Steven Ellis

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Steven took a different route towards his hockey interests. Starting out as a big Habs fan, he started to gravitate towards the more obscure levels of hockey, such as the low level tournaments in Asia, strange club matches between teams most people in North America can’t pronounce, and even some 3am contests between Bulgaria and New Zealand. Aside from his love for strange hockey events, Steven occasionally acts as a mediocre ball hockey goalie following a failed attempt at making it to the NHL as a fourth line house league grinder. Beyond hockey, Steven is an avid racing fan and loves to chat about NASCAR, F1, Indycar, you name it. Oh, and don’t get him started on music. That is, unless you want the whole history of metal and a guitar lesson. Currently, Steven is a credentialed media member with the Mississauga Steelheads of the OHL, as well as with the Oakville Blades of the OJHL. Steven has also hosted the television show "The Hockey House" on TVCogeco in Ontario, as well as a segment under the same with on LeafsTV in Toronto. Home page: http://www.thehockeyhouse.net

Yertis Pavlodar, the Fischtown Pinguins, Angers Ducs and Neman Grodno will compete in the Continental Cup Super Final thanks to their performances during the Group D and Group E tournaments this weekend.

For Pavlodar, the club was able to finish Group D with a perfect 3-0 record. The Pinguins finished in a mere second place with five points, but it was good enough to defeat Ritten Sport in the end, who had just four points in three games. Pavlodar have been crowned the Kazakhstan Champions the past two seasons, the only two championships in the club’s history. Fischtown, who competes in the German DEL2 league, advanced to the tournament after a flawless Group B tournament a month ago, becoming one of three teams to move on from the second round to the tournaments this weekend.

In the Group E tournament, Angers Ducs and Neman Grondo were apart of a three way tie with the Belfast Giants with six points each. The winners would be decided by goal differential, and even though Belfast and Grondo each had a +2 GD, Neman Grondo would earn promotion due to having just four goals allowed in the three game tournament.

The winner of the super-final will have much to cheer about when it’s completed, as the victor, minus Fischtown who are ineligible due to competing in a second tier hockey league, will earn an automatic birth into the 2015-2016 Champions Hockey League tournament. The finals are set to be staged from January 9th-11th, 2015 in a city TBD.

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The Argentinean inline hockey national team will return to the IIHF Inline Hockey World Championships next year after winning the Rest of the World Inline Hockey Qualification this weekend.

The qualification tournament, which take place from November 19th-21st at the Peru Beach Hockey Arena in Buenos Aires, Argentina, saw Argentina, Chilie and Hong Kong battle for a chance to play in the big competition in Finland next year. It was a big moment for Argentina, who lost all five games of the 2013 IIHF Inline Hockey World Championship in their last outing. Argentina will replace the relegated Brazil team that beat them a year prior to move on.

Argentina will compete against Great Britain, Latvia and Austria in the Division 1 group, taking place from July 5th-11th in Tampere, Finland. It’s a big accomplishment for Argentina, who, in their only ever international hockey tournament, came in fourth place at the 2014 Pan-American Ice Hockey tournament in Mexico.

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Every year, I hear the same old arguments about the IIHF ranking system: “Canada won the Olympics, they’re the best”, “Oh yeah, but Sweden is always the most consistent, so wouldn’t that make them the best?”, “Th3$3 r@nkennigs suk”, etc., etc. After a while of agreeing with the system the IIHF employs, I decided to come up with my own ranking point system to see who really are the best among as many tournaments as well. In this chart, I have put together a point system to find out who the best countries at junior national competitions are.

Now, I understand that not every team takes part in all these tournaments. But regardless, the actual rankings, which take into account tournaments from 2013 and 2014, aren’t much different from where they finish each year in the standings. In fact, Finland, who recently won the 2014 World Juniors, still stays on top of the rankings while Sweden, the tournament silver medalists, come in second.

Each tournament is weighed differently depending on the importance. For junior hockey, the 2014 U20 tournament will be worth more than a 5 Nations tournament from this year due to the amount of teams and higher competition level. Tournaments from 2013 will be similar, except each point total will be just a percentage of 2014, which already is a fraction of the 1200 points the winner of a major men’s tournament would get.

