the third, it only took Anttila 2:35 to score what would go down as the game winner as he notched his second of the night. Harri Pesonen added an insurance goal at 15:54 to make it 3-1.

Canada would pull Murray for the extra attacker, but to no avail. They could not get things tied and Finland went on to claim gold. Canada wins the silver and the Russians claimed bronze by beating the Czechs 3-2 in a shootout.

Murray made 19 stops on 22 Finnish shots while Kevin Lankinen turned aside 43 of 44 Canadian shots in a great effort. Kaapo Kakko had one shot on net and was an even plus/minus in 11:58 of playing time over 21 shifts. For Canada, Damon Severson had two shots on net and a minus-1 plus/minus in 20:13 of ice time spread over 24 shifts.

So, while Finland was celebrating across the pond, in Nova Scotia, the Halifax Mooseheads and the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies were meeting once again. This time it was to decide the 2019 Memorial Cup championship.

They met in the QMJHL Final, in the round-robin of the Memorial Cup and again here. Unfortunately for the Mooseheads, it was the same result. Rouyn-Noranda won the game 4-2 to claim the Memorial Cup.

Halifax, playing on home ice, took a 2-0 lead when Samuel Asselin scored late in the first period on the power play. Raphael Lavoie then scored 5:26 into the second to give the Mooseheads a 2-0 lead.

But from there, the Huskies took over, scoring four straight to claim the win.

Felix Bibeau scored at 10:27 of the second period to cut the lead to 2-1. Joel Teasdale, who would go on to be named the winner of the Stafford Smythe trophy as Memorial Cup MVP, tied it at 15:11 for Rouyn-Noranda.

The fate of both teams would change in a span of two minutes and one second in the third period. The Huskies’ Peter Abbandonato scored the game winner 3:02 into the third frame and then, at 5:03, Vincent Marleau scored to put the game out of reach at 4-2.

And that was the final. Rafael Harvey-Pinard, the captain of the Huskies, who would accept the Memorial Cup later on in the night, was named the game’s first star. The Mooseheads’ Lavoie was the second star while Justin Bergeron of Rouyn-Noranda was the third star.

In goal, Samuel Harvey made 23 saves on 25 shots against for the Huskies while Halifax’s Alexis Gravel turned aside 31 shots on 35 total for Rouyn-Noranda. Jocktan Chainey, in a losing effort, was a minus-1 plus/minus on the night for Halifax.

So, as we head off into the offseason, with the NHL now taking sole place on center stage, congratulations to Finland and the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies (who had a historic season in the QMJHL) on their championships and here’s to next season for all involved!

Gold Medal Game Set at Worlds

Happy Memorial Day weekend everyone! I can’t think of a better way to kick off the unofficial start of summer than with a little bit of hockey, so let’s get to it.

The gold medal game has been set at the 2019 IIHF World Hockey Championship. Along the way, the mighty Russians fell to a team of Finns that did not include quite the star power of their opponents and the Canadians took advantage of some timely scoring to set up our final.

The Russia-Finland game was a goalie duel and a good one. The only goal of the game came at 10:18 into the third period when Marko Anttila scored for the Finns. Henri Jokiharju and Joel Kiviranta had the assists on the only time the Finns solved the Russian goaltender.

Both Andrei Vasilevski (Russia) and Kevin Lankinen (Finland) traded great saves back and forth. Vasilvevski made 28 saves on 29 Finnish shots while Lankinen stopped all 32 Russian shots he saw.

Kaapo Kakko had three shots on net and was an even plus/minus in 16:25 of ice time spread over 22 shifts.

The Finns will now play for the gold medal while Russia will play in the bronze medal game. Their opponents would be decided in the next game.

Canada and the Czech Republic squared off for the right to face the Finns in the gold medal game. It was the Canadians who took advantage and punched their ticket to play for the gold. They defeated the Czechs 5-1.

Mark Stone continued his torrid pace when he scored at 5:18 of the first to give Canada the 1-0 lead. Darnell Nurse doubled the lead just 10 seconds into the second period when he scored from Sean Couturier. That made it 2-0 and the Canadians never looked back.

