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

Long time Italian national team goaltender Thomas Tragust has signed a new contract with Neumarkt/Egna of the second tier Austrian league.

Tragust has represented the Italian national team for ten years, his most recent tenure coming in 2013 when he played in three exhibition games while a member of HC Innsbruck in the top tier Austrian league. Tragust has won two gold medals at the men’s level, winning a gold in the 2009 D1B World Championships and 2011 D1A World’s, helping his team advance to the top division for 2012.

Tragust did take a shot back at North American hockey back in 2006 after the Buffalo Sabres gave him a training camp tryout contract. Although he was unable to crack a spot within the Sabres organization, Tragust played great that season, taking the Tornado to the playoffs. He returned to his native Italy to play for HC Fassa for two years before signing in Germany, and more recently, Austria.

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swiss-image.ch/Photo Andy Mettler
swiss-image.ch/Photo Andy Mettler

Ten teams have been added to the Champions Hockey League pool, bringing the total up to 4o teams.

According to the IIHF, the new clubs were brought in as wild cards after league play in their respective countries. The new clubs consist of VSV Villach and the Bolzano Foxes from Austria’s EBEL, Lukko Rauma and SaiPa Lappeenranta from Finland, Geneve-Servette and the Kloten Flyers from the Swiss NLA, Skelleftea AIK and Vaxjo Lakers from Sweden, Ocelari Trincec and either PSG Zlin or Kometa Brno from the Czech Extraliga and the Hamburg Freezers as well as Kölner Haie or Wolfsburg Grizzly Adams from Germany.

The first and only edition of the CHL was played with only 12 teams from the top seven leagues in Europe, with the Swiss club ZSC Lions taking home the championship. Following their win, the team took on the NHL’s Chicago Blackhawks in the Victoria Cup, and surprisingly, the NHL superstars were defeated in the final. The Champions League was cancelled shortly after, with hope that the NHL would participate in the future, but that never was the case.

Current team list (IIHF):

  • Austria (EBEL): Red Bull Salzburg, Vienna Capitals.
  • Czech Republic (Extraliga): Bili Tygri Liberec, HC Pardubice, Sparta Prague, Vitkovice Ostrava.
  • Finland (Liiga): IFK Helsinki, JYP Jyvaskyla, KalPa Kuopio, Karpat Oulu, Tappara Tampere, TPS Turku.
  • Germany (DEL): Adler Mannheim, Eisbaren Berlin, ERC Ingolstadt, Krefeld Pinguine.
  • Switzerland (NLA): SC Bern, Fribourg-Gotteron, ZSC Lions Zurich, EV Zug.
  • Sweden (SHL): Djurgarden Stockholm, Frolunda Gothenburg, Farjestad Karlstad, HV71 Jonkoping, Linkopings HC, Lulea Hockey.

According to the IIHF:

The Champions Hockey League will commence its inaugural season on 21 August 2014 and will play a 149-game schedule culminating with the final game on 3 February 2015. The draw for the group stage is planned on 21st May in Minsk, Belarus, where the 2014 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship will be held.

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Austria announced their first Olympic roster since the 2002 tournament in Salt Lake City, Utah, and it’s easily the strongest team they’ve ever brought. With names like Thomas Vanek, Bernhard Starkbaum, Michael Grabner and Thomas Hundertpfund, Austria doesn’t have all the big name talent some of their competitors do, but they could be one of the better teams heading into the 2017 Olympic Qualification round with a likely bottom four finish in this year’s tournament.

Goalkeepers:
Bernhard Starkbaum, Brynas Gavle (SWE)
Rene Swette, KAC Klagenfurt (AUT)
Mathias Lange, ERC Ingolstadt (AUT)

Defencemen:
Mario Altmann, VSV Villach (AUT)
Florian Iberer, KAC Klagenfurt (AUT)
Andre Lakos, Vienna Capitals (AUT)
Robert Lukas, EHC Linz (AUT)
Thomas Pock, KAC Klagenfurt (AUT)
Matthias Trattnig, Red Bull Salzburg (AUT)
Stefan Ulmer, HC Lugano (SUI)
Gerhard Unterluggauer, VSV Villach (AUT)

Forwards:
Michael Grabner, New York Islanders (NHL)
Raphael Herburger, EHC Biel (SUI)
Thomas Hundertpfund, Timra IK (SWE)
Matthias Iberer, EHC Linz (AUT)
Thomas Koch, KAC Klagenfurt (AUT)
Manuel Latusa, Red Bull Salzburg (AUT)
Brian Lebler, EHC Linz (AUT)
Andreas Nodl, Red Bull Salzburg (AUT)
Daniel Oberkofler, EHC Linz (AUT)
Michael Raffl, Philadelphia Flyers (NHL)
Thomas Raffl, Red Bull Salzburg (AUT)
Oliver Setzinger, Lausanne HC (SUI)
Thomas Vanek, New York Islanders (NHL)
Daniel Welser, Red Bull Salzburg (AUT)

The IIHF have announced that the Champions Hockey League, the top European club championship, will return in August 2014, with the conclusion happening in February of 2015.