Just like the IIHF, THHenwick uses the same point structure. The world champion receives 1200 points and then a 20-point interval is used between teams. However, a 40-point interval is used between gold and silver, silver and bronze, fourth and fifth, and eighth and ninth. For the junior level, each number is based off of this system, but only a certain percentage is used.

IIHF New Ranking System #THHenwick Juniors – August 31st, 2014

IIHF New Ranking System #THHenwick Juniors- November 10th, 2014

RankTeamPoints2013 Points2014 Points
1Sweden403011312899
2Russia398912392750
3Finland390211362766
4Czech Republic383811562682
5USA312410642060
6Switzerland294111401801
7Slovakia283811051733
8Canada25539531600
9Germany23257571568
10Austria19017031198
11Denmark18166211195
12Norway17586631095
13Belarus17426541088
14Italy16625541108
15Slovenia15785341044
16Latvia1534652882
17France1447614833
18Hungary1377476901
19Kazakhstan1168532636
20Poland1140490650
21Ukraine1083491592
22Great Britain1011463548
23Japan1003463540
24Netherlands932438494
25Lithuania927405522
26Romania910406504
27Croatia883425458
28South Korea856390466
29Estonia831359472
30Spain788362426
31Australia725325400
32Iceland679307372
33Serbia666298368
34New Zealand624270354
35Belgium615269346
36Mexico610272338
37China571251320
38Turkey448144304
39Bulgaria418248170
40South Africa2640264
41Israel207105102
42United Arab Emirates1919596
43Luxembourg1200120
44North Korea1001000
45Ireland70700
46England31310

Hockey Canada has named former Tampa Bay Lightning coach Guy Boucher as the newest bench boss for the Canadian national team at the Spengler Cup in December.

Boucher is currently the head coach of SC Bern of the National A League in Switzerland after a stint with the Lightning from 2010-13. Previously, Boucher was an assistant coach with Canada’s U-18 hockey program in 2006, 2007 and 2008, winning a gold in his final year with the team. He earned promotion to the U20 team for the 2009 tournament, helping Canada win their fifth straight World Junior gold medal.

“We’re excited about the staff we’ve got in place for the Spengler Cup,” said Scott Salmond, vice-president of hockey operations  with Hockey Canada. “Guy is very familiar with Hockey Canada, Serge knows this tournament extremely well, and together with our management group we’re looking forward to getting on the ice in Davos next month.”

Canada, who’s last Spengler Cup title came in 2012, is looking to improve on a less than stellar performance in 2013. Made up of players that are mainly playing in Europe, specifically Switzerland, Canada sends a team each year in the prestigious tournament, hosted by the Swiss club HC Davos. This year, Canada, Davos, HC Genève-Servette, HC Salavat Yulaev Ufa, Jokerit Helsinki and Medvescak Zagreb will compete, with Genève-Servette looking to defend their 2013 title. The tournament will take place in Davos from December 26th until December 31st.

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After failing during the 2013–14 Euro Hockey Tour campaign, the Swedish national team began the year off well with a tournament championship at the Karjala Cup.

Despite being one of the top teams consistently at international tournaments over the past few years, Sweden has struggled at the Euro Hockey Tour the past few years. The team has failed to grab a medal five times since 2007–08, and haven’t won a gold in the four team, four tournament event since 1998-1999.

That wasn’t the case in the Karjala Cup, the first tournament event of the year. Hosted in Finland every year, the home town team managed to win the overall Euro Hockey Tour title after an impressive performance across the board. Finland struggled in the final game of the tournament this weekend, with the Tre Kronor escaping with a 3-0 victory. Had Finland won the game, they would have actually been crowned the champions of the event, but a 39-save performance from Henrik Karlsson and the tournament leading fifth point from Linus Klasen secured the gold.

In the bronze medal game, Russia’s 4-2 victory over the Czech Republic was the only win they grabbed during three game tournament to take third place. Russia wasn’t short on offense, however, recording ten goals in three games due to the added offense from Alexander Radulov and Ilya Kovalchuk.