Pierre-Luc Dubois scored at 5:06 of the second from Jonathan Marchessault and Stone (who is the Canadians’ leading scorer for the tournament). That made it 3-0 Canada.

After this goal, the Czechs made a goalie change, pulling Patrik Bartosak in favor of Pavel Francouz. The Canadians had scored three goals on just 15 shots and the Czechs felt it was time for a change between the pipes.

But Francouz would fare no better as the Canada scoring binge continued into the third period. Kyle Turris scored at 6:26 to make it 4-0 and Thomas Chabot scored at 13:00 to make it 5-0.

The Czechs did get on the board when Tomas Zohorna scored at 13:59 of the third, but the damage was done. Canada had the 5-1 win and will play Finland for the gold medal tomorrow.

Matt Murray (playing on his 25th birthday) made 40 saves on 41 Czech shots while Francouz and Bartosak combined to make 25 saves on 30 Canadian shots.

Damon Severson had one shot on net and was a plus-1 in 22:46 of ice time over 31 shifts.

So now we are set for tomorrow as the Canadians and the Finns will faceoff for the gold and silver medals while the Czechs and the Russians will meet to decide the bronze medal. We will have that game for you right here tomorrow.

We will also have the Memorial Cup championship game for you here and, speaking of Canadian major junior hockey, there is some other Devils-related news out of the CHL.

Ty Smith, Devils defensive prospect and a member of the Spokane Chiefs of the WHL, won the CHL “Defenceman of the Year Award” for 2019. The blurb about his win on the CHL website mentioned that he finished “second in Chiefs team scoring and fourth among all WHL blue-liners as he tallied seven goals and 62 assists for 69 points in only 57 appearances.” He also had nine points in 15 playoff games for the Chiefs. The Chiefs were eliminated by the Vancouver Giants in the WHL Western Conference Final.

The CHL website gives his career WHL stats as “26 goals and 150 assists for 176 points in 194 career appearances.”

Smith becomes the first WHL defenseman to win this award since Ivan Provorov of the Brandon Wheat Kings in 2016. The CHL site says that the other finalists for the award this year were Evan Bouchard (London Knights – OHL) and Charle-Edouard D’Astous (Rimouski Oceanic – QMJHL).

Congratulations to Ty Smith on this great honor.

USA Falls as Russia Reaches Semifinals at WHC

The quarterfinals got underway at the 2019 IIHF World Championship today and the United States had a huge task ahead of them: to beat Russia. The Russians blew through the round-robin portion of the tournament and have cemented themselves as the best team in the competition so far.

Unfortunately for the Americans, the order was just too tall. They were edged 4-3, just narrowly missing out on moving on to the semifinals.

Russia got on the board quickly, with Nikita Gusev beating Cory Schneider just 1:07 into the game to make it 1-0.

At 14:18, Johnny Gaudreau took a hooking call putting the USA behind the eight-ball and having to kill off a penalty. But Mikhail Sergachyov potted one at 15:47 on the power play to give the Russians the 2-0 lead. This goal was reviewed for offside prior to the goal being scored, but the call of good goal stood and the Russians had doubled up their lead.

The US would start chipping away, however. Just 2:22 into the second, Brady Skjei had a shot deflect in off of a Russian defender and by goalie Andrei Vasilevski. This made it 2-1 and would be the score at the end of the second period, setting up a climatic third period.

Things did not seem to be going in the Americans’ favor, however, when Kirill Kaprizov scored off of a 2-on-1 1:31 into the third frame. That made it 3-1 Russia.

The USA would get that back when Noah Hanifin scored off of a feed from Jack Hughes at 5:53. That made it 3-2 Russia.

The Russians added another one from Mikhail Grigorenko at 7:02 to make it 4-2. This would set up the US pulling Schneider with about 4:15 to go.

That move would pay off too. At 17:10, Alex DeBrincat scored after a good defensive play by Jack Hughes to keep the zone. DeBrincat’s Chicago teammate, Patrick Kane fed him a pass and the US had made it 4-3. The Russians used their coach’s challenge on this one, charging goalie interference. The goal was good, though, and it was a one goal lead for Russia.

