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.