2013 World Juniors

Group A

 

Team GP W OTW OTL L GF GA Pts Advanced to
 Sweden 4 3 1 0 0 19 8 11 Semifinals
 Czech Republic 4 2 1 0 1 12 10 8 Quarterfinals
 Switzerland 4 1 0 3 0 16 14 6 Quarterfinals
 Finland 4 1 1 0 2 15 15 5 Relegation Round
 Latvia 4 0 0 0 4 6 21 0 Relegation Round

 

Group B

 

Team GP W OTW OTL L GF GA Pts Advanced to
 Canada 4 4 0 0 0 21 8 12 Semifinals
 Russia 4 2 1 0 1 13 7 8 Quarterfinals
 United States 4 2 0 0 2 19 7 6 Quarterfinals
 Slovakia 4 0 1 1 2 10 19 3 Relegation Round
 Germany 4 0 0 1 3 4 26 1 Relegation Round

 

Statistics

Scoring leaders

 

Pos Player Country GP G A Pts +/− PIM
1 Ryan Nugent-Hopkins  Canada 6 4 11 15 +6 4
2 Joel Armia  Finland 6 6 6 12 0 12
3 Markus Granlund  Finland 6 5 7 12 −1 4
4 Teuvo Teräväinen  Finland 6 5 6 11 +6 2
5 John Gaudreau  United States 7 7 2 9 +2 4
6 Marko Daňo  Slovakia 6 4 5 9 −1 12
7 Jacob Trouba  United States 7 4 5 9 +2 10
8 Jonathan Huberdeau  Canada 6 3 6 9 0 4
9 J. T. Miller  United States 7 2 7 9 +5 2
10 Sven Andrighetto  Switzerland 6 5 3 8 +1 4
10 Mark Scheifele  Canada 6 5 3 8 +1 2

 

Goaltending leaders

 

Pos Player Country TOI GA GAA Sv% SO
1 John Gibson  United States 398:07 9 1.36 95.54 1
2 Andrei Vasilevski  Russia 264:50 8 1.81 95.00 1
3 Niklas Lundström  Sweden 224:25 6 1.60 94.39 0
4 Andrei Makarov  Russia 180:31 9 2.99 93.28 0
5 Melvin Nyffeler  Switzerland 261:39 16 3.67 90.24 0

 

Final Standings

Team
1  United States
2  Sweden
3  Russia
4th  Canada
5th  Czech Republic
6th  Switzerland
7th  Finland
8th  Slovakia
9th  Germany
10th  Latvia

Awards

MVP: John Gibson (USA)
Best Goalie: John Gibson (USA)
Best Defenseman: Jacob Trouba (USA)
Best Forward: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (CAN)

All-Star Team

Goalie: John Gibson (USA)
Defensemen: Jacob Trouba (USA), Jake McCabe (USA)
Forwards: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (CAN), John Gaudreau (USA, FIlip Forsberg (SWE)

image

For the first time since 1998, Canada will not win a medal at the Juniors.

With a matchup many thought would be the gold medal game in the Juniors, Russia and Canada met eachother in the bronze medal game. Russia blasted the offense early with Alexander Khokhlachev opening the scoring just 3:32 into the first period, squeaking a long shot through Canadian goaltender Jordan Binnington. Just 1:15 later, Nail Yakupov ripped home a one-timer on a powerplay after a pretty passing play to give Russia a quick 2-0 lead over the stunned Canadian squad.

The powerplay was the backbone for Canada, with Ryan Nugent-Hopkins getting to a loose puck in front and snapped it home before Makarov could get into position for the shot, putting Canada behind by only one. Russia, however, had their answer when Kirill Dyakov hammered home a slap shot at 12:06 of the period, giving Russia a 3-1 lead and ending Binnington’s short tenure between the pipes for Canada as Malcolm Subban got another shot in goal. The goaltending changed seemed to re-ignite the deflated the Canadians, as Jonathan Huberdeau buried a rebound after Ryan Murphy’s point shot hit the post. Canada was again only down by one goal after 20 minutes of play.

Canada scored its third powerplay goal early in the second period when Winnipeg Jet prospect Mark Scheifele buried a great pass from RNH to tie the score. Just a minute later, though, the Russians went ahead again. Maxim Shalunov’s shot was blocked in front by Tyler Wotherspoon, but the puck landed on the stick of Yevgeni Mozer and he ripped a shot past Subban to make it a 4-3 lead for Russia.

With 7:07 to play in the third, Canada’s great powerplay capitilized again when Murphy scored to tie the game at 4-4.  Nugent-Hopkins picked up his fourth point of the game to re-take the tournament scoring lead. Russia’s Nail Yakupov and Canada’s Brett Ritchie both scored to tie the game at 5 and send it to overtime.

Unfortuantely for Canada, it did not last long. Valeri Nichushkin poured down the right wing and cut hard in on goal during the 4-on-4 overtime, beating Subban and Murphy to poke the puck in on what is debatable whether or not it waa stoppable to give Russia the bronze medal.

Canada’s streak of medals for 14 years in a row comes to an end with this fourth-place finish. Russia was playing for bronze in front of their home crowd after falling to Sweden 3-2 in a semifinal shootout yesterday instead of the expected gold the hometown fans wanted.