There was a blown offsides call here by the linesman in favor of Russia which killed some American momentum. A Russian player skated the puck back into the Russian zone and James van Riemsdyk touched the puck, this should not have been offsides since the puck was brought back into the defensive zone by the Russian player, but it was whistled down with the faceoff coming outside the Russian zone.

The Americans again pulled Cory to get the extra attacker but it was not to be. Russia held on for the 4-3 victory. Schneider made 39 saves on 43 Russian shots while Vasilevski made 29 stops on 32 American shots.

Hughes had a pair of assists for two points, two shots on net and was a plus-2 as deuces were wild for him. He played 15:52 over 20 shifts.

The next quarterfinal game was a just as down to the wire but continued to overtime instead. Canada defeated Switzerland 3-2 in overtime to advance to the semifinals. Two different Devils from each team came up big for their respective teams.

Switzerland took the lead late in the first period when Sven Andrighetto scored at 18:06. This one came on the power play as Canada’s Jared McCann was in the box for interference.

Canada tied it on Mark Stone’s first goal of the game 5:45 into the second period.

But before the second period was up, the Swiss would retake the lead courtesy of Nico Hischier. He scored from Lino Martschini and Nino Niederreiter to make ti 2-1 before the second break.

And it would remain that way until less than one second remained in regulation when Damon Severson blasted a shot from the point that was blocked in front by a Swiss defender. The puck then bounced right back to Severson and he fired again, this time beating Swiss goaltender Leonardo Genoni. The game was tied at two and we were headed to overtime.

It took 5:07, but Stone scored his second of the night from Pierre-Luc Dubois – who also assisted on Stone’s other goal – and Shea Theodore to lift the Canadians to the semifinals.

Genoni made 39 saves on 42 Canadian shots while Matt Murray turned aside 22 of the 24 Swiss shots he saw. Severson had the game-tying goal for a point, scored on his only shot of the game and was a plus-1. This was in 23:27 of ice time over 27 shifts. Hischier had the goal for a point on his only shot of the game and was an even plus/minus in 19:34 of TOI over 30 shifts.

Our third quarterfinal of the day that was Devils-related saw Finland and Sweden square off in a Scandinavian battle. This one was a true upset as the Finns knocked off Sweden 5-4 in OT to advance. It was the first Finnish win over the Swedes at the World Championship in five years according to TSN.

Finland got the ball rolling early, taking a 1-0 lead just one minute into the contest. Niko Mikkola scored that goal to set the stage for what would come.

It would be tough sledding before then, though. At 2:06 of the first, the Finns were hit with a too many men on the ice bench minor and Sweden would capitalize on it when John Klingberg scored at 2:38 to tie the game at one.

Sweden took the lead into the second period when Patric Hornqvist potted one by Finnish goalie Kevin Lankinen at the 16:57 mark of the first. That gave the Swedes the 2-1 advantage going into the first intermission.

Coming out of that intermission, it only took 25 seconds for Sweden to grab a two goal lead. Elias Pettersson scored to make it 3-1 and the Swedes seemed to be cruising.

But a Finnish comeback was afoot. At the 5:04 mark of the second, Petteri Lindbohm scored to cut the Swedish lead to 3-2. Then, at 9:08, Jani Hakanpaa netted one to tie the game at three. The Finns just refused to die and had fought back.

Sweden would take a 4-3 lead into the third period when Erik Gustafsson scored with less than thirty seconds to go in the second frame.

And it would remain at 4-3 until late in the third. At 17:55, Lankinen was pulled in favor of the extra attacker. The Finns would then tie it on Marko Anttila’s goal about one and a half minutes later. The goal came under review to make sure that the Finns were onside when they entered the Swedish zone, and everything checked out. It was a good goal. The Finns had hung around and were now about to force overtime against a team that was much better than them on paper.

And they would complete the comeback when, just 1:37 into OT, Sakari Manninen scored to give the Finns the upset victory, 5-4.

Lankinen stopped 14 of the 18 Swedish shots fired at him while Henrik Lundqvist stopped 27 of 32 Finnish shots. Kaapo Kakko had four shots on goal and was a plus-3 in 18:58 of work spread over 22 shifts. Jesper Bratt had a shot on goal and a minus-1 plus/minus in 9:30 TOI over 14 shifts.

