Denmark will head into the semi-finals thanks to a 4-2 victory against Russia at the World Junior A Challenge on Monday.
The Russians needed just seven minutes to score their first goal. After a couple of Danish efforts went unsuccessful, 17-year-old Mikhail Vorobyov picked up a pass from Denis Guryanov in the corner and beat George Sorensen below the blocker to break the ice.
There was no question that Ehlers was going to be a force at this tournament. A QMJHL scoring star with the Halifax Mooseheads, Ehlers scored two goals last night against Team Canada West to lead Denmark to the victory. He showed his skill once again at the end of the first period when he scored a beautiful five-hole short-handed goal on the breakaway with less than a second remaining in the period. The goal light came on before the period light, signalling that the goal was in fact good enough to count.
The second period saw no scoring, but Denamrk sure got close. Columbus Blue Jackets prospect Oliver Bjorkstrand had the best chance with five minutes to go when his wrist shot went over Ilya Samsonov’s glove, but the puck stayed out after hitting the crossbar. Mikkel Aagaard followed that up by a last second opportunity of his own, but unlike Ehlers in the first period, the shot proved to be just a second too late.
If you needed any proof that Ehlers was a good player, this tournament was all you needed. After his dominant performance on Sunday, Ehlers followed it up by scoring 100% of Denmark’s goals on Monday, including an early third period marker that beat Samsonov over the glove.
Russia wasn’t too pleased with Ehlers, so they decided to score one of their own five minutes later. The team got the tying goal from Alexander Kozyrev, who’s slap shot from the point went untouched all the way into the back of the net.
The highlight of the tournament may have come with just three minutes left in the game, and of course, it came courtesy of Ehlers. After receiving a beautiful stretch pass, Ehlers made an incredible play deke off his skate before flipping it over Samsonov for the go ahead goal. Anders Krogsgaard scored an empty netter in the final seconds of the game, sealing Denmark’s fate as the champions of Group B following a 2-0 record in preliminary round action.
Follow me on twitter, @StevenEllisNHL.