Finland wanted to prove they didn’t belong in the relegation round, smashing Germany 8-0 in their first game and Slovakia 11-4 in the game today. Finnish player Joel Armia led the way with a hat trick and an assist, while Markus Granlund added three assists, and Teuvo Teräväinen had two and two. The Finns led 6-0 early in the second period, but Bruno Mraz, who was Slovakia’s best forward today with a goal and two assists, ended Joonas Korpisalo’s shutout bid at the halfway point of the game.

The last time the Finns came seventh was 2009. Slovakia has been eighth in three out of the past four years, 2012 being an exception. After defeating Germany and Slovakia, the Finns secured 7th place in the tournament, a disappointing position considering the optimism the team had going into the tournament. Finland seemed deflated by the loss of 19 year old forward Miro Aaltonen for the entire tournament due to a concussion, and could possibly miss the entire season for the Espoo Blues. Due to playing a game already in the tournament, the Finns were unable to use a replacement forward for the tournament, playing each game a player down.

Follow me on twitter, @StevenEllisNHL.

 

The Swiss may have come up empty handed again in the World Juniors, but after multiple OT/SO losses, including against teams like Finland and Russia, they proved they belonged in this tournament. However, the tournament ended on a sour note for them as the Czech’s were able to pull out on top for the fifth place game 4-3, another close game that Switzerland competed in.

The game started off well for Switzerland as they took a 1-0 lead early in the first period when Lukas Sieber scored a short handed goal only 4:03 into the first frame. The lead lasted until early in the second period when Czech Republic forward Dmitrij Jaskin scored at 1:42 with Swiss player Tanner Richard in the penalty box after getting called for tripping. Like most games in the World Juniors this year, there were a ton of penalties, with a combined total of ten in just the third period alone. Of the ten minors, the Czechs incurred six, but it was LA Kings draft pick Tomáš Hyka who scored the go-ahead goal later for the Czechs.

Sven Andrighetto got his first goal of the night at with just over a minute to go in the second to make it a 2-2 game, but the Czechs went ahead for good just 14 seconds later when Martin Frk beat Swiss goalie Luca Boltschauser with a high shot. Tomas Hertl made it a two-goal lead midway through the final period, and Andrighetto scored with just a minute remaining in a 6-on-4 situation created by a penalty and a pulled goalie. Even with the advantage, the Swiss were unable to tie the game up, giving themselves their first regulation loss of the entire tournament.

Follow me on twitter, @StevenEllisNHL.

For the first time since 1998 Germany will play back-to-back U20 World Championships in the top division thanks to their 5-2 win over Latvia this morning. Germany had just returned to the top division for Ufa after winning the Division I tournament on home ice last season to reach a quick comeback after getting relegated at the 2011 tournament in Buffalo.

The first period looked promising for the Latvians. Just like yesterday when they gave Slovakia a run for their money, they layed on the pressure as Lauris Rancevs opened the scoring at 15:25 of the first period in an odd-man situation against German goalie Marvin Cüpper, who has been solid for Germany in this tournament.

The second period was dominated by the Germans, who created lots of scoring chances, including one right off the draw. Draisaitl won the opening face-off and Tobias Rieder tied the game six seconds later. Midway through the period, Draisaitl’s power-play goal brought Germany its first lead of the game and with four minutes left in the middle frame they doubled the lead when Christian Kretschmann scored, making it 3-1.

Draisaitl added his second goal at 5:36 of the third period. Latvia pulled their goalie with 5 minutes left in the third frame to hopefully save themselves from getting sent down, but any hope they had was gone when Sebastian Uvira scored an empty net goal to make it 4-1. Arturs Kuzmenkovs scored Latvia’s second goal of the game with 1:28 left for the final score of 5-2.

The German head coach was more than thrilled with not having to play in a lower division again. “It’s a phenomenal feeling that we remain in the top division. It’s my 14th U20 World Championship and the first time is always something special,” said Ernst Höfner.

Follow me on twitter, @StevenEllisNHL.

Canadian defenseman Griffin Reinhart has received a four-game suspension at the 2013 IIHF Ice Hockey World U20 Championship due to a high-sticking infraction.

Reinhart, on his knees, raised his stick and delivered a two-handed slash to the head and neck area of  USA forward Vince Trocheck. Reinhart was assessed a minor penalty for high-sticking, and Trocheck continued as there was no apparent injury incurred.

The Edmonton Oil Kings defenceman will miss Saturday’s bronze-medal game against Russia. Reinhart must serve the remaining three games at his next IIHF event, which would be the next world junior championship. Griffin is the son of Paul Reinhart, a former NHLer. Griffin’s older brother Max was drafted by the Calgary Flames in 2010 and his younger brother Sam currently plays for the Kootenay Ice. Griffin was selected fourth overall in the 2012 NHL Draft by the New York Islanders.

Follow me on twitter, @StevenEllisNHL.

 

image

With the NHL lockout in full effect, the hopes was that Canada would have another dream team to look forward too. With Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Jonathan Huberdeau, Ryan Strome and Malcolm Subban, the Canadians had a team that looked gold-worthy. Going into the semi-final game against the Americans (a team Canada beat just a few games back) with an undefeated record, the hopes were high that Canada would be able to revenge their dissapointing loss to Russia in last years semi’s.

But oh, was that a disaster.