So now we head to the semifinals where the Finns will take on the Russians and the Canadians will face the Czech Republic in the two games to decide the gold medal and bronze medal games. The semifinals will take place on Saturday, May 25.

Halifax Mooseheads Advance to Memorial Cup Final

The Halifax Mooseheads have backed their way into the Memorial Cup final. They lost 4-3 tonight to the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies but, due to goal differential, they will go straight ahead to Sunday’s final with a bye. They will play the winner of the Rouyn-Noranda-Guelph Storm semifinal, which will be played on Friday.

The Huskies got on the board first despite Halifax dominating most of the first period. Fleix Bibeau was left all alone in front of the Mooseheads’ net and scored. All goals in the Memorial Cup tournament are reviewed in the situation room, but this one came under further review to make sure Rouyn-Noranda was onside prior to the goal being scored. They were and it was a good goal to give the Huskies the 1-0 lead.

On the second goal, scored by the Huskies, Peter Abbandonato lost his stick along the far boards, picked it up, got the puck and was able to make a nice pass to Joel Teasdale, who scored. This goal was also reviewed for offsides and was also deemed a good goal after a lengthy deliberation by the referees.

It was at this point that things were looking grim for the Halifax Mooseheads. If Rouyn-Noranda won by two or more goals, then Guelph would get a bye straight into the final.

But things changed drastically in the second period. Halifax scored three unanswered to take a 3-2 lead. The comeback began when Arnaud Durandeau backhanded a pass to Benoit-Olivier Groulx who shot and had his shot tipped by Rouyn-Noranda’s Noah Dobson into the Huskies’ net. That made it 2-1 Huskies.

The game was tied at two when Durandeau took a drop pass from Jared McIsaac, as Durandeau was trailing the play, to score.

Halifax then took the lead, getting the “home” (the Mooseheads were playing in their building, but were designated the visiting team) fans back into things. That go-ahead goal came when Antoine Morand, who had gone down the tunnel a few minutes earlier, but came back just as soon, took a centering pass from Keith Getson to score. The Mooseheads won the first faceoff in the Huskies’ zone on the power play and passed around the perimeter, finally getting it down low and to Morand. This goal came with less than a minute to go in the second and gave Halifax the 3-2 lead.

However, the Huskies are not the number one rated team in the CHL for nothing. They would stage a comeback of their own in the third period. Halfway through the period, William Rouleau took a bank pass off the boards through the neutral zone and used a nice shot to beat Halifax goaltender Alexis Gravel. This tied things at three as we strapped in for a bumpy finish.

With less than a minute to go in regulation, Jakub Lauko sniped one that beat Gravel to give Rouyn-Noranda the 4-3 lead. They would frantically try to get one more to force Halifax into the semifinal, but to no avail. The Mooseheads held on and backed into the final, which they will play on Sunday, to claim the Memorial Cup.

Abbandonato (Rouyn-Noranda) was named the game’s first star while Groulx of Halifax was the second, while Lauko of Rouyn-Noranda was the third star.

Gravel made 36 saves on 40 Huskies shots while Samuel Harvey made 24 saves on 27 Mooseheads shots. Jocktan Chainey was a minus-2 plus/minus with one shot on goal in the game.

The Memorial Cup final will come on Sunday with Halifax the home team against either Rouyn-Noranda or Guelph. We will have that for you then.

In other Devils CHL prospect news, Ty Smith is up for the award of CHL Defenseman of the Year at the CHL Awards this year. This was mentioned on this game’s broadcast on Sportsnet. Congratulations to him and good luck.

Busy, Important Day at Worlds

The final day of the round-robin portion of the 2019 IIHF World Hockey Championship saw five games involving Devils’ related players in action. Today would also set the seeding for the quarterfinals to begin Thursday.

First up, we have Finland taking on Germany. Germany won this one 4-2.

The Finns took the lead late in the first when Harri Pesonen scored on the power play at 15:05. Marco Nowak had been called for tripping at 13:54 to put Finland on the man advantage.

