Sorry this is up so late, I was attending the Princeton-Quinnipiac game in Princeton and did not have the time to write this up before leaving. I did, however, get to catch most of the Canada-Russia game before heading out the door.
Sweden continued their winning streak in group play, making it 50 in a row as they defeated Switzerland 5-2 and Canada was blown out of the water, losing 6-0 to the Russians in day three of World Junior Championship action.
We begin in Group A with the Swiss and the Swedes. Akira Schmid did not play in this game as he was again the third goalie up in the press box. Both Luca Hollenstein and Stephane Charlin saw game action today in the Swiss loss.
The Devils prospect who did see action was Sweden’s Nikola Pasic. Pasic ended the game with a shot on goal in just 9:43 of ice time.
Sweden took a two-goal lead within the first 9:58 of the first period. Samuel Fagemo scored 3:25 in (assist to Victor Soderstrom) and then again at 9:58 (assist to Nils Hoglander) to put Sweden out to a quick 2-0 lead. Both goals came at even strength.
The Swedes continued their onslaught in the second when Hoglander scored 1:28 into the middle frame. Nils Lundkvist and Rasmus Sandin had the assists to make it 3-0 Sweden.
It became 4-0 when Karl Henriksson scored at the 9:02 mark (Lucas Raymond and Adam Ginning had the assists). It was after this goal that Hollenstein was pulled in favor of Charlin for Switzerland.
But the Swedes just kept it up. At 13:02, Switzerland’s Kyen Sopa was called for a hook and Sweden was on the power play. Raymond scored his second of the evening here to make it 5-0. Jonatan Berggren and Alexander Holtz had the assists. Sweden was now fully in control of the game.
At the 19:17 mark of the second, Ginning was called for boarding and received a 10-minute misconduct penalty to go with it. On the ensuing power play, the Swiss finally got on the board with Gilian Kohler scoring from Valentin Nussbaumer and Janis Moser. The goal came at 19:47 of the second.
The Swiss would tack on one more when Nico Gross scored 14:09 into the third (assists to Kohler and Matthew Verboon), but it was too little too late for them. Sweden had the 5-2 win.
Hollenstein and Charlin combined to make 22 saves on 27 Swedish shots. While Hugo Alnefelt made 25 saves on 27 Swiss shots.
Switzerland next faces Slovakia on Monday, the 30th. We will see if Schmid gets to suit up for that one. Sweden and Pasic next play on Monday against Kazakhstan in the earlier game.
Now on to Group B action and Russia-Canada.
This one was a disaster from a Canadian standpoint and it resulted in the most lopsided loss the Canadians have ever suffered at a World Junior Championship. Basically, anything that could go wrong for Canada did go wrong for Canada.
Danil Misyul did get in for Russia and was a plus-1 in 17:14 of ice time. For Canada, Ty Smith was a minus-4 in 16:48 while Kevin Bahl was a minus-2 with one shot in 14:16 of ice time.
Consensus first-overall pick in this year’s Draft, Alexis Lafreniere was injured in the second period with an apparent ankle injury when he was cutting towards the net and his skate got caught in Russian goaltender Amir Miftakhov’s pads. He was spun around and seemed to favor his ankle. He left the game and did not return, being helped off of the ice.
Also, very late in the third period, with about 13 seconds to go, Smith was cross checked in the head by Yegor Sokolov. Sokolov received two minutes for checking to the head and neck area and a ten-minute misconduct. No word on Smith’s condition, if he is okay or not, but we should get more word when Canada next plays.
The first goal of the game came just 1:44 in when Alexander Khovanov scored unassisted. Pavel Dorofeyev scored at the 10:14 mark (from Nikita Alexandrov and Danil Zhuravlyov) to make it 2-0 Russia.
At 13:43, Nikita Rtishev scored on the power play from Danil Pylenkov and Ilya Kruglov to make it 3-0.
Alexandrov scored 2:18 into the second period to make it 4-0 (assist to Dmitri Voronkov) to end Canadian goalie Nicolas Daws’ night. He was pulled in favor of Joel Hofer after that.
Sokolov scored at the 13:09 mark on Hofer to make it 5-0 (from Yegor Zamula and Grigori Denisenko). Denisenko ended the scoring at the 16:24 mark of the second (with Alexander Khovanov getting the lone helper).
Six Russian goals, six different Russian goal scorers.
This loss by Canada puts Group B in a very unique situation. For the first time since the current format was introduced to the World Juniors in 1996, all teams in the group will have one win and one loss. It was going to be a tough group coming in, but that is something altogether different. Russia currently leads the group on goal differential (nine for/four against) while the USA stands in second (10 goals for/nine against), the Czechs in third (seven for/seven against), Germany in fourth (seven for/nine against) and Canada in last (six goals for/10 against).
We will see how things begin to shake out in Group B tomorrow when the Russians meet the Americans. Canada next plays on Monday against the Germans.