American captain Jake McCabe got the first of his two goals of the period after some nice work from Riley Barber, who has looked spectacular in the two medal round games so far. He was stoned from in close by Subban but Scott Harrington fell in front of the net, creating a mess among the Canadian players. Barber then got to the puck behind the net and whipped it out to McCabe, who shot through a maze of bodies and hit the back of the net untouched at 7:18 into the first period. The U.S. doubled their lead at 16:02 in the first on a very similar play by the exact same goal scorer. McCabe got the puck in the slot and drilled a nice wrister past Subban, down on his knees and unable to react to the screened shot. Calgary Flames prospect John Gaudreau, who had an impressive hat trick against the Czech’s yesterday, used Canadian defenseman Ryan Murphy as a screen and then ripped a shot over Subban’s glove. That was three goals due to Canada getting screened. Yikes, the defense as a whole were brutal for Canada, with Murphy and Boston Bruins pick Dougie Hamilton shining as the two who just couldn’t do a single thing correct for the Canadians.

Just a few minutes later, Jim Vesey drove to the outside around Xavier Ouellet and beat Subban to the far post in what should probably was his most saveable goal of the night. Despite Subban being the best Canadian on the ice, he was chased from the net in favour of Jordan Binnington in hopes of sparking some life in the team. Canada was forced to play wide-open hockey, and although the team generated a few decent chances, Gibson was there to be just a little better every time. Binnington, too, made some fine saves in relief, but after 40 minutes the Americans were thoroughly in control.Ty Rattie broke Gibson’s shutout with a short-handed goal at 4:03 into the final frame, and while Binnington did make 25 saves on 26 shots, Canada had no chance of a comeback. Gaudreau closed out the scoring at 15:41 with a breakaway goal to make the win all the more painful for their friends from the north.

The story of the game had to be John Gibson, who, with 33 saves, was just unbelievable. Canada turned it on in the third period, and despite giving up a goal in that frame, it was probably Gibson’s best period of the game. He only seemed to get better after letting in that goal, compared to Subban who looke rattled after allowing the first two goals where he clearly couldn’t see it.

Canada had won eight of the last nine meetings against the U.S. at the World Juniors, with four of the last five games between the teams decided by one goal. The one game the Americans one? The 2010 finals.

Canada will take on the loser of the Sweden/Russia game later today in the bronze medal game, while the Americans will take on the winner.

Follow me on twitter, @StevenEllisNHL.

 

Checking in on the progress of Rangers prospect J.T. Miller throughout this World Junior Championship in Russia.  To recap, Miller produced a solid opening game vs Germany where he scored a goal en route to a 8-0 USA victory.  The Americans stalled a bit offensively over the next two games against Russia and Canada where they lost 2-1 in both match-ups without much offense respectively.  With only 1 point in 3 games for Team USA, many began to question when Miller would begin to step up and make his impact.

Miller is one of the Assistant Captains on this American team, and “technically” the only professional  (AHL experience) so he will be relied on heavily down the stretch to make a lasting impact.  In a must win scenario against Slovakia, Miller and Team USA began to turn things around with a 9-3 rout.  Miller’s 2 assists and steady all around game helped propel the Americans on to the Quarterfinals where they faced off against the Czech Republic.

Really early in the morning today (4am Eastern Time zone to be exact), Team USA skated to a 7-0 dominating victory over the Czechs.  Miller again started to pick it up on the score sheet with 1 goal and 2 assists.  The goal is featured in the link below (not so much of a highlight reel tally, but a goal none the less- Comes at the 4:40 mark of the video):

With Team USA, and J.T. Miller starting to hit their stride it makes for a very intriguing Semifinals match-up against Canada tomorrow (again at 4am).  The Canadians seem to be hitting on all cylinders with star (Edmonton Oilers forward) Ryan Nugent-Hopkins leading the charge.  If the Americans can continue to roll offensively against the high powered Canadians, this game could look a lot different then the 2-1 outcome on December 30th.

 

Follow me on twitter: @mattjanos

 

The U.S. National Junior Team earned a spot in the 2013 IIHF World Junior Championship quarterfinals with a win over Slovakia, but had to face Group A competitor Czech Republic.The Americans struggled to score goals against Russia and Canada, but regained the offense against Slovakia with a 9-3 victory on Monday. If the team was to reach the semifinals, they needed to keep that momentum against a Czech goaltender who has been very stingy this tournament. Patrik Bartosak led the Czech Republic in goal and has a 1.98 goals against average. He’s seen 79 shots in three games and made 73 saves and is a big threat for the top goalie of the tournament, something fans in North America haven’t been able to witness due to the terrible coverage of Group A competition. The Americans took an early 1-0 lead in what turned out to be a penalty filled first penalty with 9 minor penalties between the two countries. In the second, the floodgates opened for the Americans, scoring two more on Bartosak, chasing him to the bench, and then scoring another two on the backup goalie, Matej Machovsky of the Brampton Battalion. Riley Barber would register two and John Gaudreau would complete the hat-trick to make it 6-0 after two. It was over at that point, with the Americans adding one more to make it 7-0. USA will take on Canada at 4am Eastern tomorrow morning while the Czechs took an early plane ride home.