The first and only edition of the CHL was played with only 12 teams from the top seven leagues in Europe, with the Swiss club ZSC Lions taking home the championship. Following their win, the team took on the NHL’s Chicago Blackhawks in the Victoria Cup, and surprisingly, the NHL superstars were defeated in the final. The Champions League was cancelled shortly after, with hope that the NHL would participate in the future, but that never was the case.

The IIHF also announced the clubs that will partake in the tournament, with a ton of talent coming from across Europe.

AUSTRIA (EBEL): EC Red Bull Salzburg, UPC Vienna Capitals.
CZECH REPUBLIC (Tipsport Extraliga): HC Bili Tygri Liberec, HC Pardubice, HC Sparta Prague, HC Vitkovice Ostrava.
FINLAND (Liiga): IFK Helsinki, JYP Jyväskylä, KalPa Kuopio, Kärpät Oulu, Tappara Tampere, TPS Turku.
GERMANY (DEL): Adler Mannheim, Eisbären Berlin, ERC Ingolstadt, Krefeld Pinguine.
SWITZERLAND (NLA): SC Bern, Fribourg-Gottéron, ZSC Lions Zurich, EV Zug.
SWEDEN (SHL): Djurgården Stockholm (currently playing in second-tier Allsvenskan), Frölunda Gothenburg, Färjestad Karlstad, HV71 Jönköping, Linköpings HC, Luleå Hockey.

Missing from the 2014 edition of the tournament is, of all leagues, the Kontinental Hockey League. It was believed that the league wanted to send Finnish club Jokerit to the tournament next season, as they will be joining the Russian based league a year from now. From the sounds of it, the IIHF rejected the offer, and that led to refusal from the league to participate.

The schedule, playoff format and more is expected to be announced at the Red Bulls Salute in Berlin on December 20th, 2013.

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Andreas Nödl is set to join his third team this season, signing with Austrian club Red Bull Salzburg.

Nodl was drafted in the second round, 39th overall, of the 2006 NHL Entry Draft by the Philadelphia Flyers. On November 29, 2011, he was waived by the Flyers after spending time between the NHL and AHL and was picked up by the Hurricanes. He’s a veteran of 183 NHL games and should get another shot in the NHL at some point. During his time with the Hurricanes, he was considered more of a defensive forward than an offensive one, leading him to be placed in roles that he didn’t fulfill all too well.

During the summer, Nodl signed a try-out contract with Lausanne in Switzerland but didn’t get a contract afterwards. As a result, Nodl signed with Klagenfurter AC in Austria, posting four points in six games before being released following the recent Euro Ice Hockey Challenge tournament this past weekend.

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Thanks to a dominating three game performance, France has won the 2013 Euro Ice Hockey Challenge in Innsbruck, Austria.

In the final contest of the division one tournament, Damien Fleury, who has over twenty points for France during his international career, scored a hat trick against the Slovenian opponents. Charles Bertrand and Brian Henderson both added goals of their own to cap off the impressive 5-2 victory over Slovenia. Prior to Sunday’s match, France took home a 2-1 shootout victory against Belarus after getting out-shot 36-22 during regulation, as well as a 3-1 victory over Austria on Friday. It’s been a good 2013 for France, who shocked the hockey world by beating Russia during the 2013 World Hockey Championships earlier this year.

Poland grabbed the title in the second division of the EIHC tournament this weekend following a 2-1 record. They only lost the first game in the shootout against the hosts from Hungary before going on to beat Ukraine 5-2 and Romania 6-0 to win their respective EIHC gold.

The second leg of the EIHC is set to take place in Briancon, France from Feburary 7th-9th, featuring Germany, Kazakhstan, France and Denmark.

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EBEL squad Orli Znojmo release two of their four goalies, sending Jakub Čech and Richard Ullberg to free agency.

