Canada Wins Gold at WHC

Today the medals were decided at the 2021 IIHF World Hockey Championship at Arena Riga in Riga, Latvia. Canada won gold in a thriller over Finland and the USA won bronze with a blowout of Germany.

The USA-Germany game started with a Jason Robertson double minor assessed 58 seconds into the game for a high stick.

The power play was killed at 4:58 and four seconds following that, Christian Wolanin scored for the Americans. He scored unassisted at 5:02 to make it 1-0 USA.

The Americans took that lead into the second when, 6:27 into the new frame, Conor Garland scored to make it 2-0. Robertson and Wolanin had the assists.

Less than two minutes after the Garland goal, the Americans tripled their lead when Jack Drury scored at 8:05 from Sasha Chmelevski.

At 8:27, 22 seconds after the goal that made it 3-0, Kevin Rooney took a tripping penalty. Just as that was killed off by the USA, Germany’s Matthias Plachta took a holding call at 10:46, putting the US on the power play.

At 11:35, Robertson notched his second point of the night when he scored from Garland and Tage Thompson to make it 4-0.

Less than 20 seconds after that goal, at 11:53, Germany’s Nicolas Krammer took a cross-checking call that put the Americans back on the power play.

Rinse, wash, repeat.

At 12:15, Trevor Moore scored the Americans second power play goal when he scored from Garland and Thompson. That made it 5-0.

The Americans lost Chmelevski at 12:31 when he got called for a five-minute major for a check to the head and neck area and a game misconduct. At 13:21, Colin Blackwell took a tripping penalty, putting the Germans up 5-on-3.

The Americans got through that trouble, but Dominik Bittner got Germany on the board 9:28 into the third. He got assists from Plachta and Dominik Kahun on the goal that made it 5-1 USA.

The USA would add one more goal at 9:53, less than thirty seconds after Germany got on the board. Ryan Donato scored from Adam Clendening and Thompson to make it 6-1.

Things got a little chippy at the end of the game. At 12:21, Germany’s Korbinian Holzer and Maximilian Kastner went off for interference and roughing, respectively. Donato joined them for a rough.

At 15:38, Markus Eisenschmid went off for slashing and roughing and the USA’s Blackwell went of for the same thing.

Finally, the US took a too many men on the ice bench minor with ten seconds remaining in regulation.

But the US survived and took the bronze. Following the game, in a show of sportsmanship, the Germans and Americans shook hands Stanley Cup Playoffs-style. It was great to see them do that with the way discipline broke down later on in the game.

Matt Tennyson played 21:35 while Matt Hellickson did not suit up for the Americans.

Congratulations to Team USA for medaling in the 2021 IIHF World Hockey Championship.

If the bronze medal game was a forgone conclusion due to its blowout nature, then the gold medal game went down to the wire.

Canada defeated Finland to take home their 27th gold medal at this tournament and become the first team to lose their first three games in the tournament and still win gold at the end.

Early on, Justin Danforth of Canada took a boarding penalty and a ten-minute misconduct meaning he would be unavailable for most of the first period. That came 4:15 into the game.

At 6:56, Nick Paul of Canada was called for a high stick to put the Finns on the power play. One second after the power play ended, Mikael Ruohomaa scored from Oliwer Kaski to make it 1-0 Finland.

Finland got into penalty troubler early in the frame when Arttu Ruotsalainen took a hooking call at 1:26 and Atte Ohtamaa took a tripping penalty to put the Canadians on the two-man advantage for about 12 seconds. It was on the Ohtamaa penalty that Canada would tie things.

Maxime Comtois scored at 4:30 from Connor Brown and Sean Walker to tie things up at one apiece.

With 4:03 to go in the second, Adam Henrique had seemingly put the Canadians ahead, but the Finns challenged for offsides. The replay was pretty conclusive that Canada was offside when they entered the zone, so the goal was overturned. It was the second straight game that Henrique had a goal overturned on him.

Finland retook the lead 5:27 into the third period when Petteri Lindbohm scored from Kim Nousiainen and Ruohomaa. It was now 2-1 Finland.

Canada’s Walker took a boarding penalty 8:38 to go in the third and was also assessed a ten-minute misconduct.

But it would be Canada that would have the last laugh on a power play. At 12:19, Ruohomaa went off for tripping. Just 18 seconds into the man advantage, Canada capitalized.

