Andre Ringuette/HHOF-IIHF Images

USA 2, Finland 0

Richard Wolowicz/HHOF-IIHF Images

Both USA and Finland had disappointing 3-0 losses yesterday during the semi’s, as the Americans fell to the Swiss and the Finns lost to the Swedes. Bronze wasn’t exactly what either club was looking to play, especially with how successful the tournament was for both teams in blue and white, but that’s how it had to be. It only took 58 seconds for Craig Smith to give the Americans the go ahead goal, as he recieved a pass in front from Paul Stastny before skating around Finnish goaltender Antti Raanta and placing the puck in the net. With the goal, that was Smith’s 13th point of the tourney, good enough to push him into third place in tournament scoring, while Stastny took over the second spot with his 14th point. Stastny would end up tying the tournament scoring lead with Finland’s Petri Kontiola after capitalizing on a great play with Smith once again, posting a nice wrist shot under the arm of Raanta and into the twine, making it 2-0. Heading into the third period, the Finnish team was begining to become nervous, knowing that a bronze medal was slipping away from their fingers. Finland would work its way back when Lauri Korpikoski scored two goals in 5 minutes to tie the game up in the dying minutes of the match. First, the Coyotes winger redirected a point shot from Ossi Vaananan to cut the lead in half. Kontiola would record an assist on the playing, a point that would allow the Finnish winger to take over the scoring lead. Korpikoski scored his second of the period and the game when Mikael Granlund made a nifty deke past an American defender and right on the tape of Korpy. The goal would send the game into overtime, but after nothing was decided there, the match had to be decided in the shootout. In the one on one competition, Janne Pesonen scored for Finland, which was matched on the last American shot by Alex Galchenyuk. A big save by Gibson on Korpikoski brought the talent show into extra rounds. A miss by Granlund set the stage for Galchenyuk who potted his second, this one securing the bronze for Team USA.

Sweden 3, Switzerland 1

Richard Wolowicz/HHOF-IIHF Images

Switzerland had trailed for about 14 minutes during the entire tournament, but that meant nothing coming into the finals against the hosts from Sweden. Many still thought that despite Switzerland’s incredible run that saw them win all nine games leading up to the final, they were outmatched by the much more talented. experienced Swedes. It was clear from throughout the game that the big keys to winning were to stop the Sedin’s, which they didn’t do all too well, and penetrate Jhonas Enroth, but he played yet another fantastic game. Roman Josi got things going for Switzerland, though, at 4:45 when he eluded a lax check from Loui Eriksson at the blue line and cut in on goal, backhanding the puck along the ice past Jhonas Enroth for the early 1-0 lead. It may have taken almost nine minutes for the Swedes to record their first shot on net, but they made the most of it, tying the game thanks to a Erik Gustafsson goal. The Flyers defenseman found a rebound in front of the Swiss net, and would pick the top corner with a nice shot through a screened Martin Gerber. A couple minutes afterwards, Henrik Sedin batted the puck out of midair in the crease to give the home side a 2-1 lead, much to the pleasure of the Swedish faithful. It would take until the third period for another goal to be scored, when Colorado Avalanche forward Gabriel Landeskog stole the puck on the blue line and raced in on the Swiss net all alone. Gerber stopped his attempt, but Simon Hjalmarsson punched in the rebound to give Sweden the 3-1 lead. Loui Eriksson finished off his fantastic tournament after deflecting a point shot off his skate into the net, and despite a goal review, it would count, making the score 4-1. Henrik Sedin scored an empty netter to put the game away with three minutes remaining, allowing Sweden to become the first team to win the World Championship gold medal from home since 1986, their ninth gold ever at the tournament. For Switzerland, it was the only their second silver ever after finishing runner-up in 1935, their highest finish at any level of international hockey.

Follow me on twitter, @StevenEllisNHL.

Richard Wolowicz/HHOF-IIHF Images
Richard Wolowicz/HHOF-IIHF Images

Sweden 3, Finland 0

Richard Wolowicz/HHOF-IIHF Images

This was a perfect match-up that clearly had fantastic fan support. The two hosts of the 2013 World Hockey Championships took to battle in the first semi-final of the day, a game that saw pure domination by Sweden’s top line of Loui Eriksson, Daniel and Henrik Sedin. With the win, Sweden advanced to Sunday’s gold medal game at 1pm EST and will face the undefeated Switzerland squad in the finals on Sunday. After scoring 27 times in its first eight games, Finland saw its offence dry up at a very inconvenient time, as Petri Kontiola (top scorer in the tournament with 15 points) was unable to put the puck in the net when it mattered most. At the ten minute mark,  the Swedes drew first blood with a power-play marker when Henrik Sedin’s soft flick shot from the bottom of the right faceoff circle bounced off of Eriksson’s leg and past Antti Raanta. The undisciplined Finns would allow another power-play goal against after Kontiola went off for holding for the second time in the game. Seconds into the PP, Henrik Sedin took notes from Wayne Gretzky, sending a beautiful centering pass to Eriksson from behind the net, before the Dallas Stars sniped the puck past Raanta for a 2-0 lead at 16:13. Henrik Sedin added an empty-netter in the final minute to finish the game with a 3-0 victory. At the end of the game, both countries had their top three players of the tournament named. For Finland, it was Raanta, Sami Lepistö, and Kontiola. For Sweden, it was Jhonas Enroth, Daniel and Henrik Sedin.

Switzerland 3, USA 0

Richard Wolowicz/HHOF-IIHF Images

There is no question about it, Switzerland has to be the great story of the tournament. Switzerland defeated Team USA 3-0 today to play for their first gold medal since 1935. Even if they lose, it will be the first World Championship medal for the Swiss for exactly 60 years, a huge accomplishment considering how many great players they have thrown towards the NHL during the past 15 years. The Swiss were the much better team throughout the game, and it was clear during the first period when Switzerland outshot Team USA 18-9. 19 year old goaltender John Gibson, who won the gold medal with USA at the 2013 World Junior Hockey Championships, singlehandedly kept his team in the game, but they were going to need to play a much better team game if they wanted to pull off the victory. New York Islanders prospect Nino Niederreiter put his team on the score sheet midway through the second with a beautiful wrist shot that beat Gibson glove side to give the Swiss the 1-0 lead, a goal that proved to be the eventual game winner. Julian Walker doubled the lead in the third period after getting sprung on a breakaway before ripping the puck past Gibson and into the net. The Americans did not give up easily, though, pestering Reto Berra with many shots late in the game, but Reto Suri’s empty net goal ended any chance of a USA/Sweden final. USA will take on Finland in the bronze medal game tomorrow at 10am EST.

Follow me on twitter, @StevenEllisNHL.

 

The IIHF has suspended Swedish defenseman Alexander Edler for the remainder of the World Championships for a knee-on-knee hit against Canadian forward Eric Staal.

The incident occurred at 15:52 of the first period when Edler collided with Staal at centre ice. Staal immediately fell down to the ice, favoring his leg and visibly in pain.

Edler had joined the Sweden national team on May 8th after the Vancouver Canucks were knocked out of the playoffs. Edler made his first appearance for Sweden at the under-20 level, competing in the 2006 World Junior Championships in British Columbia, Canada. He notched his lone point of the tournament, an assist, in a 10–2 round-robin win against Latvia. Sweden went on to finish in fifth place, having lost their quarterfinal game to Finland.

Sweden went on to beat Canada yesterday, taking the game 3-2 in shootout.

Follow me on twitter, @StevenEllisNHL.

Richard Wolowicz/HHOF-IIHF Images
Richard Wolowicz/HHOF-IIHF Images

The 2013 IIHF Annual Congress have awarded the 2017 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship to Cologne, Germany and Paris, France.

A joint bid by Paris and Cologne beat out rival candidate Copenhagen and Riga, Latvia, by a vote of 63-45 among federation delegates at the annual congress in Sweden. Germany recently held the 2010 World Hockey Championships, but France hasn’t held one since 1951, so this will be a huge event for the country that defeated Russia in a shocking preliminary match earlier last week.