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Richard Wolowicz / HHOF-IIHF Images

Every year, I hear the same old arguments about the IIHF ranking system: “Canada won the Olympics, they’re the best”, “Oh yeah, but Sweden is always the most consistent, so wouldn’t that make them the best?”, “Th3$3 r@nkennigs suk”, etc., etc. After a while of agreeing with the system the IIHF employs, I decided to come up with my own ranking point system to see who really are the best among as many tournaments as well.

In this chart, I have put together a point system to find out who the best countries at men’s national competitions are. Now, I understand that not every team takes part in all these tournaments. But regardless, the actual rankings, which take into account tournaments from 2013 and 2014, aren’t much different from where they finish each year in the standings.

Each tournament is weighed differently depending on the importance. For this chart, the 2014 Olympics will be worth more than the Pan-Am games  due to the amount of teams and higher competition level. Tournaments from 2013 will be similar, except each point total will be just a percentage of 2014, which already is a fraction of the 1200 points the winner of a major men’s tournament would get.

Just like the IIHF, THHenwick uses the same point structure. The world champion receives 1200 points and then a 20-point interval is used between teams. However, a 40-point interval is used between gold and silver, silver and bronze, fourth and fifth, and eighth and ninth. For the men’s level, each number is based off of this system, but only a certain percentage is used.

IIHF New Ranking System #THHenwick – Men’s October 1st, 2014

IIHF New Ranking System #THHenwick – Men’s 11-9-2014

 

RankTeamPoints2013 Points2014 Points
1Sweden364910242625
2Finland35859512634
3Russia35179152602
4Canada33868312555
5Czech Republic33698962473
6 (+1)Slovakia32149862228
7 (+1)Belarus31699562213
8 (-2)USA31239112212
9Norway30639152148
10Switzerland30139392074
11Latvia29496902259
12France29317952136
13Germany28147542060
14Slovenia27397392000
15Denmark26746751999
16Austria26507561894
17 (+1)Italy25845851999
18 (-1)Kazakhstan24746001874
19Hungary24496961753
20Poland23506301720
21 (+1)Japan21235551568
22 (-1)Ukraine21016411460
23 (+1)South Korea20745401534
24 (-1)Great Britain19055251380
25Netherlands18204801340
26Romania17495891160
27Lithuania17104501260
28Croatia16204201200
29Estonia15554351120
30Spain13853451040
31Serbia13803601020
32Mexico1298300998
33Israel1270330940
34Iceland930390540
35Belgium885405480
36Australia875375500
37United Arab Emirates803271532
38New Zealand715315400
39China665285380
40Turkey610270340
41South Africa600240360
42Hong Kong588116472
43Bulgaria575255320
44North Korea525225300
45Luxembourg490210280
46Mongolia486262224
47Kuwait366100266
48Chinese Taipei360120240
49Georgia355135220
50Thailand330110220
51Macau308104204
52Singapore294102192
52India28294188
54Krygyzstan2000200
55Ireland1951950
56Malaysia1921920
57Greece1801800
58Colombia56056
59Qatar56056
60Argentina54054
61Oman54054
62Brazil52052

The Polish national team capped off a strong 2014 season with a Euro Ice Hockey Challenge tournament victory in Budapest, Hungary on Sunday.

Both Poland and Korea came out of the tournament with two victories, but the killer would be the two points Korea earned against Italy in a shootout win compared to two three point victories for Poland. The extra point sealed the deal prior to the final contest, as a 6-3 loss for Poland at the hands of the Koreans proved to mean nothing in the end.

It’s been a good year for Poland. They earned promotion to the Division IA World Championships earlier this year and it was announced just recently that they would host the tournament after Ukraine had to withdraw. At the other end of the spectrum, the recently demoted Italians, used a roster full of homegrown players after years of using ex-pats from North America. The team was unable to win a game in regulation, finishing in last place in the four team tournament.