 

USA

The Good:

*The Americans dominated control of the game. Expected as the better team in this game, this shouldn’t have come to anyone’s surprise.
*Blake Pietila was excellent on the PK. He stole the puck, uses his speed to get a shorthanded breakaway, but got stopped. In that instance, he was able to draw a penalty and give the Americans a powerplay.
*The third line of Pietila, Ryan Hartman and John Gaudreau were spectacular for the Americans, scoring the first three goals of the game. Gaudreau would also score the 6th goal of the game, giving him the hatty.
*The Americans took advantage to the 5032342342342 powerplays they had, scoring three of the first four goals on it.
*Riley Barber scored two for the Americans in the second, including the third powerplay goal of the game.
*Both Jacob Trouba and Seth Jones had 4 points each.

The Bad:

Yes, the Czech’s were taking a ton of penalties, but the Americans took a lot of their own.
 

Czech Republic

The Good:

*The Czech’s got unlucky with multiple bad calls early, however they were succesful in limiting the USA chances and not allowing many shots on net in the first. Should have been worse for the Czech’s if not for Baartosak’s play.
*Tomas Hertl seemed to be the only player who decided it was a good idea to show up today. He made some nice blocks in front and even stopped a shot on the goal line with his stick.

The Bad:

*Clearly, nowhere as skillful as the Americans. No competition.
*It seemed that almost every time they got a powerplay, they woud shoot themselves in the foot and get a penalty for themselves.
*The American powerplay scored three of their first four goals on the powerplay, including two in the second.
*Bartosak was pulled to put some life into the Czech bench, considering they were getting outplayed in every way possible, but he can’t be blamed for the three goals against.
*The penalty box benches must be heated. Geez.
 

@StevenEllisNHL.

It is quite shocking to wake up to game with such high pace. Canada was back to 13 forwards after Jenner and Lipon’s suspensions expired. Canada was showing off their rejuvenated lineup in the early going but not generating very many chances, Russia experiencing the same problem. This trend began to change mid way through the period when Nichushkin hit Wotherspoon into the boards from behind earning himself a 5 minute major and a game misconduct. On the insuing powerplay Canada was golden. Dougie Hamilton blasts one in from the point putting Canada up one. Still on the powerplay, Mark Schiefele battling infront kicks a rebound to his stick and past Makarov. Canada up 2-0 after one. Thank you Nichushkin.

Second period had much of the same; unorganized, fast paced Hockey without very many whistles. Kucherov got the Russians on the board sniping top corner on Subban after a terrible giveaway by Ryan Strome, who was visibly upset after the goal. Canada got it right back when Drouin beat Makarov on the wrap-around. 3-1 after 2.

Canada put on a clinic in the third, today’s lesson: Protecting a lead. For the entire period Canada was sound defensively and smart offensively. The majority of the period was spent in the Russian corners while the Canadian forwards (particularly, Boone Jenner) held the puck deep and cycled the puck to each other. This lasted until about the 17 minute mark. Russia started playing with some desperation and getting puck to the net. A few good chances came out of it, no goals though. With the Russian goalie pulled Jonathan Huberdeau put it out of reach for the Russians. Subban put the cherry on top with a huge celebration after stopping a late penalty shot. Final score: 4-1

Canada wins the game and the group. No quarter-final for the Canucks. Their semi-final opponent will be the winner of the Czech vs. USA quarter final game.

It is worth mentioning Subban’s performance today. I’ll be the first to admit that I was skeptical on whether Subban should have been given the starting role. But after the last two games he has done more than enough to convince me. He was absolutely phenomenal today, as he was yesterday against the Americans.

Malcolm Subban answers his critics in a clash against USA
Malcolm Subban answers his critics in a clash against USA

Some people feed into the rivalry, others do not but let me tell you, it exists whether you like to acknowledge it or not. Sort of like the Leafs-Habs rivalry, you may think it has weakened or disappeared completely – you’re wrong, it’s there. I feel  it every time I am in Toronto and they see my phone case. However, that is a city where I feel home when it comes to a match up between Canada and their border partners, the USA. Canada tends to rule over the Americans when it comes to a slab of rubber on a sheet of ice. The group of death has returned for a beautiful game between the neighbouring countries, one where we will see a number of big name prospects and draft eligible players go head-to-head. No Jenner or Lipon for Canada, they will go with 11 up front. What happened you ask? (since you were snoozing instead of being awesome and watching this fabulous game), look below for the details:

1st period:
Good pace early in the period for both teams, Malcolm Subban faced a tough shot not even two full minutes into it. Canada has a problem with icing the puck after a few minutes, need to control the puck and be more aware of where they are on the ice. Many questioned Subban on his play in pre-tournament as well as his play in the first two games against Germany and Slovakia, however, key saves early should be a nice little gift for coaches, players and fans alike. At 12:47 into it, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins buried a snipe to give the Canadian boys a 1-0 lead. Some more unreal stops by Subban keeps the “maple syrup nation” ahead and the Americans take a penalty, putting Team Canada on the man advantage. After a clear fake to try to get a call by USA, Ryan Strome does what he does best, scores and that is 2-0 for the Canadians. With 1:40 left in the opening 20 minutes, Strome is thrown into the penalty box with a soft call. As the period comes to a close, Subban continues to shut the door, holding on to a shutout for at least the first stanza against Canada’s rivals. Malcolm had easily the best period of the tournament so far, making big save after big save. When your netminder is keeping the door shut, the rest of the guys can carry on with the task ahead – put it in the net. After the first period: 2-0 Canada and they out shot the USA 11-10.