Cologne will use Lanxess Arena, an indoor arena with a capacity of 18,500 which makes it one of the biggest venues of such kind in Europe. Paris will use Palais Omnisports de Paris-Bercy, which only has a capacity of 13,362, but the IIHF said there are plans to add about 2000 seats by the time the tournament rolls around.

Talks about other future tournaments were also mentioned. Latvia, who lost out on the bid to host the 2017 tournament, plans to make an official bid for 2018, while both Switzerland  and Slovakia showed interest in the 2019 tournament.

Follow me on twitter, @StevenEllisNHL.

Andre Ringuette/HHOF-IIHF Images
Richard Wolowicz/HHOF-IIHF Images

USA 8, Russia 3

Richard Wolowicz/HHOF-IIHF Images

So clearly the Russians weren’t interested in playing after today. Despite beating the Americans earlier in the tournament, Russia proved to be no match for USA, who easily won the match 8-3. Alex Ovechkin, who arrived yesterday after his Washington Capitals were eliminated by the New York Rangers, managed to score, but it wasn’t enough to make his trip worth while. Paul Stastny opened the scoring for the Americans at 11:53 into the first period after Russia was on their heels watching the play. Not even a minute later, St. Louis Blues forward TJ Oshie beat Ilya Bryzgalov with a wrister from the right faceoff dot exactly 40 seconds later after Tim Stapleton made a great pass right to him. Russia made it a one-goal game less than three minutes later when Alexander Svitov one-timed the shot top shelf with four minutes left in the game. Nate Thompson brought back the two goal lead when he one-timed Ryan Carter’s pass through Bryzgalov’s five-hole, before hitting the post and dribbling into the net at 5:45 into the second period. With two and a half minutes remaining in the period, Montreal Canadiens forward Alex Galchenyuk took advantage of a terrible Russian turnover in the neutral zone before Craig Smith sent the puck to Gally, who dangled Bryzgalov’s jock strap off. After the goal, Semyon Varlamov got the call between the pipes, but it would only get worse. Ovechkin managed to score right after the goalie change, making the score 4-2. Carter managed to get a goal of his own, and once again another Russian turnover proved to be costly, converting on the mishap to make it 5-2. At 3:40 of the third, Alexander Perezhogin beat John Gibson in the slot up close to cut the lead to two once again, but it meant nothing at this point. With 11:49 remaining in the game, Jacob Trouba made it 6-3 with a good shot from the point through traffic. Two quick goals by Stastny and David Moss made the final score 8-3, advancing the Americans to the Semi’s while Russia will go home with nothing.

Switzerland 2, Czech Republic 1

Andre Ringuette/HHOF-IIHF Images

Switzerland defeated Czech Republic 2-1 in their quarter-final game to advance to the semi-finals for their third time ever, first since 1998. Switzerland scored one goal apiece in the first two periods, as Denis Hollenstein gave the Swiss the lead after a great Swiss play, assisted by Reto Suri and Blindenbacher Hollenstein, to take the 1-0 lead during the first. Ryan Gardner helped create the second goal after he had a great chance in front, and a few seconds later Roman Josi was free at the faceoff circle and beat Ondrej Pavelec with a powerful slap shot. The Czech Republic cut the lead in the third with Zdenek Kutlak’s power play goal at 5:29. The last seconds of the game turned out to be dramatic after Switzerland got a delay of  game penalty with only 22.8 seconds left in the game. Down a goal during the most important time of the tournament, the Czechs managed to create two big chances but Martin Gerber made some fantastic saves to give Switzerland their eighth straight win in the tournament. The Swiss will take on USA on Saturday in the first of two semi-final match-ups.

Finland 4, Slovakia 3

Richard Wolowicz/HHOF-IIHF Images

The Finns may have blown a 3-0 lead, but they still manage to survive the hard charging Slovaks to advance to the semi-finals. The Slovaks, who made it to the final last year and claimed the silver medal after falling to Russia, will go home early this year, along with the reigning champions. Finland had a great start to the game, as Ossi  Väänänen’s fluky shot from the point at 1:31 found the back of the net with Antti Pihlström screening Slovak netminder Rastislav Stana , who made 21 saves for Slovakia. At 9:49 of the first, Finland doubled their lead when Petri Kontiola completed a great three-way passing play with linemates Juhamatti Aaltonen and Janne Pesonen, before making Stana look helpless with a great deke. Kontiola, who has 15 points in the tournament, currently sits first in tournament scoring.  Kontiola got his second goal of the game, stretching Finland’s lead to 3-0 after grabbing a loose puck in front and shoveling it into the twine. With three goals in the first, it looked as though Finland had the game all but won, but Slovakia hadn’t given up just yet. Slovakia managed to get one of their own at 5:03 of the second when Michel Miklik lifted a good wrist shot down the middle through traffic that Antti Raanta was unable to get a handle on, making the score 3-1. At 12:17 of the middle frame, defenseman Andrej Sekera’s rising shot from the center point beat a screened Ranta, and it was all of a sudden close again. Just 30 seconds into the third period, Branko Radivojevic banged a loose puck right to Tomas Surovy who put in the 3-3 tying marker. Aaltonen put an end to the Slovakian comeback when he whipped the disk high over Stana at 8:13 of the third, giving Finland the goal needed to take the win.

Follow me on twitter, @StevenEllisNHL.

Andre Ringuette/HHOF-IIHF Images
Andre Ringuette/HHOF-IIHF Images

Slovakia 4, USA 1

Richard Wolowicz/HHOF-IIHF Images

Slovakia needed a win to gain in a birth in the quarter-finals, and that’s exactly what they did. It was clear throughout the match that the Slovaks were the more desperate team, and with the Americans already in the quarter’s, it didn’t mean anything to them if they lost or not. Slovakia did the same thing last year, winning their final preliminary game before going all the way to the World Championship finals, however they came just short as the red-hot Russians won the championship. The game started off horribly for the Americans, who gave up the first goal of the game only 15 seconds in. Goaltender Ben Bishop, who is known for his ability to play the puck, hit Tomas Kopecky’s leg on a clearing attempt behind the net, and the puck went right to Branko Radivojevic who tapped it in the empty net to give Slovakia a 1-0 lead. Just over three minutes later, the game was over as Miroslav Satan played the puck to Martin Bartek, who ripped the puck into the back of the net behind a shocked Bishop. During the second period, Nashville Predators forward Craig Smith, who happens to be second in team scoring, received a game misconduct for checking to the head. On the ensuing power-play, Slovakia took advantage, René Vydareny, who was all alone in front of Bishop, had an easy chance to score, and that’s what he did.  With 46 seconds remaining in the period, however, Montreal Canadien prospect Danny Kristo ended Rastislav Stana’s shutout campaign, but the goal meant nothing as Slovakia scored one more before the game was over. Slovakia scored the fourth goal on an empty net to take home the 4-1 victory, good enough to finish fourth in the group and grab the final playoff spot.

Switzerland 4, Belarus 1

Andre Ringuette/HHOF-IIHF Images

Who could have predicted this? Switzerland finished the preliminary round with seven wins and no losses, its best record ever, and the only team this year to have a perfect record. Nashville Predators defenseman Roman Josi got the team off to a fantastic start during the opening frame when he got into the opposing zone at top speed before shooting a laser beam past Vitali Belinski, handing Switzerland the 1-0 advantage. Switzerland put a ton of pressure on Belarus for the remainder of the game, but neither team managed to put the puck in until the third period, when the puck found itself into the back of the net more than once.  made it 2-1 with nine minutes remaining in the game when Matthias Bieber ripped a power-play shot under the blocker of Belinksi and into the net to give the Swiss a 2-1 lead. Three minutes later, Julian Walker received a great pass from Bieber before burying the rubber into the twine. Walker later hit the empty net to close out the scoring with 58.4 seconds remaining, giving Switzerland their final goal of the 4-1 victory.

