New Jersey Devils players playing for their countries at the IIHF World Championships have been coming up big thus far in the tournament.
No Devil so far has scored a bigger goal for their team than prospect Artur Gavrus of Belarus. Gavrus had a goal in the Belarusians 5-2 upset win over the United States on Thursday, May 7. It was the Belarusians first win over the USA in six tries at the World Championships, a tournament Belarus has been participating in for fifteen years. The US was looking to start the tournament with their first four game winning streak since 1939 according to a press release on the Devils website.
This win also propelled Belarus to first place in Group B. With ten points, they are a point ahead of the USA, Russia and Finland. In the game against the US, Gavrus’ goal came about eleven minutes into the second period and gave Belarus a 1-0 lead. They quickly jumped out to a 3-0 lead before the US responded. Gavrus has 4 points (2 goals and 2 assists) including his goal against the Americans.
He was drafted by the Devils in the sixth round of the 2012 Entry Draft, but has played for Dynamo Minsk of the KHL the last two seasons.
Other Devils-related World Championship news includes Tuomo Ruutu getting his first point in the tournament when he notched an assist on Joonas Kemppainen’s power play goal at around the fifteen minute mark of the second period of Finland’s 4-0 win over Slovenia on May 7.
The Devils one other representative is Sweden’s Jacob Josefson, who has three 3 points (1 goal and 2 assists) in the tournament. He had one shot and about seven minutes of ice time on May 7 when Sweden beat Germany 4-3.
Next up for each team sees Belarus playing Russia on Saturday, May 9. This could help to decide the Group B winner at CEZ Arena. The Finns take on Slovakia on May 9 and, again, along with the USA and Russia are only one point behind Belarus. The Swedes play Switzerland in Group A action on Saturday and are only a point behind Canada for first place in that group. Team USA takes on Denmark on Friday, May 8.
Players connected to the Devils who are taking part in the World Championship are really contributing to their respective countries and are helping both hockey powerhouses (Finland, Sweden) and underdogs (Belarus) make a run towards winning a gold medal in this tournament.