2nd period:
The second period started with Canada killing the last seconds on Strome’s penalty. USA had a good cycle going early but Subban denied Miller tight. At the other end of the rink, Canada was stopped by Gibson, who has been good all tournament. Camara, Boston Bruin prospect, who was not suspended for his clean hit last game, had a great chance to put the puck on net but the disc was stuck in between his legs and was unable to create a solid scoring chance in close on Gibson. At 13:08, Reinhart made his way to the sin bin as he was tagged with a double minor for high-sticking. While down a man, Subban was not having it and turned away the puck constantly. The boys in red and white did their job, clearing it down the ice at any chance they could to help their goaltender out. An important penalty kill for Canada to finish off with no damage. Later in the period, Canada upped the pressure, momentum brewing after their long penalty kill. With that, they caused USA’s best defenseman, Seth Jones, to take a slashing penalty. Ryan Murphy continued to struggle for Canada, many left puzzled why he is receiving the ice time he is. USA killed off the Canadian’s PP while not allowing many opportunities form in their zone to inflict more damage in the back of the net. Galchenyuk has seen less ice time then what would be expected in a game that USA is trailing by multiple goals. He is not quiet, he just is not getting the ice time to truly make something happen out there. After the second period: still 2-0 Canada, however, USA topped the number of shots as they put up 15 to Canada’s 8. Understandable considering the 4-minute powerplay.

3rd period:
Chances at each end of the ice, both teams tried to get something going in the first couple of minutes in the final frame. Gibson racked up the saves for USA when only a few minutes had ticked off the clock. USA needs more urgency or they will watch this one end in Canada’s favour. Just a tad above half way in the period, Subban gets called and almost gets beat while protesting the penalty. However, the captain recognized what was happening and got back to help out his netminder. McNeill put his body on the line for a huge block right at the beginning of the penalty kill for Canada. Not long after, Strome puts USA back on the powerplay as he was sent off for delay of game. A tough penalty to take when the score is too close. However, upon replay you could see that it was not a clear shot over the glass. Canada had a chance shorthanded to fire a dagger into the hearts of the USA but did not capitalize. Instead, the Americans came back down the ice to cut the Canadian’s lead in half with a goal by Trouba, 2-1. After the change in momentum, USA’s captain McCabe took an idiotic penalty, throwing him out of the game, to put his team down a man. While on their penalty kill, the Americans added another man in the box as they took out Canada’s goalie, Subban, giving their opponents a two-man advantage. Canada did not bury while they had a 5-on-3 nor 5-on-4 during that span. Once those were completed, USA dug a fresh hole as a new 5-on-3 advantage for Canada formed due to two dumb penalties by the Americans. On top of that, both teams each notched two-minute minors, Huberdeau went off for slashing and Trocheck for cross-checking. The game might have been clean before, but certainly not now. After beating off Canada`s powerplays with Gibson leading the way from between the pipes, USA went up a man since Nugent-Hopkins continued the parade to the penalty box, where he would sit for the rest of the game unless USA scored prior to the buzzer. In an attempt to push for the tying goal, USA pulled Gibson to give them a 6-on-4 advantage. Unfortunately for the USA, they came up short in this game and Subban made huge saves until the very end to make it stay that way. A great game with a fantastic goalie battle. After the third period: Canada won 2-1 over USA, out shot them 13-12 in the final stanza but not in the actual game. USA led in total shots 37-32

Players of the game:
USA – John Gibson
Canada – Malcolm Subban

image

After numerous blowouts taking its toll early in the World Juniors, fans fnally got their first taste of a heavyweight in the tounament with the Americans taking on the hometown favorites from Russia. Fans got treated to a back and forth game early, with both goalies, John Gibson for the Americans and Andrei Makarov for the Russians, making key saves. The Russians, who came in with a 1-0 lead in the second frame, had most of the momentum while playing 5 on 5 hockey with an all around impressive effort, however the Americans were the only team who could capitalize in the second to tie the game at 1. Russia, once again, took full control of the third, scoring the winning goal on a great end to end rush midway through the third. It was a great performance by both teams who will likely compete for a chance at the Gold Medal later in the elimination rounds, and arguably the best game of the tournament so far.

Russia

The Good:

*Makarov was sharp early, stopping a barrage of American shots, looking very impressive. He made what could be possibly a save of the tourney moment, making a toe save on an American 2-on-1 rush just a few minutes into the first period.
*Russia boasted an expected agressive forecheck, making the Americans create mistakes in their own zone. A win can be in their future if they continue to do this.
*It didn’t take long for Russia to score on the powerplay. First chance they got, defenseman Albert Yarulin, the OT saviour for Russia against Slovakia on Wednesday, ripped it home for a 1-0 lead.
*The Russians clearly had the advantage with the bigger ice surface. Used to playing in the larger rinks in Europe, they had a much better cross ice awarenes of the two teams.
*An incredible end to end rush by Valeri Nichushkin was capped off by a goal by Vladimir Tkachyov. Incredible mix of speed and skill by Nichushkin on that play, the go ahead goal for Russia.
*The Russians have been trapping intermittently throughout the game, essentially employing a 1-3-1 on a few American zone exits.