Germany 3, France 2

Richard Wolowicz/HHOF-IIHF Images

Germany defeated France 3-2 in the final game for both teams today as neither country was good enough to move on to the quarter-final round. The game, that had nothing on the line but glory, still managed to be very entertaining with a ton of hard hitting and good goaltending. Julien Desrosiers opened the scoring for France at 1:42 with the man advantage. With under four minutes left, the Germans had a good power play chance when Marcel Goc shot the puck off the post, but Christian Erhoff was there to knock it in and tie the game at one. The French went up 2-1 with 5:03 remaining in the second period when Antoine Roussel fired a left-side shot that chipped goalie Rob Zepp’s shoulder and into the net. Wolf made it 2-2 for Germany a minute and a half into the last twenty after Frank Hördler’s shot hit Cristobal Huet and went right to him, wasting no time converting on the rebound. The game needed overtime to decide the winner after a hard fought game that really should have meant more based on how good it was. A minute in, Florida Pantthers centreman Marcel Goc knocked France’s Yohann Auvitu off the puck in the corner and, from behind the goal line, sent a cross-crease backhand pass to Ehrhoff, who got his second goal of the game, and it was an important one as Germany won the game 3-2.

Czech Republic 7, Norway 0

Andre Ringuette/HHOF-IIHF Images

Man, this game was close. Alright, fine, it was a snooze fest. Better? There really wasn’t too much excitement to this match up that saw the Czech’s just walk away with their easiest win of the tournament. Tomas Plekanec, who recently joined the squad after the Montreal Canadiens were eliminated from the playoffs, was the highlight of the winning team, recording three assists in the third period. His first took only one minute after he took a shot which was jammed home by Tomas Fleischmann for the first goal. Five and a half minutes later, Plekanec fed the puck to Fleischmann who once again potted home a goal. Plekanec made the play of the game later in the frame when he poked the puck past the Norwegian defensemen after the faceoff before getting the puck to an open Jiri Tlusty, who made it 3-0. Norway was never close to even threaten the Czechs in this game and it only got worse for them. Martin Hanzal made it 4-0 and later his Phoenix Coyotes teammate Zbynek Michalek made it 5-0, but the scoring wasn’t done there. Radim Vrbata and Zbynek Irgl added goals 21 seconds apart midway through the third to make the game worse for Norway, who lost 7-0 after a disappointing tournament that wont see them move on to the quarters.

Finland 3, Latvia 2

Richard Wolowicz/HHOF-IIHF Images

Latvia was already eliminated from making the quarter-finals but considering how well they played, it almost seemed like Finland was the team that missed the cut-off. Despite Latvia’s strong play, Finland still has the stronger talent, and eventually won the game 3-2. Latvia took the 1-0 lead by a one-timer from Gints Meija, beating Antti Raanta with a high shot over the glove side at the eight minute mark. Sakari Salminen tied the game the very next shift with an impressive wrist shot, wasting no time keeping the game close. Mikael Granlund gave Finland the lead with a top shelf laser beam, recording his first goal of the tournament in only. The goal managed to come on their sixth power-play of the match that was only 10 minutes in! With 3:47 remaining in the game, Finnish league player Roberts Jekimovs one timed the puck right through Raanta’s five-hole to tie the game up at two for Latvia. The game was sent into extra time, and Antti Pihlström’s overtime winning goal against Latvia gave Finland the group win after a game that left more to be desired by the hometown fans in blue and white.

Sweden 4, Denmark 2

Andre Ringuette/HHOF-IIHF Images

Sweden concluded the preliminary round by beating Denmark 4-2 today, but it almost looked like Denmark was going to win the game. The Danes managed to outplay Sweden for much of the first half of the game, but it was clear the better team was going to win the game in the end. Denmark opened the scoring at 7:40 of the first period when Kirill Starkov found Morten Madsen with a pass through the crease, and after a little bit of a delay, Madsen put the puck past Jacob Markström. During the second period, Denmark took more of a defensive approach, hanging three guys back in a trap-style game. That led to Daniel Sedin tying the game up, who took a Loui Eriksson pass from behind the net before roofing it behind Danish goaltender Patrick Galbraith. Kirill Starkov managed to hand the lead back to Denmark after Madsen directed the shot towards the net to make it 2-1. Behind by one heading into the third, it only took 22 seconds for Henrik Sedin to tie the game up at two after smashing the puck past Galbraith. Not too long afterwards, a backhand pass from Oscar Lindberg went right to Martin Thörnberg, who backhanded the rubber disk into the net, making the game 3-2. Thörnberg added a second marker after splitting the defense late in the game, finishing the game with a 4-2 victory. Sweden will now face Canada in the quarter finals on Thursday, while Latvia gets to watch the game from the stands.

QUARTER-FINAL MATCH-UPS:

Group “H” (Helsinki):

Russia vs. USA
Finland vs. Slovakia

Group “S” (Stockholm):

Switzerland vs. Czech Republic
Canada vs. Sweden

Follow me on twitter, @StevenEllisNHL.

Christinne Muschi/Reuters/File
Christinne Muschi/Reuters/File

The Russian national team confirmed today that Alex Ovechkin will be joining the squad for their playoff push at the 2013 World Hockey Championships.

Ovechkin’s Washington Capitals lost in game 7 of the Stanley Cup playoffs’ first round on Monday night against the New York Rangers, prompting him to join Russia.

This will be his ninth World Championship for Russia. He helped Russia win the gold medal twice, first in 2008 and second in 2012 and also played in the last two Olympic Winter Games.  Ovechkin is a finalist for the 2013 Hart Trophy as the NHL’s most valuable player after scoring 32 goals this season to earn his third Maurice (Rocket) Richard Trophy as the league’s top goalscorer.

My question for you: should NHLers be able to join international clubs after the World Championships begin?

Follow me on twitter, @StevenEllisNHL.

Richard Wolowicz/HHOF-IIHF Images
Richard Wolowicz/HHOF-IIHF Images

Latvia 3, France 1

Richard Wolowicz/HHOF-IIHF Images

Latvia needed three points to avoid relegation for next year’s World Hockey Championships, and three points they got. France needed to win the game just to stay in the quarter-final hunt, but even after beating Russia earlier in the tournament, they will be on the outside looking in with one game remaining. The first period was a great back in forth affair with both teams playing with a ton of urgency. A French penalty at the 14 minute mark of the first allowed Latvia to get on the board first, as Ralfs Freibergs took a shot from the point, Janis Sprukts deflected it in the slot, only to have Martins Cipulis put in the rebound to give the Latvians the 1-0 lead. Five minutes into the second period, France turned the puck over in the neutral zone in what turned out to be a lethal play for their opponents as Sprukts beat Cristobal Huet with a quick wrister while on the breakaway, making the score 2-0. Latvia had done a great job all game of keeping the French offense away from the net during their power-plays, however they couldn’t do it forever as France cut the lead in half after the first of two penalties in a row expired during the early stages of the third. Yorick Treille played the puck to the front of the net where Julien Desrosiers was all alone and he one-timed it in past Kristers Gudlevskis. Sprukts got his third point of the game when he set up Lauris Darzins in the slot in the dying minutes of the final period to give the Latvians the 3-1 victory.

Denmark 3, Belarus 2

Andre Ringuette/HHOF-IIHF Images

Denmark may have blown a three goal advantage going into the final period today, but they managed to walk away with the victory thanks to three goals in the first half of the game. It’s been clear to everyone that Denmark has struggled here at the 2013 World’s, with multiple NHLer’s taking part in the NHL playoffs, but their win against Belarus was good enough to help avoid relegation, as it would have been their first time in over 10 years that they would have been demoted. At 6:31 of the first period, Philip Larsen scored a power play goal on a nice slap shot from the blue line to make it 1-0 early. Nicklas Jensen scored his second goal in two games after recently joining the Danes after his Canucks were swept by the San Jose Sharks in the playoffs to make it 2-0. Before even reaching the half way mark of the game, Morten Green fired a slapshot and scored shorthanded to make the score 3-0 for the Danes. Dmitri Milchakov, who was between the pipes for the only three goals Denmark scored, was replaced by Vasili Belinski, who made twelve saves on twelve shots for the remaining part of the game. The change added momentum for the struggling squad, who managed to score two goals in about four minutes. First, Konstantin Koltsov reduced the lead to two at 32:10 with a beautiful goal from the faceoff circle into the upper right corner.Soon after, Roman Graborenko took advantage of a poor Danish defensive play that saw Simon Nielsen hand the puck right to him before one timing into the net. Unfortunately for Belarus, their three goals against early in the game was all it took for them to be put into a whole and they were unable to recover, losing to Denmark 3-2.