Čech was drafted 54th overall by Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds in the 2003 CHL Import Draft. He only got to suit up in one game for the club, allowing five goals on 32 shots. He spent much of his professional career split between the Czech and Czech2 leagues, posting less then favorable numbers throughout most of his time.

Ullberg is a two time Finnish World Junior goaltender, competing at the 2011 and 2012 editions of the tournament. Last season, after finishing up a strong year with the SaiPa franchise, mainly as a development player, he was loaned to the Green Bay Gamblers of the USHL, putting up a 8-5-0 record to go along with a 3.49 GAA and .891 SP. He leaves Znojmo with a .926 SP and 2.27 GAA after two games.

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Elsa/Getty Images
Elsa/Getty Images

Following a short, but well traveled career,  goaltender Shawn Hunwick will join his agent Alec Schall as part of Legacy Global Sports, retiring from hockey.

If you were wondering what Hunwick was up to this year, all you had to do was pay attention to our transaction page. Hunwick was  released from his contract with EC Red Bull Salzburg after playing three European Trophy games and only one in its entirety in September. Afterward, it was believed that he was to sign with Bolzano in Italy, however the deal fell through. Just a few days after being let go, however, Hunwick signed a tryout with the ECHL affiliate of the Phoenix Coyotes, the Las Vegas Wranglers, and was later signed to a tryout by the Providence Bruins of the AHL. He didn’t get a contract once his tryout was completed, and was sent to the South Carolina Stingrays of the ECHL. After 9 miserable games in a Stingray uniform, Hunwick was traded to the Utah Grizzlies, where his stats didn’t do justice. In 11 games this season, the former college star has 4 wins, 5 losses in 9 games this year, with a not so pleasant 4.38 GAA  and .830 SP in his two outings with Utah. Hunwick had a 2.92 GAA while facing about 30 shots per game with the South Carolina Stingrays this season. Before 2012 even came to a close, he signed a contract for the remainder of the season with the Iserlohn Roosters of the DEL in Germany. With Sebastion Caron, as well as young goalies Lukas Schaffrath and Raphael Leibfried, Hunwick’s play didn’t warrant him a contract renewal, resulting in the end of his career.

During the 2011-2012 campaign, Hunwick was signed to an amateur try-out on March 28th, 2012 just days after his college career ended. The Columbus Blue Jackets gave him this opportunity when Steve Mason went down to injury in a practice. -Hunwick made his NHL debut on April 7th in a game against the Islanders after replacing Steve Mason in the last few minutes in a 7-3 victory.

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After 12 seasons of professional hockey in North America, Graham Mink has signed his first European contract, agreeing to a one-year deal with Dornbirner EC of the Austrian Hockey League.

Mink made his pro debut in the ECHL during the 2001–02 campaign, appearing in 29 games with the Richmond Renegades before moving up to the Pirates. Following an impressive 34 points in 56 games, Mink was signed by their NHL affiliate, the Washington Capitals for the 2002–03 season and continued to play for the Pirates and later on the Hershey Bears, helping them as an assistant captain to the 2006 and 2009 Calder Cups.

On July 8, 2009, Graham signed a two-year free agent deal with the Florida Panthers. He was then assigned to AHL affiliate, the Rochester Americans where he served as an alternate captain for the 2009–10 season. On August 3, 2010, Mink was traded by the Panthers to the St. Louis Blues in exchange for T.J. Fast after appearing in no games with the Panthers. On July 13, 2011, Mink left the Peoria Riverman and signed a one-year contract to return to the Hershey Bears for the 2011–12 AHL season. His reboot with the team was short lived, as he would sign with the Providence Bruins the following season.

Graham has mainly spent his career in the AHL, recording 511 points in 719 games. He does have NHL experience, however in seven career games, he has not recorded a single point.

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Former NHL propsect Matt Keither has signed with EC Salzburg for the upcoming season.

Keith was drafted 59th overall in the 2001 NHL Entry Draft by the Chicago Blackhawks. He appeared in his first NHL game on February 24, 2004 against the Philadelphia Flyers. On March 1 of that same year against the Nashville Predators, he scored his first goal.

On December 29, 2006, he was traded along with Sébastien Caron and Chris Durno to the Ducks in exchange for Pierre Parenteau and Bruno St. Jacques. After spending most of the time in the AHL, he was traded to the Islanders from the Anaheim Ducks in exchange for Darryl Bootland in January of 2008. Keith appeared in 3 games with the Islanders upon the completion of the 2007–08 season. On July 25, 2008 Keith signed with German team, ERC Ingolstadt of the DEL.