The Bad:

*With a flurry of penalties in the second period, it was noticable that Russia was starting to tire out, not dominating the game as much as they did in the first half.
*Yakupov looked slow, possibly tired, throughout the second and third period. The Americans did a good job limiting him to no points.
*Kasputin got ejectd after jamming Blake Pietila’s head into the boards in a hit from behind. A possible suspension could be looming.

USA

The Good:

*The Americans had more control in the early stages of the game, creating more scoring chances while on even strength.
*Seth Jones was a rock for the Americans. He managed to injure both Kosov and Sigaryov in the same shift. Ouch.
*The penalty kill was solid after the first Russian powerplay, not allowing many pucks to get to Gibson.
*One of the standout Americans on the ice was goalie John Gibson, making stop after stop after stop against the talented Russian squad.
*The power-play started off weak in the first, however it gained steam throughout the game, capped off by a goal from Jacob Trouba.
*The American defense did a fantastic job shutting down Nail Yakupov, who has yet to score in 9 World Junior Contests over two years.
*Alex Galchenyuk was the best forward on the ice through two periods of play. He has been an aggressive skater in all three zones.

The Bad:

*The Americans are about 250 MPH slower than the Russians.
*Multiple penalties early put USA in a hole. They will need to be more disciplined in the second.
*The Americans havent been able to create many turnovers due to a lack of aggressiveness.
*The American forwards aren’t using the larger ice to their advantage. They spent too much time in the middle of the ice instead of on the outside.

This isn’t what I wanted to see after waking up at 4am. As of writing this, only one period has gone by, but I’ll be damned if it wasn’t the worst period since the 3rd period in the 2011 final against Russia.

Not enough shots, seemingly no defensive awareness, the inability to adjust to Slovakia’s aggressiveness and no rebound control. I will touch on these later, seeing as it’s time to watch the 2nd period.

OK, Some bad play persisted through the second, but it’s quite difficult to complain when you score 4 goals in a period. Brief synopsis of the second before the third comes on. Slovak defense falters, Strome walks down the middle, snipes top cheddar. 2-1. Camara with big hit, no call, Slovak down, stretcher needed, taken to hospital, Camara gets 5 and GM (If it’s a penalty, call it, don’t just dish out a GM because he’s hurt) Anyway, Strome takes a penalty, 5 on 3, weak goal allowed through Subban’s 5-hole. 3-1. Slovakia implodes. March to penalty box, Rielly, Rattie and Schiefele score. 4-3.

Now please Canada, don’t let Slovakia beat you, play one period of good hockey, then get prepared for US on Sunday.

There we go, Canada adds 2 more to take it 6-3. Dano and Schifele get POG honours

Canada got lucky today. If Slovakia were to have played as they did in the first for the entire game, Canada would have lost. Canada needs to learn how to adjust and adapt their game in order to be successful against better opponents. Plain and simple, of course, it’s easy said than done.

I did not mention it earlier, but Lipon also received 5 and GM for a hit made in the first. Both his and Camara’s hits will be reviewed. With Jenner already out, it’s possible that Canada plays the US with only 10 forwards.

Subban had a less than amazing game again today letting in 3, 2 of which he should want back. As much as I hate the people who are so quick to say that he needs to be pulled, I must say that giving Binnington some time between the pipes sounds like better idea with each game that goes by.

Back to bed.

 

J.T. Miller is the only North American prospect representing the New York Rangers at the World Juniors.

New York Rangers Prospect J.T. Miller is the only North American player from within the Rangers system that is playing at the World Juniors this year.  Miller is an Ohio native who has spent most of his young career playing for the US National Developmental Program, which is based out of Ann Arbor, Michigan.  The Rangers 1st round, 15th overall pick of the 2011 NHL Entry Draft is an outstanding forward with a huge upside.

After his time with the US Development Team the 6 foot 1 center iceman spent a season with the Plymouth Whalers of the OHL.  In his first OHL season Miller tallied 62 total points in 61 regular season games.  After his time with Plymouth, he was brought up to the Rangers minor league affiliate the Connecticut Whale for the AHL playoffs.  This year Miller has played in 25 games with the AHL Whale, and has totaled 5 goals and 9 assists.  The two way player has shown that he has some great potential with an offensive upside to become a very valuable player within the New York Rangers Organization.

Today team USA faced off in a preliminary round match-up against Germany at the World Junior Classic being held in Russia.  In what was a very one sided affair Team USA dominated Germany to an 8-0 win.  J.T.  Miller was one of 8 different goal scorers for the United States who were able to display their great team depth in the victory.  Tomorrow should be a much bigger test to see how Miller and the rest of his teammates really stack up against the heavy weight teams in this tournament.  The Americans will face-off against team Russia at 9am eastern time, a Russian team that surprisingly needed overtime to finish off a gritty Slovakian squad on Wednesday.  A win for USA tomorrow would put them in a good position going into Sunday’s much anticipated match-up against team Canada.

Rangers fans keep checking back here at thehockeyhouse.net for all J.T. Miller updates throughout the World Juniors.

Follow me on twitter: @mattjanos

The 2013 World Junior Hockey Championships began today in Ufa, Russia, home to the Russian world junior team. Featuring stars such as Nail Yakupov and Andrei Vasilevski, the Russian squad came out with guns blazing against the less talented Slovakian team, however getting the puck by the Slovak defeneman was no easy task for them. The defensive stylings of Slovakia proved to be a shock Slovakia truly wanted the win more, forcing Russia into OT, where Russia pulled off the victory. No upset here.