Russia 8, Austria 4

Richard Wolowicz/HHOF-IIHF Images

At one point in this blowout, it looked as though Austria had the edge. Yup, that seems weird for a team that allowed eight goals against, but it’s true. However, their loss turned out to be very costly as they have been demoted down to Division 1A for the 2014 World Hockey Championships. Former Montreal Canadiens forward Alex Perezhogin opened the scoring for Russia at 1:25 after Sergei Mozyakin fed him a great pass and he one- timed it past René Swette. It wasn’t a good start for Swette, who was playing in his first ever World Hockey Championship game. At 8:15, Ilya Kovalchuk took over the tournament scoring lead, recording his eigth goal of the tournament after a fantastic give-and-go with Alexander Radulov. Austria cut the lead to 2-1 less then a minute later when Robert Lukas took advantage of a poor mistake by Perezhogin before putting the puck into the net. Buffalo Sabres star Thomas Vanek tied the game at two just fifteen seconds later, fooling Semyon Varlamov after deflecting a ripper from the point. With 4:04, Austria stunned the Russians when Thomas Raffl deflected Vanek’s shot past Varlamov’s pad and into the twine to give Austria the lead. Ilya Nikulin tied the score at three with only a few minutes remaining in the period. Alexander Radulov put Russia up 4-3 five minutes into the second after sniping one past Swette. Sergei Mozyakin made it 5-4 for Russia when he converted the rebound from Nikulin’s point shot halfway through the frame, and the game just went away there. With 2:41 left in the second, a shorthanded marker by Sergei Soin gave Russia a two-goal gap. Russia added two goals in the third to secure an easy looking 8-4 win.

Canada 4, Slovenia 3

Andre Ringuette/HHOF-IIHF Images

That was a scary game for every Canadian fan. After it was announced that Slovenia would join Austria in Division 1A next year, Canada expected an easy win. But after giving up two goals early, it wasn’t looking so good. Jan Urbas shocked Canada with two goals in the first half of the opening period. He first scored at 5:53 in the first when he got past three Canadian defense before shooting the puck past Devan Dubnyk and into the net. His second goal was the result of a superb long pass from David Rodman that left Urbas to deal with two Canadian defensemen. Somehow, he managed to get past both of them before snapping a hard shot past Dub’s glove. Slovenia kept the lead until the early part of the second period when Canada scored two quick goals to tie the game up at two. Matt Duchene got the first goal just 2:01 into the period when he capitalized on a rebound due to a Jordan Staal shot, beating 2013 NHL draft eligible goaltender Luka Gracnar, who played one of the best games of his young career today. Just 50 seconds later, Tampa Bay Lightning forward Stamkos tied the game at two with his first of two markers in the game. Slovenia managed to take back the lead only five minutes later when Tomaz Razingar scored after deflecting a point shot from Luka Tosic, shocking the Canadians who expected an easy win. Slovenia would hang on to the lead for another twenty minutes before Dallas Stars defenseman Brenden Dillon scored his first goal ever at an International hockey event for Canada from the point. The game required overtime, and after Brian Campbell sent Steven Stamkos in alone in overtime, the game was decided as Stammer got his second of the game at the halfway mark of the extra frame, handing Canada the 4-3 victory.

Follow me on twitter, @StevenEllisNHL.

AP Photo/Matt Slocum
AP Photo/Matt Slocum

Three players are facing suspensions at the 2013 World Championships today as Canada’s Luke Schenn, Austria’s Daniel Welser and Belarus’ Ilya Kaznadei will all be suspended one game each.

Schenn got an automatic one game suspension due to the match penalty in yesterday’s game against the Czech Republic for checking Zbynek Irgl from behind. Irgl left the ice with an injury following the incident. Welser is suspended after receiving a game misconduct for slashing against Finland. Welser put his stick between the legs of Finnish defenseman Lasse Kukkonen and drove it into the groin area of the opponent. Kaznadei wasn’t even penalized for his check to the head of Norway’s Anders Bastiansen, but the IIHF disciplinary panel deemed his hit illegal and handed him a one game suspension as a result. 

In other news, Team Canada announced that they had added Montreal Canadiens defenseman PK Subban to the blue line core for the remainder of the tournament.

Subban was named a finalist for the James Norris Memorial Trophy last week, given annually to the top defenseman in the NHL. Subban lead NHL defensemen in scoring with 38 points (11 goals, 27 assists) in 42 games this season, a feat considering he missed a few games at the beginning of the season due to no contract. Subban played in two World Junior Championships, winning two gold medals in 2008 and 2009.

Follow me on twitter, @StevenEllisNHL.

Andre Ringuette/HHOF-IIHF Images
Richard Wolowicz/HHOF-IIHF Images

USA 4, France 2

Richard Wolowicz/HHOF-IIHF Images

Just days ago, the French shocked the hockey world by beating the Russian’s in what should have been an easy game for the powerhouse squad in red. However, France was not able to take down the Americans, who managed to lose to Russia earlier this week, as the boys in white took down the French 4-2 to take first place in the Helsinki pool. The Americans were unable to score on an early power-play opportunity, however right after the French killed off a penalty, Tim Stapleton got the puck on the blueline, sending a shot towards the French net and Stephen Gionta deflected it past Cristobal Huet in France’s goal. Team USA made it 2-0 with only two minutes remaining after Stapleton got the puck in the corner. He sent the puck across into the slot to Drew LeBlanc, who sent the disk to Bobby Butler and into the net. France came back in the second period, as Kevin Hecquefeuille took advantage of the 5-on-3 opportunity that saw strong passing towards him and his line mates before putting the puck into the net. With 8:23 remaining in the third period, Paul Stastny had an easy backhand shot into an open net after Huet had committed to a play by Craig Smith, but he fanned on the shot and the puck rolled right to Stastny before he put it past the defeated former NHLer. Less then two minutes later, the USA finally capitalized on one of their many power-plays,  as game MVP David Moss tipped the puck in for the game winning goal. Yorick Treille scored the consolidation goal for France with two minutes remaining but it meant nothing as USA skated to the top of the Helsinki pool at the 2013 World Hockey Championships.

Switzerland 4, Denmark 1

Andre Ringuette/HHOF-IIHF Images

Switzerland continued their incredible run at the 2013 World Championships with their fifth straight win, taking down the Danes 4-1. The win meant the Swiss, who took over the top spot in the Stockholm group, has earned their way into the quarter-finals. Switzerland’s Cunti scored. Denis Hollenstein passed the puck to Simon Bodenmann whose shot was saved but Cunti was on the doorstep to put it in with a second effort. Only 1:55 into the game, Switzerland took the lead when Luca Cunti pushed in a power play rebound from close range. That would be the only goal scored in the first as the game saw very little action to start off. It took until the eleven minute mark of the second period for the second goal to be scored, Ryan Gardner received a nice pass from Roman Josi to record the second power play goal of the game. Three minutes later Denmark found their way back to the when Nicklas Jensen, who just made the trek over to Europe after finishing his season with the Vancouver Canucks, hit it home to cut the lead in half. The Swiss regained their two goal lead in the third Swiss who took it when a shot by Reto Suri beat Patrick Galbraith on the glove side, maybe one he should have stopped. Nino Niederreiter shot the puck between Galbraith’s skate and the post to make it 4-1 with only five minutes remaining in the game to put it all away.