For the 2009-10 season Keith returned to North America signing with, the Rockford IceHogs of the AHL, affiliate of the Chicago Blackhawks. Scoring 21 goals in 69 games for the IceHogs, Keith was then signed to a one-year contract with fellow AHL team, the Abbotsford Heat, affiliate of the Calgary Flames on September 28, 2010.

After one season in Sweden with second division side, Örebro HK, Keith moved to the Czech Republic, signing a one-year deal with HC Karlovy Vary on July 9, 2012, only to be released today due to poor performance midway through the season. He would eventually ink a contract with Dornbirner EC to finish off the season.

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After four seasons within the St. Louis Blues organization, Brett Sonne has signed a one-year contract with Austrian club, Dornbirner EC of the EBEL.

Sonne was drafted 85th overall in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft by the Blues. After five seasons with the Calgary Hitman of the WHL, Sonne became a member of the gold medal winning Canadian team at the 2009 World Junior Hockey Championships.

This past season, St. Louis loaned Sonne to Texas in return for defenseman Carl Sneep. Sonne played in 56 games for Peoria this season, posting 15 points, and while a member of the Stars, he posted 3 points in six games. In 271 career AHL games, Sonne was only good for 68 points.

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Former NHL defenseman Andy Delmore has retired and will be an assistant coach with the Sarnia Sting after splitting the past season in Austria and Italy.

Delmore went undrafted in 1997 and signed as a free agent with the Philadelphia Flyers, making his NHL debut during the 1998–99 season. Delmore was traded twice on March 9, 2004; the Sabres first traded him to the Boston Bruins for future considerations and he was then traded to the San Jose Sharks (along with Curtis Brown) for Jeff Jillson and a ninth-round draft pick. He did not play for either team.

After a few seasons patrolling the Detroit and Tampa blue lines, Delmore went back to Germany (where he played in the 2004-2005 lockout) and signed a two-year contract with the Hamburg Freezers, of the DEL on July 17, 2007.  After a two-year absence, Delmore returned to North America for the 2009–10 season when the Detroit Red Wings again signed Delmore to a one-year contract on July 28, 2009. Delmore was then assigned to AHL affiliate, the Grand Rapids Griffins. On March 3, 2010, he was traded to the Calgary Flames for Riley Armstrong. He was then assigned to Flames affiliate, the Abbotsford Heat. On October 24, 2010, Delmore left again for Europe signing a one-year contract with Norwegian team, Lørenskog IK, and stayed overseas for the remainder of his career.

A veteran of more than 600 games combined at the National Hockey League and American Hockey League level, Delmore was an AHL All-Star in 2005-06 and won the AHL’s Eddie Shore Award (Defenseman of the Year) in that same season.

 

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Alex Plante, who was an Edmonton Oilers prospect, has signed with Austrian club Dornbirner EC for the upcoming campaign.

Plante was selected by the Edmonton Oilers 15th overall in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft. The Oilers signed Plante to a three-year contract following the season. He began his professional career in 2009–10 with Edmonton’s top minor league affiliate, the Springfield Falcons of the American Hockey League. Several injuries on Edmonton’s defence led the Oilers to recall Plante, and he made his NHL debut on February 1, 2010 against the Carolina Hurricanes and recorded an assist. He was returned to Springfield as injured players returned to the Oilers’ lineup.

Plante appeared in three games with the Oilers in three separate call-ups during the fall of 2011, but didn’t record a single point. That season, he scored 1 goal with 13 assists and was plus-16 with 84 penalty minutes in 41 games for the Barons. Following a three point AHL season last year, Plante was named the team’s winner of the IOA/American Specialty AHL Man of the Year award for his outstanding contributions to the Oklahoma City community during the 2012-13 season.

The signing of defenseman Jay Leach, as well as the possibility to bring in Paul Ranger, made Plante expendable.

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After a recent demotion from Italy’s Serie A league, SG Pontebba has joined the Austrian Regional league, the Kaertner Liga, or otherwise known as the Carinthian Hockey League.

Pontebba’s biggest accomplishment in hockey has to be when the won the 2008 Italian Cup a few years back. Earlier in the year, the club lost 4-2 against Italian team Fassa, which meant the team lost the series 4-0 and was relegated to Serie A2 after seven consecutive seasons in Serie A. Instead, the team chose to zip over to Austria for the 2013-2014 campaign.

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Dany Sabourin has decided to take his hockey talents overseas, signing with the Graz 99ers in Austria.

