Connolly, Brett

U20 World Junior Championships: Day One

Preliminary Round
Finland 1 @ Canada 8
Brett Connolly, Canada, 1-0-1, E, 0 PIM, 2 SOG
Tournament totals: 1 GP, 1-0-1, E, 0 PIM

Senators prospect Mark Stone had a hat trick and Panthers prospect Jonathan Huberdeau had 1 goal and 5 points in Canada's 8-1 slaughter of Finland. Lightning prospect Brett Connolly also had a goal in the contest, and was named an assistant captain for the Canadians. Canada draws Czech Republic next on Wednesday.

Switzerland 0 @ Russia 3
Nikita Kucherov, Russia, 0-1-1, E, 0 PIM, 1 SOG
Tournament totals: 1 GP, 0-1-1, E, 0 PIM

Nikita Nesterov, Russia, 0-0-0, +2, 2 PIM, 0 SOG
Tournament totals: 1 GP, 0-0-0, E, 2 PIM

Russian netminder Andrei Vasilevski weathered 40 shots for the shootout victory in Russia's 3-0 win over Switzerland. Lightning prospect Nikita Kucherov assisted on the Russian's final goal, an insurance marker by Mikhail Grigorienko late in the second period. For his part, fellow Lightning prospect Nikita Nesterov (pictured) continued the theme of his season going +2. No one collects pluses quite like Nikita Nesterov. He also took a minor for interference early in the third period. Russia faces Slovakia next on Wednesday.

World Juniors Game Night: 12-23-11

Pre-tournament

Canada 3 vs. Sweden 5

RW Brett Connolly, CAN: 0-0-0, 2 PIM (slashing)

Canada finished their pre-tournament games 2-1 after a loss to Sweden Friday night. They open play Monday against Finland. Connolly finished the three games with one assist and a penalty.

Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman (pictured with Sweden at the WJCs in 2009) tweeted after the game: "Congrats to the Swedish WJC team that beat Canada today ! Let's do that again later in the tournament"

Slovakia 0 vs. USA 5

World Juniors Game Night: 12-22-11

Pre-tournament

Canada 7 vs. Switzerland 1

RW Brett Connolly, CAN: 0-0-0, 0 PIM

Canada earned their second pre-tournament win in two games before the upcoming U20 World Junior Championships in Alberta. Connolly did not register a point, but as one of the team’s alternate captains was entrusted with penalty kill duty – a sign of respect from legendary junior coach Don Hay.

Russia 5 vs. Czech Republic 3

RW Nikita Kucherov, RUS: 0-2-2
C Vladislav Namestnikov, RUS: 0-0-0
D Nikita Nesterov, RUS: 0-0-0

These totals are very unofficial as no score was listed on the tournament’s official site and the boxscore was posted on a message board. If it helps, one of the comments from someone at the game said Kucherov looked good. Let’s just assume it’s true. Namestnikov and Nesterov weren’t on the scoresheet, so they could have been scoreless or they may not have played. In fact, respected Russian reporter Dmitry Chesnokov is reporting Namestnikov was cut from the team. Nesterov and Kucherov made the team. (Photo of Kucherov's celebration is from the USA game earlier this week)

Slovakia 0 vs. Finland 3

D Adam Janosik, SVK: 0-0-0, 0 PIM

Finland topped Slovakia in pre-tournament action Wednesday.

Lightning Prospect WJC Preview

Five Tampa Bay Lightning prospects will proudly don their home country’s sweater this holiday season to compete in the Under-20 World Junior Championships. The WJCs are arguably the most exciting international hockey tournament outside of the Olympics and playing for one’s country during this event is a career builder.

Last year Carter Ashton, Brett Connolly, and Canada came up short in the finals, allowing five third period goals to Russia in the gold medal game to lose, 5-3. Host team USA beat Sweden for the bronze in Buffalo, New York.

The last Lightning prospect to win a gold medal was Dustin Tokarski for Canada in 2009 when “The Tik” was player of the game in the championship game – a win over Victor Hedman and Sweden. Dana Tyrell was also a part of that Canadian team, but was injured in pre-tournament action and missed the tournament.

Here’s a look at each Lightning prospect participating in this year’s event, to be held December 26 through January 5 in Calgary and Edmonton, Alberta. Check NHL Network listings for broadcasts.

World Juniors Game Night: 12-19-11

Canada 3 vs. Finland 1 (Pre-tournament match)

RW Brett Connolly, CAN: 0-1-1, 0 PIM

Canada got a win in their first pre-tournament game before the upcoming U20 World Junior Championships in Alberta. Monday night they took down Finland 3-1 in Calgary’s Saddledome. Lightning winger Brett Connolly, permitted to join Canada by Bolts general manager Steve Yzerman, had an assist for the Canadians on Boone Jenner's goal. Last year Connolly had three assists in seven games for Canada.

Additional Lightning prospects in the tournament include Vladislav Namestnikov, Nikita Kucherov, and Nikita Nesterov for Russia, and Adam Janosik for Slovakia.

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