Sweden 2, Slovenia 0

Andre Ringuette/HHOF-IIHF Images

Despite the fact they forced forty shots towards the Slovenian netminder, Sweden only managed to beat Luka Gracnar twice, winning the battle 2-0. The Swedes dominated the first period heavily with 19 shots to start the game compared to the four their opponents had. Sweden opened the scoring only six minutes into the second period when Colorado Avalanche forward Gabriel Landeskog was left all alone in front of the net before slamming the puck into the back of the net. After the first two periods, Sweden managed to force 34 shots on Gracnar, who put up an unbelievable performance in only his first game of the tournament. Fredrik Petterson scored over Gracnar’s shoulder on his stick side at 2:51 of the third period, however, and that would prove to be all Sweden needed to take the extra three points. Luckily for the Swedes, their scoring should get some extra punch when both Henrik and Daniel Sedin will join the yellow and blue for the next game against Denmark.

Germany 2, Latvia 0

Richard Wolowicz/HHOF-IIHF Images

Germany kept their quarter-final hopes alive after besting the red-hot Latvians 2-0 today. The German’s rode on the back of their goaltender, Rob Zepp, who earned his second consecutive shutout with yet another fantastic performance. The Latvians failed to capitalize on a barrage of Germany penalties during the first, including a two-man advantage lasting over a minute, and that could have been the difference between the team scoring and their actual result. Their best chance of the game came when Miks Indrasis had a breakaway with less then two minutes to go in the first, however he couldn’t get the puck past Zepp. Philip Gogulla drew first blood for the Germans during the second period when he skated behind the net and gave a brilliant back hand pass to Christoph Ullmann whose great shot from the slot found its way into the back of the net. Patrick Hager doubled the German lead with a fast shot from within the slot that went directly under the crossbar minutes later, putting the cap on an impressive defensive effort by the Germans. Latvia poured on the pressure during the third period, however they were unable to put the puck in the back of the net.

Norway 3, Belarus 1

Andre Ringuette/HHOF-IIHF Images

Talk about durability. Norwegian defenseman Jonas Holøs played 29:26 minutes, the most of anybody in a single game during the entire tournament so far today. Meanwhile, his team was able to take down Belarus 3-1 in a game that pushed Norway into fourth place in Group S action. Norway opened the scoring at 3:55 when Martin Røymark got to a loose puck behind the Belarus net before before ripping a pass into the slot to Per-Åge Skrøder. Skrøder forced a quick shot past Vitali Belinski, who was playing his first ever game for Belarus, to give the Norwegians the 1-0 lead. Late in the period, Andreas Martinsen  drilled Andrei Filichkin from behind along the boards, earning a major and game misconduct penalty. Expect him to get a suspension in the coming days. Skrøder got his second on the night when he knocked in a rebound off a Mats Trygg point shot at 5:58 in the second period. Anders Bastiansen closed out the scoring for Norway at 14:18 of the third with a high shot that caught Belinski by surprise. Alexander Kulakov scored with 1:33 remaining to break Haugen’s shutout.

Follow me on twitter, @StevenEllisNHL.

Getty Images
Getty Images

With both the Montreal Canadiens and Minnesota Wild getting eliminated this week from the NHL playoffs, Alex Galchenyuk has joined Team USA, Tomas Plekanec is signed up with the Czech’s and Mikael Granlund will join Finland for the remaining games of the World Hockey Championships.

Plekanec played in three junior international tournaments with the Czech Republic. He was named to the under-18 team at the 2000 IIHF World U18 Championships, where he contributed 2 points in 6 games. He then helped the Czechs to a gold medal at the 2001 World Junior Championships with 2 points in 7 games. He made his second consecutive World Junior appearance in 2002 and improved to 7 points in 7 games. After his first NHL season, Plekanec competed in the 2006 World Championships, where the Czech Republic captured a silver medal in Latvia. Plekanec scored the Czech’s first goal in the semi-final, helping the team defeat Finland 3–1. He went on to make his second and third consecutive World Championships appearances in 2007 and 2008, as well as getting his first Olympics appearance in 2010. He was a member of the bronze medal Czech team at the 2011 World Championships.

Gally won a gold medal with the U.S. at the U20 World Championship earlier this year while a member of the OHL’s Sarnia Sting. In 48 NHL games in his rookie season he scored nine goals and had 18 assists. He also played in five playoff games, recording one goal and two assists. His dad, Alex Sr., was selected to represent the Soviet Union at the 1987 World Junior Ice Hockey Championships where he played 13 games and scored 5 points before the Soviet team was disqualified from the tournament following an on-ice brawl with the Canadian Team. He was also selected to play with the senior Soviet Union team that competed for the 1991 Canada Cup. He would also play for Belarus at multiple national hockey events later in his career.

Granlund, member of the 2011 team that won gold, will play in his third consecutive World Championship. In 19 WC games, he has totaled three goals and eleven points, including a highlight reel lacrosse goal against Russia in 2011. He has played with the Finnish national junior team at both the Under-18 and Under-20 World Championships in 2009 and 2010. At the 2010 U18 Championship, Granlund recorded the most assists in the tournament with nine, and his total thirteen points was the third best in the tournament, as he helped Finland win its second consecutive bronze medal. At the 2010 World Junior Championship, he was Finland’s top scorer with seven points as the team finished fifth overall. He played 27 NHL games (2 goals, 6 assists) and 34 AHL games (11 goals, 20 assists) this season, split between the Minnesota Wild and Houston Aeros.

Follow me on twitter, @StevenEllisNHL.

Richard Wolowicz/HHOF-IIHF Images
Andre Ringuette/HHOF-IIHF Images

Czech Republic 4, Slovenia 2

Andre Ringuette/HHOF-IIHF Images

Since 2003, the Czechs have not lost to Slovenia ever at a World Championship event, and today was no exception. Slovenia, however, put up an impressive effort, keeping the game tied at two for a big portion of the match. The Czech’s got the first goal of the game while down a man when Petr Koukal forced a turnover at the point before breaking in all alone on Robert Kristan and placing the puck into the net. Slovenia bounced back quickly, however, and forty-two seconds later Robert Sabolic and scored off a rebound in front after Robert Sabolic and Rok Ticar’s slapshot from the point was saved, making the game 1-1. Slovenia took the lead thanks to a terrible play by their opponents in the Czech zone, leading to Ticar scoring his third of the tournament. With 43.1 remaining in the first Jiri Hudler tied it up. Hudler’s fourth goal of the tournament and third on the power play brought the Czechs right back. After six minutes into the second, the Czechs called a time out when they got their first powerplay chance of the frame, and it paid off as Zbynek Michalek scored only 13 seconds into the PP. With four minutes remaining in the game, the Czechs finished off the win when Jiri Novotny scored another power play marker from close range in front of Kristan. Due to the loss, Slovenia now needs at least four points from the last two games against Canada and Sweden to avoid relegation.

Austria 2, Slovakia 1

Richard Wolowicz/HHOF-IIHF Images

Slovakia, like Russia, is on a surprising cold streak. After losing to Latvia 5-3 yesterday, they once again were unable to defeat their underdog opponents, this time being Austria. Slovakia opened the scoring halfway through the first period, though. After placing Austria on the edge of their toes for the first few minutes, Branko Radivojevic found Michal Sersen wide open in the slot, but after the puck didn’t cross the goal line. Tomas Surovy grabbed the rebound, and snapped it in with a spin-o-rama shot. Slovakia was unable to capitalize on their lead after the goal against, however, and it was shown when an Austrian point shot created a scramble in front of the Slovak net before Gerhard Unterluggauer fired a slap shot right behind the sprawling Rastislav Stana. The game would turn out to be a hard fought battle between the two squads, sending the game to overtime after neither squad were able to put the puck in the net. Austria dominated the extra frame, and Slovakia didn’t even have any puck possession in Austria’s zone. In the shootout, Bernhard Starkbaum stopped all three Slovakian shooters, while Buffalo Sabres star Thomas Vanek scored the lone shootout goal, giving Austria the surprising 2-1 win.