Drafted in the fourth round, 108th overall by the Calgary Flames in the 1998 NHL Entry Draft, he played four games with Calgary before moving to the Pittsburgh Penguins. In 2006, he was awarded the Baz Bastien Memorial Trophy as top goaltender in the AHL after achieving 30 wins in 49 games with Pittsburgh’s AHL farm team in Wilkes-Barre. In October 2006, the Vancouver Canucks claimed him via waivers, where he served as backup to Roberto Luongo.

On July 1, 2007, Sabourin was signed by the Pittsburgh Penguins once again as an unrestricted free agent, recording 10 wins for the Penguins in the 2007–08 NHL season. On January 17, 2009, Sabourin was traded to the Edmonton Oilers along with forward Ryan Stone and a fourth round draft pick for Goaltender Mathieu Garon. However, general manager Steve Tambellini declared on the day of the trade that he had no intention of bringing Sabourin to the Edmonton Oilers club. Instead, the Oilers stated that they intended to trade or waive Sabourin, who finished the year with Edmonton’s AHL affiliate Springfield Falcons. For the past three campaigns, the Canadian born goaltender has played with the Hershey Bears of the AHL, getting named to the AHL All Star Game during the 2011-2012 campaign.

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After two successful seasons with Anyang Halla of the Asian Hockey League, former NHLer Ric Jackman has signed with Austrian club Székesfehérvár.

Jackman was drafted fifth overall by the Dallas Stars in the 1996 NHL Entry Draft. Jackman has played 231 career NHL games, scoring 19 goals and 58 assists for 77 points. His best offensive season was with the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2003–04, after coming over from the Toronto Maple Leafs; he scored 7 goals and 24 points in 25 games. He was traded by the Leafs for veteran defenceman Drake Berehowsky at the trade deadline.

After parts of five seasons in the NHL, Jackman opted to sign overseas with EC Red Bull Salzburg in Austria in the summer of 2007. He also played for Leksand of Allsvenskan in Sweden and Biel of the Swiss-A league. In 2010, he accepted a special invitation to play for the Utah Grizzlies (ECHL) prior to joining HC Slovan Bratislava in Slovak Extraliga. On December 5, 2010, Jackman signed a 2-year deal with HC Slovan Bratislava, but since the club is struggling financially, Jackman asked to waive the contract. In July 17, 2011, Jackman officially signed with Anyang Halla of ALIH for a 3-year-deal, but only played two seasons before joining Székesfehérvár.

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redbull.com
redbull.com

After splitting the year with Dinamo Riga (KHL) and EC Salzburg Red Bull (Austria), Robbie Schremp has signed with NLA club EV Zug for the upcoming season.

Drafted by the Edmonton Oilers in the first round of the 2004 NHL Entry Draft, Schremp made his professional debut during the 2006-07 season with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, then the Oilers’ American Hockey League (AHL) affiliate. He also made his NHL debut that season, dressing for the Oilers in a game against the Minnesota Wild on April 5, 2007. Schremp had difficulty securing a roster spot with the Oilers and found himself playing primarily for the AHL’s Springfield Falcons over the following two seasons, seeing only limited action with Edmonton. He accumulated 171 points in 216 AHL games during that period, as well as 3 points in 7 games with the Oilers.

On September 29, 2009, Schremp was claimed off waivers by the New York Islanders. Schremp found more regular time with the Islanders, playing 44 games during the 2009-10 season. His first NHL goal came on December 12, 2009, in a game against the Boston Bruins.  That season Schremp tallied 7 goals and 25 points.

Schremp posted another 10 goals and 22 points in 45 games with the Islanders during the 2010-11 season, but on February 28, 2011, was claimed off waivers by the Atlanta Thrashers. He scored his first goal as a Thrasher on March 9, 2011 against the Carolina Hurricanes. He finished the season with 3 goals and 4 points in 18 games with Atlanta for a total of 26 points in 63 games. After not receiving a contract offer from the Thrashers, Schremp signed a one year deal with Modo in Sweden before signing with Dinamo Riga this past off-season.

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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.

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Austria 1, France 3

Richard Wolowicz/HHOF-IIHF Images

This game may have little importance to countries like Canada or Finland, but today’s 3-1 for France could be the difference maker when finding out who will get regulated at the end of the tournament. French goalie Cristobal Huet bounced back nicely after allowing five goals against Slovakia in the opener, making 35 saves while Austria’s Bernhard Starkbaum had 23 stops. Damien Fleury and Teddy da Costa both scored in the first period over a span of 41 seconds, shocking the Austrians who earned a birth to the 2014 Olympics this past winter.  In the second period, a breakaway by Julien Desrosiers, who got right into the slot past Gerhard Unterluggauer and roofed it stick side, made it 3-0 France at 17:50 into the middle frame. Austria cut the lead to 3-1 during the third period when Buffalo Sabres star Thomas Vanek was left unobstructed in the slot, teeing up a shot and then depositing his rebound in the open net. Despite the goal, Austria was not the better team, as France skated away with the 3-1 victory.