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With nothing more than bragging rights on the line for Sunday’s game between Canada and Germany, the hometown fans still came to support their team as Germany grabbed the 2014 Deutschland Cup title despite a 4-2 loss.

Germany came into the game with an undefeated record, having won its games against Switzerland and Slovakia. Canada, on the other hand, had lost their two prior games, including a last minute defeat at the hands of Switzerland on Saturday, so only pride was on the line.

Heading into the final ten minutes of the game, Germany and Canada were tied at two apiece. That would change with seven minutes to go, when longtime NHL journeyman Steven Reinprecht potted the go ahead goal on the power-play. Germany attempted to finish the perfect record by pulling their goalie in the final minute, but Brandon Buck’s empty netter sealed the deal.

The second place game between Slovakia and Switzerland had much more on the line. Adam Lapsansky gave the Slovaks the 1-0 lead near the end of the second period, forcing the Swiss to score in the third in order to take the silver. Unfortunately for the Slovaks that’s exactly what happened as goals from Lino Martschini and Samuel Walser less than a minute apart in the third sealed the deal for the men in red and white.

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It’s not often that a championship final contains an upset, but that’s exactly what happened as Russia took home the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge gold with a 2-1 victory over the heavily favoured Americans.

The last time the Russians grabbed the gold at the tournament, the team managed to beat, you guessed it, the Americans 7-5 in a high scoring affair back in 2012. High scoring wasn’t exactly the story on Saturday, however.

With two minutes to go in the first, Vitali Abramov forced an American turnover which allowed Maxim Bain to beat goaltender Jake Oettinger for the 1-0 lead in the first. Alexander Yakovenko doubled up Russia’s lead five minutes into the second after absolutely destroying the puck with a wicked slap shot that Oettinger only wishes he was able to stop.

If anyone was going to score for USA, it was going to be Max Jones. Finishing the tournament in second place in scoring with 11 points, seven of which were goals, got the U.S. on the board with 90 seconds left with a quick shot to force a close game. The Americans pulled Oettinger in a desperate attempt to repeat as gold medalists, but their energy appeared to be drained as Russia skated away with the U17 championship for 2014. It was a disappointing finish for the Americans, who looked like the favourites thanks to the great play from Jones and Clayton Keller, the top two scorers after six games of play.

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The Slovenian national team finishes off a successful men’s hockey season with a championship at the Euro Ice Hockey Challenge in Ljubljana.

To secure the tournament victory, Slovenia needed to come out on top the bronze medal team from Japan. Austria was breathing down their necks, the same way the two teams tend to do at the World Championships. Slovenia took down the mighty Austrians in the final game, grabbing two goals from French league forward Ken Ograjenšek. Previously, Slovenia grabbed a 3-0 shutout of Belarus on Friday, a game in which Robert Kristian made a whopping 46 saves to help his team win in outstanding fashion. The team began the tournament with an easy 3-1 victory over the Japanese, who’s only victory came against Belarus on Saturday.

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The Norwegian national team have come out victorious in the Stavanger edition of the Euro Ice Hockey Challenge despite losing a 3-2 shootout decision to Denmark on Saturday night.

Denmark had many of the tournament’s top scorers, including defenseman Jesper B. Jensen, who lead the tournament with four points in three games. Despite that, Norway scored the important first goal of the game. Robin Dahlstrøm only scored one goal in the tournament, but in a game where they needed a point to secure the victory, it sure proved to come at the right time. Denmark would get a mid-second period goal from Mads Christensen to tie it up, giving him his third goal in as many games.

Neither team was able to finish the third period with the advantage, but both still managed to score a goal each. At 5:22 into the period, Daniel Sørvik turned a Mathias Trettenes pass into the go-ahead goal for the Norge. A late power-play goal by Lasse Lassen gave Denmark the tie, forcing the game into overtime. The extra frame meant that Norway had secured the tournament victory, but Lassen still added a shootout goal just to take the bragging rights as Denmark finished with a 3-2 victory.

Despite the loss, Norway had the advantage coming in. The team already had two preliminary round victories to start the tournament, while Denmark lost their first game 4-1 to Latvia. In order for Denmark to win, they would have needed to have won the game in regulation, as well as finishing with the top goal differential.