Finland 3, Russia 2

Richard Wolowicz/HHOF-IIHF Images

After losing 2-1 to France in easily the biggest upset seen during the past couple of years, Russia gave up three points once again to Finland, losing 3-2 after another close game. The game started perfectly for Finland when Petri Kontiola received a pass at only the three minute mark of the first period to get the early lead with a one-timer into the right top corner. Only 3:37 into the second period, Alex Radulov got the 1-1 equalizer on the power play thanks to yet again another great give and go play with Ilya Kovalchuk. After intense Finnish pressure throughout the second was unable to create a viable scoring chance, Kontiola made it 2-1 at 7:21 with a blast that soared over the shoulder of Semyon Varlamov. With four minutes left in the second period, Janne Pesonen sent a perfect pass from the right faceoff to the left, where Juhamatti Aaltonen one-timed it into the twine to make it 3-1 Finland. The Russians layed on the pressure in a desperate attempt to catch up on the scoreboard, however they were only able to score when Varlamov was pulled for an extra attacker near the end of the game. With two minutes remaining in the game, Devils star Kovalchuk managed to rip it home, however it was too late as the Russians were unable to come back and Finland skated home to another win. The Finns now are first in the Helsinki group with 11 points while the Russians are second with 9 points.

Canada 4, Belarus 1

Andre Ringuette/HHOF-IIHF Images

Canada was expected to easily defeat Belarus after beating Sweden 3-0 yesterday, and they did just that. Ryan O’Reilly opened the scoring at 11:17 after Jordan Staal stripped Roman Graborenko off the puck behind the Belarus net. Jeff Skinner picked up the loose puck and made a quick pass to O’Reilly, who easily rifled it into the Belarus net. Before the period was over, Andrew Ladd ripped a laser beam of a shot over the glove of Dmitri Milchakov, doubling their score to 2-0. Canada made it 3-0 at 5:27  when the skillful Claude Giroux dangled his way through the Belarus defence, before sending the puck off to Steven Stamkos who had an easy open net opportunity. Giroux got his second goal of the game when he took the puck behind the Belarus net and faked a shot one way before going underneath the blocker of Milchakov and into the net. Alexei Yefimeko scored late for Belarus to end Canada’s shutout streak at 145:34, going back to the second period of the Norway game. The win gives Canada 13 points, two more than the undefeated Swiss who have played one less game to date.

Follow me on twitter, @StevenEllisNHL.

Mike Hewitt/Getty Images
Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

Team Canada announced today that they have added Vancouver Canucks defenceman Dan Hamhuis to their blue line core for the remainder of the tournament.

The Canucks were swept in the first round of NHL playoffs by the San Jose Sharks earlier this week, prompting Sweden to bring on The Sedin Twins and Alex Edler, as well as Denmark bringing in Nicklas Jensen.

Hamhuis played in four straight world championships for Canada from 2006 to 2009.  Hamhuis was invited to Team Canada’s 46-player orientation camp, held in Calgary for the 2010 Winter Olympics, and while he participated in the three-day camp in August 2009, he was not selected to the Olympic squad. Hamhuis played for the Canadian national junior team at the 2001 and 2002 World Junior Championships. He won a bronze medal with Canada in his first year at the tournament in Moscow, Russia, contributing an assist in seven games. The following year in Pardubice, Czech Republic, he recorded three points in six games, tying with for Carlo Colaiacovo for the team lead in scoring among defencemen. He was sidelined during the tournament with an injured shoulder, sustained after being hit from behind into the boards in a game against Russia. He returned to help Canada to a silver medal, losing in the gold medal game to Russia 5–4.

Follow me on twitter, @StevenEllisNHL.

Latvian forward Zemgus Girgensons has been suspended for butt-ending his stick in retaliation to a check by Slovak defenceman Branislav Mezei.

The incident occurred during the first period in the game between Slovakia and Latvia on Thursday with the score 2-1 for Latvia. Girgensons will miss Latvia’s next game on Saturday against Germany.

participated at the 2012 World Junior Ice Hockey Championships as well as at the 2010 IIHF World U18 Championships.  Girgensons was ranked 18th amongst North American skaters in Central Scouting’s final rankings prior to the 2012 NHL Draft before getting drafted and signing his first pro contract with the Buffalo Sabres.

Follow me on twitter, @StevenEllisNHL.

Richard Wolowicz/HHOF-IIHF Images
Richard Wolowicz/HHOF-IIHF Images

France 2, Russia 1

Richard Wolowicz/HHOF-IIHF Images

Don’t worry, I had to double check the score too. Yes, France actually managed to take down the Russian’s in one of the biggest upsets in recent years. No doubt, this will be the biggest win France has ever had as it was their first victory ever in six tries against Russia at the IIHF World Championships, dating back to 1992. The first period was a nervous one for the Russians as the French outshot them, however Russia would turn on the pressure throughout the rest of the game. At 6:42 of the second period, KHL all-time leading scorer Alexander Radulov was awarded a penalty shot when he was hooked on a near-breakaway by Pierre-Edouard Bellemare, but French third stringer Florian Hardy made a flashy glove save after the Russian goal scorer went backhand. Just fifteen seconds after the lone attempt, Alexander Perezhogin got the game going, wrapping around the net before beating Hardy with a high shot that went in on the short side. Only three minutes later, France tied it when Damien Fleury got the puck past Russian third goalie Vasili Koshechkin and into the net. With four minutes to go in the period, Antoine Roussel stunned the Russians as he scored the eventual game winner that handed the 2-1 win to France. The French called a timeout to ensure they didn’t mess things up after taking an icing call with only a few second remaining in the game, but clearly the Russians had under-estimated the French, who kept their quarter-final hopes alive with the win.

Denmark 1, Czech Republic 2 (SO)

Andre Ringuette/HHOF-IIHF Images

The World Championships almost saw its second upset of the day when Denmark took their first ever point against the Czech Republic in a close game that saw the Czechs winning 2-1 after shootout. The game was a close one with both teams scoring in the final period, forcing the match to go to shootout. For the first 45 minutes, it was a game between two teams that weren’t willing to make mistakes and played very defensively, providing very small shot clock totals (The Czechs outshot Denmark 7-4 in the first period). The second period was quite the same, creating a very boring match for the few fans in attendance. It wasn’t until there was six minutes left in the third period for the first goal of the game to be scored as Zbynek Michalek broke the deadlock with a somewhat weak shot that went off the blocker side post and into the net. Denmark would tie the game with four minutes left when the Morten Poulsen had an easy tap in at the far post after a nice set up by former Montreal Canadiens draft pick Kim Staal, who got past the Czech defense before passing the puck from behind the net. The goal gave the Danes so much hope, knowing the game was in reach, and with it going in overtime, there was no time to lose. Zbynek Irgl’s two goals in the shootout closed the books on a game that saw the majority of its excitement in the closing stages.

Latvia 5, Slovakia 3

Richard Wolowicz/HHOF-IIHF Images

Hey look at that, another surprise. This time, it came at the expense of Slovakia, as Latvia had easily their best game of the tournament, taking home the 5-3 victory. Latvia began the game with a hot start, as Janis Sprukts won the faceoff cleanly and Martins Cipulis one-timed the puck through Rastislav Stana’s five-hole to make it 1-0 only fifteen seconds in. Their lead was short-lived, however, as just a minute and eight seconds later, Tomas Zaborsky scored his fourth goal of the tournament after a Latvian turnover in their own zone. Lauris Darzins, Latvia’s captain, got his first of three goals in the game when he lifted the puck into the net on a penalty shot to give Latvia their second lead of the game. Zemgus Girgensons scored the 3-1 Latvian goal after going head first into the boards due to a dangerous hit from Branislav Mezei. Slovakia made a goalie change after the second period, putting in Tampa Bay prospect Jaroslav into the net. Slovakia got within a goal when former Pittsburgh Penguins prospect Tomas Surovy took a wicked wrist shot that went right past Kristers Gudlevskis’ blocker and into the net Slovakia got within a goal when Tomas Surovy’s wrist shot from the high slot beat Kristers Gudlevskis on the blocker side at 16:09 in the second. Darzins scored his second of the game after the puck hit Andrej Sekera’s stick and bounced into net with a minute left. Darzins completed his hat trick just 25 seconds into the third period after collecting his own rebound and shoveling the puck into the net. Slovakia made one last kick at the can but it was just too late, as with 22 seconds remaining in the game, Tomas Surovy deflected René Vydareny’s slap shot from the point to make it 5-3. 