Belarus 4, Slovenia 3

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If Slovenia want’s to stick with the big boys, they better grab a win soon as they fall to 0-2 after two games. The game today against Belarus didn’t start off too bad, though. With 6:32 remaining in the first period, Tomaz Razingar scored to give Slovenia the 1-0 lead after Rok Pajic skated around Belarus goaltender Vitali Belinski, who went down, and slid the puck across the crease where an unattended Razingar scored. With 2:41 left in the period, Belarus’ Ilya Kaznadei scored on a wrist shot that hit the pads of Robert Kristan’s and slowly crossed over the goal line. Belarus’ Alexander Kitarov’s high, hard wrist shot broke the tie in the second period after receiving a pass from Dmitri Meleshko to give the red, green and white the 2-1 lead. Slovenia wasn’t ready to lose this game, and minutes after Belarus’ goal, David Rodman threw a pass into traffic in the crease where his brother, Marcel, found the puck through a maze of players and put the disk in the net. Belarus took back the lead with Andrei Filichkin’s goal at 4:57 of the final frame after rifling the hard shot past Kristan. Slovenia once again tied the game when Robert Sabolic scored with 5:08 remaining with Ziga Jeglic and Rok Ticar getting assists, but Alexei Ugarov’s late third period goal 27 seconds later did the trick for Belarus who would walk away with the 4-3 final victory.

Russia 4, Germany 1

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This game was all Ilya Kovalchuk today. After recording a goal and an assist against Latvia during Russia’s 6-0 route yesterday, the New Jersey Devils sniper unloaded with a hat trick in Russia’s 4-1 victory over the Germans. Semyon  Varlamov got his first tournament start in goal for the defending World Champions, while 2010 tournament MVP Dennis Endras got the call for Germany. Kovalchuk drew first blood for Russia at 3:20 of the second period after Evgeni Medvedev faked a slapper from the right point and then sent the puck to Kovalchuk, where he beat Endras with a perfect, high short-side shot. Midway through the second, former Nashville Predator Alex Radulov went behind the net after a failed scoring chance before getting the puck to Kovalchuk, who wasted no time getting his second goal of the match and the third of the tournament. The Germans capitalized on the man advantage at 5:03 of the third period to draw within one when John Tripp shoveled in the unattended puck that was sitting behind the goalie to cut Russia’s lead in half. Germany had most of the momentum throughout the third period, and with 5:33 left on the clock, Andre Rankel directed the puck into the net for what the German team thought was the game-tying goal. Instead, the refs claimed Rankel had deliberately kicked the puck in with his skate and waved it off. Kovalchuk would score his third goal of the game with only two minutes left in the match-up before Denis Kokarev added an empty-netter with 21 seconds remaining.

Canada 2, Switzerland 3 (SO)

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Reto Suri was money when it counted most for Switzerland, recording two goals in the shootout to give the Swiss the 3-2 victory over Canada, only their second win at the World Championships against Canada ever. Switzerland dominated the first period by playing a physical game, feeding off the momentum created by Martin Gerber’s strong performance between the pipes. The Swiss got the first goal of the match midway through the first when Julian Walker made a nice drop pass to Denis Holenstein on a two on two rush that saw the puck slip past Phoenix Coyotes goalie Mike Smith. The Canadians did what they did in their first game by coming out harder in the second period, but the Swiss played just as hard. However, Canada evened the score at 14:33 when Luke Schenn ripped a hard pass to the top of the crease where Andrew Ladd was cutting in, and Ladd redirected the puck past Gerber to make it a 1-1 game. Matt Read’s goal at 7:35 of the third broke a 1-1 tie after he ripped the shot through an almost impossible opening through Gerber.  Minutes later, Nino Niederreiter scored on a controversial goal that appeared to be off the skate, however the goal stood. The two team’s went to overtime, but neither team could score. Suri got the first goal in the shootout, followed by Colorado’s Matt Duchene getting one of his own, but Suri would get another chance on the shootout, a chance he surely capitalized on.