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Canada’s chances of winning the 2014 Deutschland Cup evaporated in the final minute as Switzerland took home the 2-1 victory.

Switzerland got the only goal of the first period 11 minutes in. Canada was the much better team in the first, dominating the shot total 17-7 after twenty minutes of play, but it would be Switzerland’s Samuel Walser who would grab the first goal. Walser, a forward with HC Davos in the NLA in Switzerland, isn’t known for his great scoring ability, but his good defensive play allowed him to go to the other end and beat Chris Mason for the go-ahead goal.

Canada would tie the game back up with some help from some former AHLer’s. Zach Hamill got Canada back in the game after receiving a pass from Liam Reddox in front.

What Canada didn’t know was that was actually the last goal they would score during the game. A goal by Dino Wieser in the final minute of the game allowed the Swiss to take the 2-1 victory, handing Canada their second straight loss of the tournament. Canada will take on the first place German squad tomorrow, who are looking to secure the championship gold, while Switzerland can stay alive with a victory over Slovakia.

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Sweden wasn’t able to bring home a gold medal at the 2014 U17 World Championships but they’ll certainly be happy with the bronze medal after defeating their rivals from Finland by a score of 3-1.

The favoured Swedes got the first goal of the game just 2:06 into the game. Linus Weissbach, known for his high end speed and enticing skill, beat Kimmo Rautiainen with a screened wrist shot on just the third shot of the game, giving Sweden the 1-0 lead.

The arena fell dead silent with three minutes to go in the first when Kristian Vesalainen took a puck to the head. With the Swedes looking to clear the puck, the puck hit Vesalainen in the side of the head from up close, knocking him out of the play. Vesalainen would be fine, returning to the game during the second period.

The Swedes got quite the goaltending performance from Filip Gustavsson. One of the top goaltenders in the tournament, the 2016 draft eligible prospect faced 10 shots in the second, many of them proving be tough efforts. It would one of his great sliding pad saves that allowed his team to go back the other way and score with seven minutes to go in the second. This time, William Fallström converted a 3-on-1 one-timer into Sweden’s second goal of the game, a much harder goal to score than the first.

Finland wasn’t going to give up just yet. Three minutes into the third and final period, Riku Sihvonen took a wrist shot close that got tipped past Gustavsson, allowing the Finns to trail by just one. Finland would control a lot of the momentum in the third, despite allowing the Swedes multiple power-play’s when they needed to score the most. Sweden wouldn’t be able to score with the extra man, but Oskar Steen scored his only goal of the tournament with six minutes remaining in the game. The goal proved to be the final piece of the puzzle for the Tre Kronor, who escaped with a 3-1 victory to take the bronze medal at the 2014 U17 World Hockey Challenge.

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Vladislav Sukhachyov had 31 saves and six separate players scored a goal as Russia earned a birth in the World Under-17 Challenge gold medal game thanks to a 6-1 victory over Finland.

The Russians had quite the start, scoring two goals before the game was even five minutes old. Dmitri Alexeyev’s point shot at 2:49 beat Finnish netminder Leevi Laakso between the pads, securing the 1-0 lead. Maxim Bain doubled the lead just 80 seconds later, and while it was unknown to the players at the time, it would prove to be the game winning goal.

Six minutes into the game, Emil Oksanen recorded Finland’s first and only goal of the game, knocking in a power play goal from in close to cut the lead in half. The Finnish momentum didn’t last for long, as Vitali Abramov scored ten minutes in to make it 3-1 for the eventual victors. The goal would prove to be the end for Laakso, who allowed three goals on just five shots to start the game.

Russia had a great second period, scoring two goals to continue the rampage. First, Vyacheslav picked up a rebound left by new Finnish goalie Kimmo Rautiainen to make it 4-1.  Less than two minutes after that, Dmitri Sokolov finished off a beautiful passing play between the line mates, giving his team the 5-1 lead heading into the third.