Canada 3, Sweden 0

Andre Ringuette/HHOF-IIHF Images

Canada moves into second place of the Stockholm group with 10 points thanks to their 3-0 shutout of Sweden. It began great for Canada when Tampa Bay Lightning sniper Steven Stamkos shot the puck with a blister that Swedish goaltender Jhonas Enroth couldn’t even contain at the nine minute mark of the game. Later in the period, Canada was close to one of the coolest plays you will see in a hockey game, as Taylor Hall sent Matt Duchene in alone with a beautiful pass outside the Sweden blue line, but Enroth made the save. A short time later, Stamkos nearly finished a perfect three-way passing play but Enroth made a beautiful glove save on a shot that should have easily gone in. Canada managed to double their lead 55 seconds into the second period when Luke Schenn took a pass from Flyers teammate Matt Read, who roofed his shot over Enroth’s glove. Canada made it 3-0 at 11:00 when Jordan Staal came out of the penalty box to create a two-on-one with Ryan O’Reilly that was completely unmatched by their opponents in yellow. The Swedes didn’t manage to create many decent goal scoring opportunities during the second half of the game and look deflated as they lost their second game of the tournament, the first being against Switzerland in the opening match.

Follow me on twitter, @StevenEllisNHL.

EPA/PETER HUDEC
EPA/PETER HUDEC

Ole-Kristian Tollefsen clearly didn’t learn his lesson from earlier in the tournament, as he has been given another one game suspension after an incident in their game against Sweden yesterday.

Yesterday’s infraction occurred occurred at 58:37 into the game between Norway and Sweden that saw Sweden win 5-1. The game was paused for icing when Tollefsen, who had placed his stick between the legs of Sweden’s forward Calle Järnkrok, forcefully swinging his stick into Järnkrok’s groin area. Järnkrok fell to the ice in pain, resulting in a two minute minor for OKT.

He was also suspended three days ago after a game against Denmark. Tollefsen’s incident occurred at the 14:40 mark of the first period when he checked Phoenix Coyotes (he’s playing for Denmark) from behind, slightly injury the Danish player. OKT was given only a two minute boarding minor on the play.

Follow me on twitter, @StevenEllisNHL.

 

Richard Wolowicz/HHOF-IIHF Images
Andre Ringuette/HHOF-IIHF Images

Germany 2, Austria 0

Richard Wolowicz/HHOF-IIHF Images

Rob Zepp wasn’t left alone today when Germany took on Austria, but he did manage to make 27 saves en route to a shutout as the Germans took down the Austrians 2-0. Both teams took to battle against eachother at the Olympic Qualification tournament when Germany beat Austria in OT, however Austria had enough points to advance to the 2014 Olympics in Sochi.  Daniel Pietta had the only real good chance in the first frame, however the bouncing shot was stopped by Austrian goalie Bernhard Starkbaum, who managed to dive out and grab the puck before it bounced into the net. The Austrians were the more dangerous team throughout the first half of the game, however they didn’t manage to get a lot of good scoring opportunities between the two periods of play. Their inability to get the puck in the net eventually proved to become costly as Marcus Kink took control of the puck in the neutral zone with three minutes remaining in the second frame, dancing past the slow Austrian defense before ripping the puck over Starbaum and into the net. Starkbaum was eventually pulled in the final minutes of the game, but despite having the extra man, Austria had no chance to tie the game up. Kink was tripped while on the breakaway with the clock counting down, and per IIHF rules, a tripping call on the breakaway while heading towards the empty net counts as technical goal, giving Germany the 2-0 win in an unspectacular match-up.

Switzerland 7, Slovenia 1

Andre Ringuette/HHOF-IIHF Images

Well, this one wasn’t an exciting one either. Switzerland had already taken down powerhouse squads Canada and Sweden, as well as the Czech Republic to win all three games they had played in prior to today. The game started out bad for the Swiss, however, as Rok Pajic opened the scoring at 6:13. But later in the period, Slovenia had penalty troubles when they took three trips to the box in a row, and Switzerland scored three straight goals to put the game out of reach. First, Simon Bodenmann scored on a rebound that was initially stopped by Slovenian netminder Andrej Hocevar, who made his first start of the tournament in today’s blowout. The Swiss second line made a strong impression during the game, as Luca Cunti added a go ahead goal with Hocevar out of position and the net wide open. With 37.6 seconds remaining the period and Ticar in the box, Hollenstein added his first of the game to make it 3-1. Denis Hollenstein got his second goal of the game during the middle frame after deflecting a shot from Julian Walker to make it 4-1. A Slovenian goalie change after two periods didn’t make any difference as the Swiss added three more goals from after the three last goals were scored by Simon Moser, Andreas Ambühl and Ryan Gardner to make the final score 7-1. Switzerland seems to be heading for the quarter finals while Slovenia must beat either Sweden, Canada and Czech Republic to stay alive for next year, however that is very, very unlikely.

USA 4, Finland 1

Richard Wolowicz/HHOF-IIHF Images

Let’s put it this way, Finland is hurting. John Gibson, named the top goaltender of the 2013 World Championships, was in goal for the Americans as he made 31 saves in a 4-1 win over the co-hosts. Finland opened the scoring at 5:53 when  Jarno Koskiranta got to the net, stealing the puck off of American defenceman Jeff Petry before backhanding the puck past the rookie netminder and into the net. U.S.A made it 1-1 at 17:36 when Phoenix Coyotes forward David Moss stickhandled into the Finnish zone on the left side, getting past blueliner Janne Jalasvaara with a beautiful deke before slapping the puck toward the front of the net, where Nashville Predators forward Craig Smith tapped it in. This was the first goal Antti Raanta allowed in the tournament after recording a 2-0 shutout against Slovakia a few days back. After a scoreless second period, Smith one-timed home a Colorado Avalanche Paul Stastny set-up from the right faceoff circle to give the Americans a 2-1 lead on the power play during the third. Raanta was partially screened on the play. The Americans thought they had their third of the game minutes later when Danny Kristo’s quick shot got past Raanta high to the stick side, but the video replay showed that it in fact hit the post and didn’t cross the goal-line. Their dissapointment wouldn’t last long, though, as Smith completed his hat trick with an empty-netter with 42 seconds left. Stephen Gionta also scored for the United States to cap off the impressive 4-1 victory.

Sweden 5, Norway 1

Andre Ringuette/HHOF-IIHF Images

Ever since the loss against Switzerland in their first game, the Swedes’ have really turned on the pressure, and it showed with their 5-1 victory over Norway. Gabriel Landeskog gave Sweden the lead halfway through the first period when Dick Axelsson’s pass gave him an open area in front to put the puck behind Lars Haugen and into the net. The Swedes made it 2-0 with six minutes remaining in the period with a similar play when Loui Eriksson took a pass in the slot but this time waited patiently before sending the puck between Haugen’s pads. The second period was filled with penalties throughout the period, including Norway who had a sensational chance with a lengthy two-man advantage early in the period, however they were unable to score. However, not too long afterwards, Marius Holtet picked up the puck and beat Panthers prospect Jacob Markström with a nice wrist shot after a turnover in the neutral zone. The 3-1 goal was a fluky one  after a weak point shot bounced off of Andreas Jämtin’s skate and into the net. Elias Fälth put the game away with a powerful wrister over Haugen’s glove to make it 4-1 before Landeskog added an empty netter at 16:33 after Norway’ decided to go with the empty net early. Mixed with their win is the good news that Alex Edler, Daniel and Henrik Sedin will be joining the team in the coming days now that the Vancouver Canucks have been swept from the NHL playoffs.