Russia

The Good:

  • The Russians just flew. The speed difference between the two teams was outstanding.
  • Russia has a much more physical team than in recent years. The team was using more body contact around the puck than usual.
  • Momentum was in the hands of Russia for the majority of the game.
  • Russia clearly had more skill throughout the game.

The Bad:

  • They need to stop focusing on individual plays and more on dump and chasing or passing around the defensive-minded Slovaks.
  • They did not control the game as expected.
  • Gave Slovakia prime scoring chances in front of the net.

Slovakia

The Good:

  • The defense did a good job limiting Russia’s chances in front of the net. Not a lot of Russian scoring oppurtunities. Almost three players helping out in front on every play.
  • Is Adam Nagy the next Jaroslav Janus? Sensational play today.
  • Slovakia adjusted to the hard hitting play by Russia, throwing a couple of their own throughout the game.

The Bad:

  • Not a ton of offensive pressure by the Slovaks outside of their zone. They let the Russian defensemen skate around too much, looking to create plays while the Slovaks hung back.


Both Sweden and Finland took big blows at the start of the 2013 World Junior Hockey Championships, with the losses of Hampus Lindholm and Miro Aaltonen respectively.

With Lindholm’s injury (concussion), defending champion Sweden has now lost three defenseman since the beginning of the first World Junior exhibition game last week. However, luckily for Sweden, they have a replacment in Robert Hagg, a defenseman with a lot of promise and upside.

While Sweden is able to replace their injured defenseman, Finland is not so lucky with their forward Aaltonen. Aaltonen, a 19-year old forward for Finnish team Espoo Blues, is out for the tournament and possibly the season after bumping into Latvian forward Pauls Zvirbulis, catching a rut in the ice in the process. Unlike Lindholm, Aaltonen has already played a game in the tournament, which prohibits Finland from bringing in anyone else to replace him. He was expected to be a solid two-way offensive threat for the Finns.

Follow me on twitter, @StevenEllisNHL.

NamePositionTeam
Adam NagyGoalieHK Orange 20
Patrik RomancikGoalieHK 36 Skalica
Richard Sabol, GoalieGreen Bay Gamblers, USHL
Emil Bagin DefensemanDukla Trencin
David BajanikDefensemanPatriot Budapest, MHL
Richard BuriDefensemanHK Orange 20
Peter CeresnákDefensemanPeterbourgh Petes, OHL (New York Rangers)
Karol KorimDefensemanHK Orange 20
Patrik LuzaDefensemanHC Slovan Bratislava, KHL
Tomas NechalaDefensemanHK Orange 20
Tomas Rusina DefensemanHK Orange 20
Andrej Bires ForwardHK Orange 20
Marko Dano, ForwardHC Slovan Bratislava, KHL
Dominik Fujerik ForwardHK Orange 20
Denis HudecForwardHK Orange 20
Milan KolenaForwardHK Orange 20
Matus MatisForwardHK Orange 20
Tomas Mikus ForwardHC Slovan Bratislava, KHL
Bruno MrazForwardHK Orange 20
Richard MrazForwardHK Orange 20
Branislav RapacForwardHK Orange 20
Martin RewayForwardGatineau Olympiques, QMJHL
Michal UhrikForwardHK Orange 20

Ah, the beginning of the World Juniors for Team Canada and Canadian fans across the globe. The early hour games will not stop those who need to watch their hockey proudly and of course, live. Rebroadcast? Give me a break. Team No Sleep is on duty and ready for this one, even though it is against Germany. Not to degrade the Germans but they are typically a more passive team that the powerhouses in this particular tournament tend to walk all over whether it is in possession and/or on the scoreboard. Canada is said to be in the group of death as they will have to face USA and Russia towards the end of the round robin schedule. For now, the focus is on Germany and they must come out victorious. The Canadians have had some trouble finding twine in the pre-tournament games and even selection camp. In addition, they apparently do not like to play 5-on-5 hockey as they have parked themselves in the sin bin way too often. Discipline is a key and they will need to bury some ugly goals if they want to take a serious shot at a medal. Malcolm Subban has received the nod between the pipes for Game 1, regardless of the play of Binnington recently. After an injury in practice, Drouin was listed on the roster and ready to go and of course, Jenner is not playing due to his 3-game suspension. Finally, Canada has won 13 straight tournament openers. Here we go:

1st period:
Canada started with their top line, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and his crew, along with the top defensive pairing in Harrington and Hamilton. Perhaps surprising, the Germans took the first penalty of the game for roughing. On the man advantage, Ouellet found the back of the net to put Canada on the board early and clinched the first goal of the tournament. Not long after, Germany went to the box again, a bad one as it was for delay of game. However, the Canadians were unable to capitalize on the second chance given. Once back to even strength, Germany put a bit of pressure on in Canada’s zone, where the team in red and white gave the puck away a few times, forcing Subban to get some saves in. When Germany notched their third penalty not even half way through the first period, it felt like they took a page out of Canada’s pre-tournament book or watched too much tape of those games and decided to become them in that department. With a much better performance on that powerplay, Canada continued a bit of success after they were back to even-strength. Huberdeau fed Nugent-Hopkins who placed a backhand shot behind the line for the second goal of the game. Regardless of their lack of discipline, Germany was able to create chances and keep the puck in the offensive zone for a lot longer than what might have been expected. Canada made their first skate to the penalty box when Camara was called for charging, which was a soft call but Germany wiped our their man advantage shortly after by taking their own penalty. Continuing the trend of racking up the PIM, Lipon went off for kneeing where Germany would cut into Canada’s lead late in the period. Subban did not have a chance on the marker from Rieder. Overall, an okay period from Canada and a pretty good effort from the German side. If only the teams could locate the thing we all like to call as “discipline”. Score after the first: 2-1 Canada with both teams scoring one goal each on the PP. Canada outshot Germany 14-12.