Finland were the much better team in the third. Leading the two teams in shots during the third (14-5), the team in blue and white peppered Sukhachyov with great scoring chances but came out empty handed each time. Russia, on the other end, got a sixth goal from Nikita A. Popugayev, who completed the onslaught with under two minutes remaining.

With the victory, Russia will face USA in the finals on Saturday night (7:30 p.m. ET, TSN2). Finland will face their longtime Scandinavian rivals from Sweden in the bronze medal game on Saturday afternoon (1 p.m. ET, TSN), hoping to grab just their fourth World Under-17 medal in the history of the tournament.

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Canada’s opening game at the 2014 Deutschland Cup ended in disappointment, dropping a 4-1 loss to Slovakia on Friday.

Made up of Canadians playing in Europe, Canada struggled in their last Deutschland Cup appearance, coming in fourth place. The game started off negatively for the only North American representative, as former Montreal Canadiens prospect Juraj Mikus got the ball rolling with a goal 15:20 into the first.

The second period saw Canada battle harder, leading Slovakia in shots 13-11 in the middle frame. However, a late period goal by Radek Deyl rendered the momentum useless with a goal from the blue line. It was the only goal of the second, which saw the Slovaks escape the period with a 2-0 lead.

The lone Canadian was scored early in the third by Micki Dupont, a standout each December with the Canadian Spengler Cup roster. The 5-on-3 power-play goal was assisted by Steve Reinprecht, who had a lengthy NHL career as a journeyman forward.

Any chance of a Canadian comeback ended 1:48 into the period, just 28 seconds after Dupont’s goal. With Slovakia still down a man, Adam Lapsansky managed to score a nice shorthanded goal, beating Sebastian Caron for the 3-1 goal. Roman Rac added a fourth goal for Slovakia later in the period, capping off the 4-1 victory to open up the tournament.

Canada will play again tomorrow against Switzerland, a contest that will begin at 1:45 PM EST.

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The Swedes were no match for the Americans during their semi-final contest, losing 4-1 to the tournament favourites.

Both teams came into the game hungry. USA already beat Sweden 6-3 earlier in the tournament and came in as favourites, but it would be the Swedes who got on the board first. Halfway through the first, Alexander Nylander, part of the famous hockey family that produced recent Leafs draft pick William, scored the first goal after some good passing between Pontus Karlsson and Adam Thilander. Four minutes later, however, Kailer Yamamoto gave America their first of the game after shooting an absolute laser beam past the Swedish defense and into the back of the net for the 1-1 goal.

Clayton Keller has been lights out all tournament and today was no exception. The Boston University Commit got his 11th point of the tournament after sending the puck to Anderson, who one-timed it home to make it 2-1 with 11 minutes left in the second.

USA began to run away with the came during the third. Halfway through the period, Luke Martin scored (Keller assisted) just nine seconds into a power-play chance, making it 3-1 Americans. Late in the third, Keller would get yet another point on yet another goal from Max Jones, scoring his sixth goal in five games during the tournament. The goal would be the final one, and while the score may have only been 4-1, it was truly a one-sided competition in favor of the Americans, who will move on to the finals on Saturday.

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A 2-0 loss for Canada White on Thursday finished an unfortunate hat-trick for the country, as a loss to Sweden meant no Canadian team would move on to the semi-finals on Friday.

The game only featured two goals, a much different situation than in the other two games that Canada lost in on Thursday. A large reason why had to do with Filip Gustavsson, the Luleå prospect who has been incredible all tournament long. Eligible for the 2016 NHL Entry Draft, the 16-year-old made 35 saves for the shutout on the night, his second in four games.

The first goal of the game would be scored by Linus Lindström, who had a slow start to the tournament. Canada White appeared to have most of the pressure in the minutes prior, but it would be Lindström who would rip the puck home to make it 1-0 Sweden. It didn’t take long for the Swedes to double up their lead, Lias Andersson scored a minute later to score the second and final goal of the game.

With the victory, Sweden will now face their Scandinavian rivals from Finland in the semi-finals. For Canada, the result proved to be an utter disappointment, as they became the third and final Canadian team on Thursday night to fail to contend for a medal.

