North American Juniors

U20 World Junior Championships: Day Three

Preliminary Round
Canada 5 @ Czech Republic 0
Brett Connolly, Canada, 1-0-1, +1, 2 PIM, 2 SOG
Tournament totals: 2 GP, 2-0-2, +1, 2 PIM

Brett Connolly scored the nail-in-coffin third goal for Canada late in the second period in their 5-0 win over Czech Republic. The goal showed some absolutely lethal stickhandling moves by Connolly, beating multiple defenders and the netminder on a joy ride through a crowded slot area. It was a man against boys moment. The forward also took a minor for interference in the match. Jets first rounder Mark Scheifele had a pair of goals in the win for the Canadians. Canada draws Denmark on Thursday. Lord have mercy on the Danes souls, because the Czechs made the Canadians work for it today, and they're bound to be grumpy.

Russia 3 @ Slovakia 1
Nikita Kucherov, Russia, 1-0-1, +1, 0 PIM, 5 SOG
Tournament totals: 2 GP, 1-1-2, +2, 0 PIM

Nikita Nesterov, Russia, 0-1-1, +1, 0 PIM, 0 SOG
Tournament totals: 2 GP, 0-1-1, +3, 2 PIM

Adam Janosik, Slovakia, 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM, 0 SOG
Tournament totals: 2 GP, 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM

It took a Nikita Kucherov insurance marker late in the third period for the Russians to finally put away a spunky Slovakian squad 3-1. Fellow Lightning prospect Nikita Nesterov had a secondary assist on the goal. Kucherov was second on Team Russia with 5 shots behind Yevgeni Kuznetsov's impressive 9 bids on net. Russia draws Latvia on Thursday. The same grumpiness likely will apply to Team Russia. Slovakia gets Sweden on Friday.

U20 World Junior Championships: Day Two

Preliminary Round
Slovakia 3 @ Latvia 1
Adam Janosik, Slovakia, 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM, 2 SOG
Tournament totals: 1 GP, 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM

Red Wings draftee Marek Tvrdon scored a goal early in the third period to help Slovakia overcome a 43 save performance by Kristers Gudlevskis in their 3-1 win over Latvia. The Slovakians added a late empty net goal by Michal Toman to seal the win. Assistant captain Adam Janosik was scoreless in the match for Slovakia. They face Russia next on Wednesday.

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.

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