Henrique, denied a goal earlier, scored at 12:37 from Comtois and Connor Brown to tie the game at two.

When the final horn sounded and we had not settled things, it was off to a full twenty-minute three-on-three overtime.

It only took 6:26 for Canada to get things done. Nick Paul took a return pass from Brown in tight on Finnish goalie Jussi Olkinuora and put home the gold medal winning goal. Our final was 3-2 Canada.

So Canada got their revenge on Finland who defeated them in this tournament in 2019 (the World Championship was not held in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Congrats to Canada on another gold medal. We will see you next year for the 2022 IIHF World Championship in Finland.

Americans and Swiss Both Advance to Semifinals

Both the US and Switzerland will be moving on in the 2018 IIHF World Championships. The US defeated the Czech Republic in their quarterfinal game 3-2 while the Swiss downed Finland by the same score.

The Americans jumped out to a quick 1-0 lead at the Jyske Bank Boxen in Herning when Patrick Kane scored 10:36 into the first period from Derek Ryan. The US doubled their lead a little over a minute later at the 12:19 mark when Cam Atkinson scored from Nick Bonino and Johnny Gaudreau. That gave the Americans a 2-0 lead heading into the second period.

But the second frame belonged to the Czechs. They battled back into the game and tied things up. Michal Repik got the rally started when he scored 4:56 into the stanza. He got assists from Radek Faksa and Radko Gudas on that one.

At 10:32, Charlie McAvoy of the US was given a slashing penalty and the Czechs were on the power play. It only took 23 seconds for Martin Necas to convert from McAvoy’s Boston teammate David Pastrnak and Filip Hronek. The game was now tied up and to make matters worse for the US, Connor Murphy was assessed a slashing penalty at 18:30, which would give the Czechs 30 seconds of power play time on fresh ice in the third.

But the US killed that one off and, in fact, it was Kane who was the hero. He scored at even strength from Ryan at the 6:58 mark of the third to give the US a 3-2 lead.

The Czechs would pull goalie Pavel Francouz to try to get the equalizer, but it was not to be. The Americans held on and advanced in the tournament.

Keith Kinkaid made 24 saves on 26 Czech shots while Francouz made 28 saves on 31 American shots.

Will Butcher had a shot on goal and was a plus-1 in 21:01 of ice time over 30 shifts. Blake Coleman had two shots on goal and was a plus-1 plus/minus over 11:14 of time on ice. He spread that out over 15 shifts. Brian Gibbons did not dress for the game.

The US will now play Sweden, who defeated Latvia 3-2 in their quarterfinal, in the semifinals on May 19 at Royal Arena in Copenhagen.

Meanwhile in the later game at Herning, Switzerland was making history. They upset the Finns, 3-2 to make their way to the semifinals as well.

The Swiss actually fell behind early in this one. Markus Nutivaara scored for the Finns at the 7:01 mark of the first period from Miika Koivisto and Mikko Rantanen. It was 1-0 Finland going into the second frame.

But the Swiss would come roaring back in the second. Enzo Corvi tied things at one from Kevin Fiala and Nino Niederreiter at the 9:13 mark. At 12:32, Joel Vermin gave Switzerland the 2-1 lead when he scored from Timo Meier.

Thirty-six seconds after the Vermin goal, Gregory Hofmann gave the Swiss their insurance goal when he scored from Simon Moser and Michael Fora. It was now 3-1 Switzerland going into the third.

The Finns were allowed back into things when, at the 7:22 mark of the third, Fora took a four minute double minor for high sticking. Just 58 seconds into the ensuing power play, Rantanen scored from Veli-Matti Savinainen and Sebasitan Aho to cut the Swiss lead to one.

Finland would pull goaltender Harri Sateri for the extra attacker with about 1:30 left in the game, but to no avail. Switzerland held on and came away with the 3-2 upset victory.

Swiss goalie Leonardo Genoni made 32 saves on 34 Finnish shots while Sateri made 24 saves on 27 Swiss shots.

Mirco Mueller had two shots on goal and was a plus-1 in 22:28 of ice time spread over 38 shifts.

Next up for Switzerland, they play the Canadians in the semifinal. That game also takes place at the Royal Arena in Copenhagen and results from Canada beating the Russians 5-4 in overtime in their quarterfinal. That game also takes place on May 19.