2nd period:
Canada starts the period by taking a penalty, what a familiar occurrence. However, the penalty killers did a little more than what they are required to do as Scheifele pots home a shorthanded goal. Following the marker, Germany went back in the box as the parade of penalties seemed to still be in full force at this point of the game. Huberdeau made no mistake and picked up the second powerplay tally to push the score to 4-1. Of course, the Canadians could not resist and clearly the referees are going to call everything and anything, putting Germany back on the PP to try to hack away at the hole they have been placed in. When it ended, Harrington had a beautiful chance to notch another goal for Canada but German goaltender Trautmann came flying out to deny the defenseman. Finally a span of 5-on-5 occurred where Canada generated chance after chance. This led to the 5th goal which was scored by Ty Rattie as he waited for Trautmann to make a move. Strome then cycled around Germany’s zone, ultimately leading to him tickling twine as the score turned to 6-1. If it was not official before, it was now: floodgates have been opened. Just when Germany looked like they had absolutely no life left, they caught Canada on a line change and Pfoderl ripped one behind Subban. Still an uphill battle but they slid a tad closer. Then Canada lost a little more of their lead as a rough giveaway by McNeill (after winning the face-off) led to the third German goal scored by Latta. Right before the second period wrapped up, Canada got a goal back as Scheifele ends off a brilliant play from Nugent-Hopkins and Huberdeau. Canada located their scoring in the second stanza but did not completely walk all over Germany as they made crucial mistakes that led to pucks in the back of their own net. They cannot continue to do that in this game but most definitely cannot do that against tougher competition later on in the tournament or they will be eaten alive. Score after the second: 7-3 Canada and they outshot Germany 14-9 in the period.

3rd period:
Period began with Canada holding on to a comfortable lead. Not even a full four minutes into the final frame, Subban came up with a great save to keep the two teams four goals apart. A little bit later, Harrington made a sick slap pass to Drouin who deked out the netminder for Canada’s 8th tally on the board. Canada started to play with a truck load of more dominance over the weaker opposition as they worked Germany for a number of shifts and fired at all cylinders. Germany became tired, just what Canada should have been doing from the start. As the period went on, Malcolm Subban had to make a huge save due to a defensive zone blunder, arguably his toughest of the entire game and it was a beauty. With just under three minutes left in the game, Wotherspoon rushed up in the play to increase the difference on the score board. The story of this period was the discipline between both teams. Final score: 9-3 Canada and they outshot them 18-7 in the period, 46-28 in the entire game.

Players of the game:
Canada – Ryan Nugent-Hopkins
Germany – Leon Draisaitl

NamePostitonTeam
Patrik Bartošák GoalieEdmonton, WHL
Jan LukášGoalieKamloops, WHL
Matej MachovskýGoalieBrampton, OHL
David MusilDefensemanEdmonton, WHL
Marek Hrbas DefensemanKamloops, WHL
Milan DouderaDefensemanKladno
Vojtěch ZadražilDefensemanJihlava
Jan Štencel DefensemanVítkovice
Petr ŠidlíkDefensemanVictoriaville, QMJHL
Tomáš PavelkaDefensemanP.E.I., QMJHL
Tomáš Hertl ForwardSlavia Praha
Dmirij JaškinForwardMoncton, QMJHL
Radek FaksaForwardKitchener, OHL
Martin FrkForwardHalifax, QMJHL
Matěj BeranForwardP.E.I., QMJHL
Tomáš HykaForwardGatineau, QMJHL
Lukáš SedlákForwardGatineau, QMJHL
Erik NěmecForwardVítkovice
Petr BeránekForwardZnojmo

NamePositionTeam
Elvis MerzlikinsGoalieHC Lugano (SUI)
Vadims MiscuksGoalieLiepajas Metalurgs
Ivars PunnenovsGoalieRapperswil-Jona Lakers (SUI)
Edmunds AugstkalnsDefenseman HK Riga
Kriss LipsbergsDefenseman HK Riga
Kristaps NimanisDefensemanRed Ducks Vaasa (FIN)
Rinalds RosinskisDefensemanPrince George Cougars (WHL)
Edgars SiksnaDefensemanLiepajas Metalurgs
Patriks Skuratovs
DefensemanHK Riga
Pauls ZvirbulisDefensemanHK Riga
Toms AndersonsForwardSC Bern (SUI)
Nikolajs JelisejevsForwardHK Riga
Arturs KuzmenkovsForwardLiepajas Metalurgs
Martins LavrovsForwardHK Riga
Roberts LipsbergsForwardSeattle Thunderbirds (WHL)
Karlis OzolinsForwardLiepajas Metalurgs
Lauris RancevsForwardHK Riga
Deivids SarkanisForwardHK Riga
Andris SiksnisForwardHK Riga