But the Finnish lead would not last long. At 17:04 of the first, Marc Michaelis tied the game up when he beat Finnish goalie Kevin Lankinen.

In the second, the Finns took back the lead just 4:07 in when Juhani Tyrvainen scored. Once again though, the Germans would tie it up before the period was out this time off the stick of Dominik Kahun at 13:13. The second period ended the way the first did: tied.

Early in the third, Finland’s Atte Ohtamaa was called for a trip and, just 41 seconds into the power play, Leon Draisaitl made it 3-2 Germany.

Finland would pull Lankinen with less than two minutes to go in regulation but Draisaitl scored into the empty net (his third point of the game) to give us our final of 4-2.

Lankinen stopped 39 of 41 German shots while Philipp Grubauer made 17 saves on just 21 FInnish shots. Kaapo Kakko had four shots on goal and was a minus-2 in 19:23 of ice time over 24 shifts.

Finland finishes with five wins and no overtime wins against two losses with 16 points and 22 goals for and 11 against. They will finish in a top four position in Group A with Canada, Germany and the USA.

Our next game sees Switzerland edged by the Czech Republic 5-4.

The Swiss scored early in the first to take a 1-0 lead. Lukas Frick put one behind Czech goalie Patrik Bartosak just 2:13 into the game. But a Swiss penalty would lead to the game being tied before the first intermission.

Switzerland’s Tristan Scherwey was called for cross-checking just after the Swiss had gotten off of the power play which the Czech killed. Jakub Voracek then scored at 12:21 of the first on the man advantage to make it 1-1.

The Czechs were the ones who got out of the gate fast in the second period. Dominik Simon scored just 38 seconds into the frame to make it 2-1. Michael Frolik made it 3-1 when he scored at the 6:20 mark for the Czechs. He also ended up chasing Swiss goalie Reto Berra, who was pulled in favor of Robert Mayer following that goal.

The Swiss responded just 29 seconds after the goalie change when Scherwey scored to cut the Czech lead to one, 3-2.

At 7:10 of the second, Switzerland’s Christoph Bertschy and Czech Republic’s Filip Hronek took matching roughing minors making it a 4-on-4 situation for the next two minutes. The Czechs would capitalize on the extra space when Dominik Kubalik made it 4-2.

Things would get tight early in the third when, just 1:47 in, Scherwey scored his second of the afternoon to make it 4-3 Czech Republic. The Swiss would tie it at four with less than four minutes to go in the game when Nino Niederreiter scored from Roman Josi and Nico Hischier. However, needing the win, Switzerland would pull Mayer with less than three minutes to go in the game. In a situation similar to yesterday’s Sweden-Latvia game, Jan Rutta scored the eventual game winner into the empty net at 18:33. That made it 5-4, our final.

Bartosak made 36 saves on 40 shots against while Berra and Mayer combined for 21 saves. The Czechs had a total of 26 shots with the empty netter. Hischier had the assist for a point, one shot on net and an even plus/minus in 18:26 spread over 26 shifts.

Switzerland finishes fourth Group B with a record of four wins, three losses and no overtime wins. They accumulated 12 points and scored 27 goals against their opponent’s 14.

Next, we take you back to Group A with an emotional game between the Slovaks and the Danes.

Slovakia’s Ladislav Nagy was playing in his final game for the Slovak national team. The Slovakia captain would go on to play a key role in this game.

After a scoreless first period, it would take the entire part of the second to get a team on the board. Martin Marincin finally broke the 0-0 tie at 19:04 of the second when he scored from Marian Studenic and Nagy.

It was also around this time that the hometown Slovakia crowd began to chant for late Slovak player and former NHLer Pavol Demitra. The chant began at the 38th minute of the game (18 minutes into the second period) for the jersey number he wore: 38. Demitra was one of the players killed in the Lokomotiv Yaroslavl plane crash in 2011 in Russia. It was a very touching gesture for a great Slovakian player.

The Danes would tie the game on a 5-on-3 situation in the third period when Marko Dano was sent off for cross-checking at 6:10 and Andrej Sekera at 6:22. Mikkel Boedker tied the game up at 6:41. That is how it would end at the final buzzer, 1-1 and we were headed for overtime.