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Canada Red was unable to hold on to their early first period lead, allowing Russia to advance to the semi-finals following a 4-1 victory for the visitors.

Canada would get the first goal of the game from Mr. Exceptional, Sean Day. The defenseman, who is having a stellar start to the Ontario Hockey League season with the Mississauga Steelheads,  The 16-year-old would score the only goal of the first, a power-play marker seven minutes into the period.

Canada didn’t know it yet, but it was the beginning of the end for the hometown team. Halfway through the second, German Rubtsov started the Russian scoring brigade with an even strength goal to tie the game. Canada tried to battle back, peppering Maxim Kalyayev from every angle in an attempt to take back their lead, but the Irbis Kazan goaltender stood tall with a sharp performance.

The Canadians occurred a brutal collapse in the third. First, Dmitri Sokolov gave Russia the game winning goal just three minutes into the second. Two minutes after, Sokolov was lucky again, beating Dylan Wells with a great fake deke in front to make it 3-1. Two minutes after that, Kalyayev’s teammate from Kazan, Maxim Bain, capped off the 4-1 victory with a nice little play of his own.

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The first period proved to be the Kristian Vesalainen show. Just eight minutes in, Vesalainen got the first goal of the contest when he beat David Hrenak over the glove. A few minutes later, he scored a very similar goal, this time giving Finland the 2-0 lead. A prospect with HIFK in Finland, the 15-year-old still has to wait until 2017 to hear his name called at the NHL draft, but he should be an early selection when the day finally does come.

Finland would grab the three goal lead 7:56 into the second. Ilves prospect Joona Koppanen got his first point of the tournament, turning Juha Jääskä’s pass into a goal to make it 3-0. Slovakia would get their only goal of the game on the power-play about six minutes later when Samuel Solensky recorded just the second Slovak goal of the tournament. The excitement didn’t last for long, as Vesalainen recorded the hat-trick just 13 seconds later to make it 4-1 Finland.

Finland scored their fifth and final goal of the game just three minutes into the second. With Slovakia’s Martin Krempasky sitting in the box for holding the stick, Tarmo Reunanen made it 5-1 to finish off the dominant Finnish victory. The win meant that the Finns, who sit with a 2-1-1-0 record after four games, will move onto the semi-finals on Friday, while Slovakia will play in a placement game instead.

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The Americans have advanced to the semi-finals following a big 4-1 victory over Canada Black on Thursday.

The Americans had no issue getting to this point in the tournament. Winning all three of their prior games, USA came in as the favourites heading into the quarter-finals. The Americans controlled puck possession for the better part of the first period, and their persistence paid off with the first goal of the game. 5:34 into the game, Max Jones used his trademark shot to beat Stuart Skinner over the glove, giving the Americans the 1-0 lead. It was the fourth goal for Jones, who has proven to be one of the top players in the tournament so far.

Canada’s late period penalty troubles would cost them. With Cliff Pu and Pascal Laberge in the box, Joey Anderson gave the Americans the 2-0 lead after scoring off an Adam Fox pass.

The Americans looked to have the third goal early in the second, but it appeared that Skinner had knocked the post off on the play and the goal was waved off. The Americans would build on that play, grabbing a few good scoring chances, but it would be Canada who would record the next goal. Despite being down a man, defenseman Jake Bean broke through a pair of American defenders before roofing the puck top corner, cutting the American lead to just one. Kailer Yamamoto would restore the two goal advantage for the boys in white, however, scoring a late one to make it 3-1 USA after two periods of action.

Skinner had to have quite the performance in order to keep his team alive in the game. Throughout the contest, the Americans had the much better scoring opportunities, but the Canadian goaltender stood tall. His best save of the game came on William Lockwood, who survived obstruction from a Canadian defender to get the shot on net. Skinner made the beautiful pad save, keeping the game close.

His strong play would find another flaw with 11 minutes to go in the game, however. This time, Anderson would get his second of the game, faking Bean before beating Skinner over the glove. The goal proved to be the final one, as Team USA skated to their fourth straight victory to advance to the next round.

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