USA 4, Latvia 1

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Despite giving up the first goal, USA was not going to let the Latvians, who lost 6-0 to Russia yesterday, come over and steal three points from them. Latvia came strong out of the gate against the U.S., and caught the American team by surprise, but knowing that the last time they beat the Americans in any game was in 2001, it wasn’t in their favor. However, a minute into the second, Janis Sprukts won a puck battle in the American zone, carried the puck to the corner, turned around and found Winnipeg Jets defenseman Arturs Kulda wide open in the slot, who would rip the puck past Ben Bishop and into the net.  It only took 60 seconds before Team USA tied the game, as Tim Stapleton snapped it from the edge of the crease and behind Edgars Masalskis and into the twine. The Americans were given a power-play a minute later, and David Moss took advantage with that, giving the Americans the one goal lead in the second. The power-play would work once again for the Americans in the third period, as Butler backhanded his second goal of the game with a rebound to the net to make it 3-1 at 10:55 in the final frame. Matt Hunwick made it 4-1 just a minute and 26 seconds later with a slap shot from the blueline, giving America their second win in as many days.

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USA 5, Austria 3

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The Americans came into the game as the clear number one favorites, but this morning’s game was no indication of that. Austria took control of the game early on when they scored two quick goals within 40 seconds early in the first period. It all began when Manuel Latusa beat Ben Bishop with a slapshot from the slot at 4:58 into the first frame, stunning the American team that expected an easy win. Then, on the very next shift, Matthias Iberer carrierd the puck into the U.S. zone, took a shot from the top of the right faceoff circle, then Bishop let out a juicy rebound right to Daniel Welser’s feet and he one-timed the puck top shelf. The second period was a little better for the US, as Erik Johnson tied the game few minutes into the second period with a slap shot that went right through Austrian puck stopper Bernard Starkbaum. Midway through the period, Tim Stapleton scored on another rebound to give USA the lead for the first time and less than 90 seconds later Aaron Palushaj scored with a one-timer that went off the post and into the net. Austria took a time out after the two straight goals and used their momentum to cut the lead to only one when David Schuller won the foot race to the puck and got it over the goal line. However, that goal had little importance as Johnson would record his second goal of the game, giving the Americans the 5-3 win in a hard fought, tough battle with Austria.

Norway 3, Slovenia 1

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Slovenia was just hoping that, without star player Anze Kopitar, they could stick with the big boys for another season, but it didn’t start off well thanks to a 3-1 decision that went in Norway’s favor. Only 1:02 into the game, Anders Bastiansen had a lot of space on the left wing and found the net with a soft shot between the pads of Robert Kristan, the first shot of the game. Bastiansen wasn’t done putting pucks in the net, as he was able to put home a breakaway at the four minute mark of the period. Slovenia, though out shot 11-4 in the first, wasn’t ready to roll over just yet, and with 16.2 seconds left in the period, Ziga Jeglic scored on a nice snapshot in via a pass by Rok Ticar. The goal gave Slovenia a ton of new energy going into the second period, which saw them get multiple good scoring opportunities throughout the frame. No goals were scored, but Slovenia reversed the shot total in the second, out shooting Norway 10-2.  The third period saw a close match-up, as Norway knew one goal against could be the difference between a win and a loss. Mads Hansen had a penalty shot with 1:29 left in the game, but the shot was fairly weak and easily stopped by Kristan. Slovenia pulled the goalie and was close to tie it when the puck bounced in front of Norway’s Lars Haugen with around 20 seconds left but instead Mads Hansen got revenge for his bad penalty shot and made the final score 4-3 with 4.7 seconds left to play.

Russia 6, Latvia 0

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It has been ten years since Latvia last beat Russia in a World Championship game, and it wasn’t going to happen this year. Russia came out hot in their first game of the 2013 version of the tournament as they beat Latvia easily 6-0. It was an even battle for the first half of the opening frame, but 13 minutes in, Yevgeni Biryukov’s slap shot from the point beat Latvian goaltender Maris Jucers, giving Russia the 1-0 game winning goal. The first few minutes of the second was fairly physical, as Latvia took a penalty in the early stages of the period. Russia’s Alexei Tereshenko took a high-sticking minor, opening the door for Latvia to score, but they were unable to capitalize. 58 seconds later, Latvia’s Armands Berzins received a five-minute major and game misconduct for checking from behind when he shoved Sergei Soin head-first into the boards. Latvia took another penalty to give Russia a five on three power-play, however they were limited on their scoring chances and couldn’t take advantage. When Latvia returned to even strength, however, Russia’s Evgeni Medvedev’s wrist shot from the blueline got redirected off a Latvian player’s skate and found its way to the back of the net, giving Russia a two-goal cushion. At 12:59 in the second period, Ilya Kovalchuk got the puck to Alex Radulov who made the Latvian defenseman look silly with a spin-o-rama, then buried a backhand shot top-shelf to make it 3-0. With only 65 seconds remaining, Yevgeni Ryasenski scored after Alexander Perezhogin deked a Latvian defenseman and then found Ryasenski following the rush, beating Maris Jucers with a wrist-shot. Russia added two more goals before the game was done to defeat Latvia in a lopsided 6-0 victory.