When OT settled nothing, it was off to a shootout. Studenic went first and missed. Boedker’s shot was saved by Slovak goalie Dnis Godla to end the first round. In the second, Matus Sukel (Slovakia) was stopped by Sebastian Dahm and Peter Regin (Denmark) was stopped by Godla.

In the third round, Nagy gave Slovakia the lead when he scored and Godla stopped Nicklas Jensen. In the fourth round, Tomas Tatar’s shot was turned aside by Dahm and Frederik Storm’s shot was saved by Godla. The game was then on Michal Kristof’s stick. If he scored, Slovakia would win the game. He converted and Slovakia won 2-1, essentially giving Nagy the game winning goal in his send off game.

Godla made 13 saves on 14 shots (including the shootout) and Dahm stopped 27 of 29 shots – including the shootout. Studenic finished the game with the assist for a point, one shot on net and a plus-1 rating. He did this in 16:45 of ice time over 26 shifts.

The Slovaks finish Group A round-robin play with three wins and an overtime win for 11 points – good for fifth place. They had 28 goals for and 19 scored against them. They will not advance to the quarterfinals.

Now we get to one of the main events of the evening. Canada versus the United States. Despite a great effort by the US, it was the Canadians who won this installment of the rivalry, 3-0.

Canada got a goal from Pierre-Luc Dubois just 1:49 into the first frame, followed by one from Kyle Turris a little less than seven minutes later at 8:02. That made it 2-0 until Jared McCann made it 3-0 at 15:59 of the second. That gave us our final of 3-0.

The Americans had chances but could not solve Matt Murray, who stopped all 28 shots the US threw at him. Cory Schneider turned aside 33 of 36 Canadian shots. Damon Severson was a plus-1 in 20:07 of TOI over 24 shifts as he continues to get elite minutes on the blue line for the Canadians. Jack Hughes did not suit up for Team USA in this game, with the reinforcements arriving from teams eliminated from the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

With that win, the Canadians win Group A with six wins and one loss. They had 18 points and finished with 36 goals for and 11 against. The US finishes in fourth place in Group A with four wins, two losses and an OT win for 14 points. Their goal differential was 27 for and 15 against.

We finish up this tour with Group B action as Sweden lost to the powerhouse Russian team, 7-4.

Gabriel Landeskog scored for the Swedes just 7:32 into the game, giving them a 1-0 lead. Then the second period happened.

Russia got a goal from Artyom Anisimov, then one from Yevgeni Dadonov, one from Alex Ovechkin, one from Kirill Kaprizov, one from Mikhail Grigorenko and one from Evgeni Malkin all in a span of 16:50. The Swedes, however, did respond with Patric Hornqvist taking an unsportsmanlike conduct 10 minute major after the Russian scoring frenzy was over. He would be missed for most of the third period.

Sweden got on the board again 12:02 into the third, putting aside the nightmare of the second period for them. The goal came off the stick of William Nylander to make it 6-2.

But Russia got that one right back, almost literally. It took 55 seconds for Dimitri Orlov to make it 7-2 Russia.

Oliver Ekman-Larsson added another for Sweden to make ti 7-3 and the Swedes seemed to be fighting back when John Klingberg scored on the power play. Ilya Kovalchuk was off for holding at 18:42 and Klingberg’s goal came at 18:49.

But it was too little too late. Russia cruised to the 7-4 victory.

In goal, Jacob Markstrom made 27 saves on 34 shots for Sweden while Andrei Vasilevski made 33 saves on 37 Swedish shots against. Jesper Bratt had two shots on goal and was a minus-1 in 9:35 of ice time over 18 shifts.

Russia now wins Group B with Sweden finishing third. The Swedes have five wins, two losses and no OT wins for 15 points. Their goal differential took a hit with this game, with 41 for and 21 against.

So in Thursday’s quarterfinals, Canada will play Switzerland, the US gets Russia, Finland and Sweden will square off and the Czechs will face the Germans. We will see you back here tomorrow as the Halifax Mooseheads continue their quest for the Memorial Cup against the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies.