Three games involving Devils were played in the World Hockey Championship today and all were three very different games.
First to the USA-Finland game where the US was able to prevail in overtime and get Cory Schneider a victory.
Brady Skjei kicked off the scoring for the Americans, notching one just 50 seconds into the game. Johnny Gaudreau then doubled the lead to 2-0 when he scored at 10:36.
But before we headed to the first intermission, Finland’s Harri Pesonen cut that lead in half when he scored with 55 seconds to go.
The game then settled into a bit of a groove until 18:26 when Colin White was called for high-sticking. It took only 1:02 for Niko Ojamaki to even the game by scoring a power play goal for the Finns.
Following a third period where there was no scoring or penalties, we were off to a five minute OT. Three minutes and forty-seven seconds in, it was Dylan Larkin who scored from Quinn Hughes and Clayton Keller to give the Americans the win 3-2 win.
Cory made 24 saves on 26 Finnish shots while Veini Vehvilainen stopped 26 of the 29 USA shots he faced.
Jack Hughes was kept off of the scoresheet, an even plus/minus in 9:24 of ice time (16 shifts). Kaapo Kakko was also left off the scoresheet, being a plus-1 plus/minus with six shots on goal in 18:46 of ice time spread over 27 shifts.
The USA next takes on Great Britain on Wednesday while Finland does not play again until Thursday against Denmark.
Staying in Group A, the Canadians and the Slovaks played what was a classic of a game marred by bad fan behavior at the very end. Canada won 6-5 on a goal scored with less than two seconds left in regulation.
Matus Sukel started the scoring, giving Slovakia an early 1-0 lead at 7:14. Marian Studenic had the primary assist on this goal. The Slovaks doubled their lead 1:04 later when Adam Liska scored. The Canadians were behind the eight-ball early.
But they would get things going. FIrst, Anthony Mantha scored at 16:20. Then, on the power play, Shea Theodore notched another one to tie it. Damon Severson had the secondary assist on Theodore’s goal.
With five seconds to play in the first period, Severson would take a boarding minor plus a ten minute misconduct while Anthony Cirelli was already in the box for holding. That gave the Slovaks a two man advantage until 1:57 into the second period and meant the Canadians were without Severson’s services for the majority of the second as well.
The Slovaks took advantage of the 5-on-3 when Ladislav Nagy scored 1:49 into the first to make it 3-2. They would take a 4-2 lead at 5:09 when Liska scored his second of the afternoon.
Then some bad penalties for the Slovaks would come into play. First, Tomas Tatar was called for cross-checking at 5:41 and Canada’s Jonathan Marchessault converted on that to make it 4-3 Slovakia.
Cirelli scored to even the game at four at 8:43 and Troy Stecher gave Canada the 5-4 lead at 16:40 when he scored from Kyle Turris and Severson.
Slovakia had seemingly taken the lead late in the second, but on review it was determined that Richard Panik had not gotten out of Canadian goatender Matt Murray’s way, impeding his ability to make a save. The result was no goal and the home Slovak fans were not too happy about it.
It was after Canada’s fifth goal that the Slovaks pulled goalie Patrik Rybar, replacing him with Marek Ciliak.
Slovakia would tie it in the third when Sukel scored his second of the game. This one was banked in off of Severson’s shin pad when he was defending in front of the net. It was now 5-5 and seemed destined for OT just as the American game had been.
But with about 2:14 to go in the game, Erik Cernak of Slovakia was called for a trip.
It took time, but with less than two seconds to go, officially at 19:59 of the third period, Mark Stone (on his birthday no less) beat goalie Ciliak to give Canada the 6-5 lead and the win.
It was here that the fans began raining down garbage and coins on the ice and the Canadian bench. There is no excuse for behavior like that, throwing things on the ice, but coins are extremely dangerous on the ice surface. Now you are putting the safety of the players and officials on skates in danger, not to mention fellow fans, arena staff and officials who are not wearing protective equipment. Not a good look from the Slovak fans, who have been mostly very cool to watch and listen to througout this tournament so far.
Rybar and Ciliak combined to make 22 saves on 28 Canadian shots while Murray made 26 saves on 31 shots against.
Studenic had the assist for a point, two shots on net and an even plus/minus in 12:23 of total ice time over 19 shifts.
Severson had quite an eventful game, racking up two assists for two points, twelve penalty minutes, a shot on net and an even plus/minus in a truncated 17:10 of ice time (30 shifts).
Canada next plays on Thursday against France while Slovakia plays Wednesday against Germany.
Finally, for our final game of the evening, we head to Group B for Norway against Sweden. The Swedes took this one easily from their nordic neighbors, 9-1.
Alexander Wennberg set the tone early by scoring 39 seconds into the game. Patric Hornqvist follwed up at 6:40 when he made it 2-0. William Nylander made it 3-0 with just over 2:30 remaining in the first period.
The second saw Adrian Kempe make it 4-0 and Hornqvist make it 6-0 when he scored his second of the game at 5:54. It was after this goal that Norway pulled Henrik Haukeland from goal in favor of Henrik Holm.
This did nothing to stem the Swedish tide. Mario Kempe scored less than a minute after the goaltender change, at 6:40. Wennberg added his second of the night at 9:38 to make it 7-0.
At 17:42, Norway’s Stefan Espeland was called for interference, putting Sweden on the power play. Loui Eriksson made it 8-0 when he converted at 19:40.
The Norwegians finally broke the shutout when Mathias Trettenes scored 11:14 into the third period. But Oskar Lindblom reestablished the eight goal Swedish lead, scoring at 17:29 to make it 9-1, our final.
For Norway, goaltenders Holm and Haukeland combined to make 35 saves on 44 shots against as they were just bombarded. For Sweden, it was a relatively easy night for Jacob Markstrom, who turned aside 16 of 17 shots fired his way.
Jesper Bratt did not dress in this one for Sweden.
The Swedes will next play on Thursday against Austria.