Canada 3, Denmark 1

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It was clear early that Canada hadn’t adjusted to the big ice surface just yet during their first game match up against the Danes that almost saw an upset. Four minutes into the game, Eric Staal took a slashing penalty that would turn out to be costly, as Danish forward Morten Green split the Canadian defense after a nifty pass from Kim Staal (not related to Canada’s Eric and Jordan) to make it 1-0 only seconds after the power-play began. Green just couldn’t resist the opportunity to get back on the score sheet, taking two straight penalties in the first ten minutes of the second frame. The second penalty would be short lived, however, as Matt Duchene forgot that he had line mates and single-handedly dangled all the Danish forwards in front before crossing the crease and lifting the puck over Simon Nielsen. The momentum was translated into another goal, as this time Steven Stamkos rushed past the defense before getting the goalie to commit to a goal he had no ability of stopping, giving Canada the 2-1 lead. Despite a better second period for Canada, Denmark proved that they weren’t going to roll over and hand the win to the Canadian squad that had high expectations going into the tournament, capped off by the strong play of Nielsen between the pipes. Denmark had some pressure in the third period, however Matt Duchene’s insane effort that saw him completely dangle the Danish team before potting in a rebound in the third period put the dagger in the heart of the team in white, handing Canada the 3-1 victory in their first game of the tournament.

 

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Finland 2, Slovakia 0

There was no question who the real star of the game was today, as young Finnish goaltender Antti Raanta stood on his head with 36 saves as Finland beat Slovakia 2-0 for its second win (first regulation) of the tournament. Slovakia tested the 23 year old SM-liiga goalie with a barrage of shots in the first as Slovakia took a 15-4 shot advantage in the first twenty minutes, yet Raanta was able to stop every single one of them. Finland got the game going at the 11 minute mark when Juhamatti Aaltonen skated right to the net and got a piece of Sami Lepistö’s point shot. While Raanta may have gotten all the attention, it would be hard to ignore Slovakia’s Rastislav Stana, who made a number of big saves throughout the game, including a great reactionary save near the halfway mark of the second period when Aaltonen’s centering pass on the rush nearly tipped in off defenseman Milan Jurcina’s skate. At the end of the second period,  tempers flared between the two teams after a late Michael Sersen hit on Jarno Koskiranta, resulting in multiple roughing minors. At the two minute mark of the third, Finnish scoring leader Petri Kontiola went right to the net and put in his own rebound through the legs of Stana to give his team the deciding 2-0 victory. Slovakia pulled their goalie in the final minute in a desperate attempt to tie it up, but failed to capitalize with the extra man and would lose 2-0 to the co-hosts.

 

Sweden 2, Czech Republic 1

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Both goalies stole the show in the exciting end-to-end game, as Alexander Salak of the Czech Republic and Sweden’s Jhonas Enroth both played one of their greatest games of their lives. The game started out in Sweden’s favor, as Martin Thörnberg made a great pass behind the net to Jimmie Ericsson, and he quickly jammed the puck in the near post for the opening goal early. Despite the early goal, Salak, a former NHL prospect, looked sharped as the Swedes out-shot the Czechs 16-3 in the opening frame. The Czech’s built off the goaltender momentum in the first to start the second strong, throwing shot after shot at Buffalo Sabres backup Jhonas Enroth, stopping them all. Despite the pressure, the Czech’s gave up the next goal when Henrik Tallinder’s wrist shot from the point beat a screened Salak. The goal fired up the Czechs, and the rest of the period offered many great scoring chances and great saves as the red, blue and white boys wanted to desperately get back in the close game. The Czechs got back into the game with a goal at 12:40 on the power play when Jakub Voracek’s long shot was deftly redirected in front by Jiri Hulder under Enroth’s arm. Both teams traded scoring chances throughout the rest of the game, but both goalies were on the top of the game. The Czech’s were unable to get another one by Enroth as the other co-hosts rode into the sunset with their first win of the tournament.

 

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