Follow me on twitter, @StevenEllisNHL.

Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images
Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images

After getting swept in four games against the San Jose Sharks last night, Alexander Edler, Daniel and Henrik Sedin will join Sweden while Nicklas Jensen will take part in the rest of the tournament with Denmark.

This will be Edler’s second major tournament with the men’s national team since playing in the 2008 World Championships, while the Sedin twins have represented Sweden in the last two Olympic Winter Games, winning the gold medal in 2006 in Turin. Edler made his first appearance for Sweden at the under-20 level, competing in the 2006 World Junior Championships in British Columbia, Canada. He notched his lone point of the tournament, an assist, in a 10–2 round-robin win against Latvia. Sweden went on to finish in fifth place, having lost their quarterfinal game to Finland. The Sedin’s were named to the Swedish Olympic team for the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy in a limited role. They joined Markus Näslund and Mattias Öhlund as two of four Canucks on the squad. Competing in his first Olympics, he contributed four points as Sweden won a gold medal, defeating Finland 3–2 in the final.

This will be the first World Championship for Jensen, who was loaned out to Denmark for the Final Olympic Qualification in February. Jensen played his first two NHL games for the Canucks in April after spending most of the season with the AHL’s Chicago Wolves (20 games, 2 goals, 2 assists).

Follow me on twitter, @StevenEllisNHL.

Andre Ringuette/HHOF-IIHF Images
Richard Wolowicz/HHOF-IIHF Images

Austria 6, Latvia 3

Richard Wolowicz/HHOF-IIHF Images

Austria, the underdogs in the match, handed Latvia their third consecutive loss at the 2013 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship today with a 6-3 win that could prove to be important at the end. Latvia is now the only team with no points, as Germany has one point while Austria and France have three each. Latvia took the lead in the fourth minute of the game, however, when Armands Berzins beat Bernard Starkbaum from the right face off circle. Latvia would build on their momentum, getting a couple of good shots on Starkbaum, however they wouldn’t pot another goal until the third period. Latvian assistant captain Janis Sprukts went to the change-room after taking a slash during the first period, but he would return after a few minutes of rest. Austria managed to tie the game up before the period was over, as Florian Iberer wrist shot from the point went right through the crowd in front of the net and between the wickets of Latvian puck-stopper Edgars Masalskis. Austria went up 2-1 on the power play at 17:09 when Andre Lakos unleashed a shot from the blueline that tipped up under the crossbar. Buffalo Sabres forward Thomas Vanek made it 3-1, after blazing a perfect shot high on the glove side and into the net. Mario Altmann added the 4-1 marker only four minutes later. The Latvians hadn’t given up just yet, though, as Agris Saviels made it 4-2 late in the second period and Lauris Darzins 4-3 in the opening of the third. But the Austrians secured the win with late goals by Michael Raffl and Daniel Oberkofler.

Denmark 3, Slovenia 2

Andre Ringuette/HHOF-IIHF Images

Morten Green gave Canada a scare on Saturday when he scored the first and only goal of the first period in their eventual 3-1 loss to the more powerful Canadians, but today his goal would mean much more as he recorded the overtime winner against Slovenia. Rok Ticar scored his first goal of the game to put Slovenia up 1-0 after Blaz Gregorc’s point shot was redirected. Kim Staal, a former Montreal Canadiens draft pick, tied the game up at one after he beat the Slovenian defensemen to the puck and fired the shot over Robert Kristan and between the metal. While up a man, Ticar would restore the Slovenian lead with Morten Madsen in the box for elbowing in the middle frame. Madsen made up for the penalty he took, scoring in front of the net to make it 2-2 in the second period. Both teams kept the pressure going in the third period, however neither team was able to hit the twine as both goalies picked a good time to stay sharp. Danish captain Green scored the overtime winner against Slovenia two minutes into overtime to hand the important win to Denmark. The goal may turn out to be the one thing that keeps his team from relegation, as countries like Slovenia, Latvia and Austria are all competing to just stay alive.

Russia 5, USA 3

Richard Wolowicz/HHOF-IIHF Images

While Russia was the stronger team during the second half of the game, both teams put on an incredible performance for what is considered the best game of the tournament so far. The scoring started off quick and feisty as Russia opened the scoring with a goal by Anton Belov after five minutes of play. The American captain Paul Stastny then scored two goals in two and a half minute in the middle of the first period to take USA ahead. The lead only lasted for 36 seconds before Ilya Kovalchuk tied it. After failing on a two-man advantage in the second, Matt Hunwick one-timed a slap shot from the blueline, and again it was redirected into the net, giving the Americans the lead. Russia wasn’t going to back down, and their comeback started as Kirill Petrov carried the puck into the offensive zone, dropped it to Sergei Mozyakin behind his back and Alexei Tereshenko finished the fantastic play to beat Ben Bishop in net and tie the game at 3. With 6:22 remaining in the match, Evgeni Medvedev gave Russia a lead in the game when he slammed in a loose puck through a big scrum in front of Bishop’s net, making it 4-3 Russia. Alexander Radulov put in the final goal of the game thanks to a great play created by line mate Ilya Kovalchuk. USA pulled Ben Bishop from the net at with just over two minutes left in the game in an attempt to tie the game, however they didnt get a good enough opportunity and Russia skated to their third straight win of the tournament.

Canada 7, Norway 1

Andre Ringuette/HHOF-IIHF Images

Norway was not expected to come away with three points today against Canada, and it was defiantly clear when Canada scored four goals and outshot Norway 13-1 in just the first period alone. Andrew Ladd scored the opening goal at 4:45 thanks to a great play by Steven Stamkos, who got to a loose puck in the slot. Jeff Skinner made it 2-0 when he came out front and patiently slid the puck between Lars Volden’s pads. Four minutes later, another great passing play put Canada up 3-0 when Jordan Eberle found Matt Duchene in front, who wasted no time potting a goal. Canada dominated the second half of the game, as Taylor Hall scored his first of two goals to make it 5-0 at 2:28 into the second, and then midway through the period Ken Andre Olimb capitalized on a defensive lapse by the Canadians to knock in a nice goal, giving Norway their first and only goal of the game. Stamkos snapped in a loose puck form the slot at 4:32 of the final period to make it a 6-1 game before Hall added his second of the night at 12:35. Edmonton Oilers goaltender Devan Dubnyk made 13 saves for his second win of the tournament. The two countries will be in the same pool at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, next year along with Finland and Austria.

Follow me on twitter, @StevenEllisNHL.

The IIHF announced today that Denmark had added goaltender Sebastian Dahm to their team for the remainder of the World Championships, while Norway added forward Mats Rosseli Olsen.

Dahm was drafted by the Belleville Bulls of the OHL. He played the 2005-06 season, where he was good enough to make the OHL Rookie Second All-Star team. Dahm signed with the Columbus Blue Jackets organization and spent the 2008-09 season split between the Syracuse Crunch of the AHL and the Johnstown Chiefs of the ECHL. The following season, Dahm spent with the Alaska Aces of the ECHL, part of the season on loan with Bloomington Prairie Thunder of the IHL. He currently plays for the Rødovre Mighty Bulls in the Danish Elite League.

Mats Rosseli Olsen started his professional career in 2008 in the Norwegian GET-league, playing for Furuset, where he grew up. In the 2008–09 season, he noted 20 points in 44 games. In 2009, he joined Vålerenga. After two and a half seasons in Vålerenga, he signed a one and a half-year deal with Frölunda HC of the Swedish Elitserien on January 28, 2012. Currently playing for Frölunda HC in the Elitserien, this is Olsen’s third straight World Championship for the squad.

Follow me on twitter, @StevenEllisNHL.