2018 IIHF World Junior Championship: 12-31-17

2018 IIHF World Junior Championship

Switzerland 3 @ Czech Republic 6

D Libor Hajek, CZE: 0-2-2, +1, 0 PIM, 2 SOG
Tournament Totals: 4 GP, 1-4-5, +4, 4 PIM, 8 SOG

Hajek had a pair of assists, one on the power play, in the Czech Republic’s domination of the Swiss, scoring 6 and putting up 60 shots. Red Deer Rebel Kristian Reichel (undrafted), son of ex-NHL’er Robert Reichel, scored twice for the Czechs. Hajek fed Jakub Lauko (2018 draft eligible) for the opening goal just 2:38 into the match, and then followed it up by working with Martin Kaut (2018 draft eligible) on a power play marker by Martin Necas (CAR, 2017 1st round pick) to put the Czechs up 2-1. After the Swiss knotted the score at 3-3 with a power play goal of their own, the Czechs locked the nets and reeled off three straight goals from Kaut, Daniel Kurovsky (undrafted), and Reichel.

The Czech Republic awaits the results of the final preliminary game of Russia vs. Sweden to see who they draw in the quarterfinals on January 2nd. The Russians can finish 2nd in Group B with a regulation win over the Swedes. Otherwise, the Czechs will finish 2nd in Group B.

2018 IIHF World Junior Championship: 12-30-17

2018 IIHF World Junior Championship

Czech Republic 6 vs Belarus 5

D Libor Hajek, CZE: 1-1-2, E, 0 PIM, 1 SOG
Tournament Totals: 2 GP, 0-2-2, +1, 4 PIM, 3 SOG

Hajek had a goal and an assist in the Czech Republic’s comeback victory against a spirited Belarus squad, and then called out his team in the post-game media for selfish and individual play.

Belarus opened the scoring in the first with a power play goal, and then just after the midpoint of the period, Daniel Kurovsky (undrafted) was given a 5-minute major and a 20-minute game misconduct for slashing defenseman Vladislav Gabrus (undrafted) in the groin. And while the Belarusians couldn’t capitalize on the resulting 5-minute power play, they did strike for the 2-0 lead just 48 seconds into the 2nd period, precipitating a goalie change in the Czech nets. The goalie change had its intended effect on the Czech skaters with Radovan Pavlik (undrafted) tallying the first of his two goals just 43 seconds after the goalie switch, followed by Hajek’s equalizer on a wrister from the high slot just 24 seconds after Pavlik’s goal.

The Czechs would put up three more goals in the 2nd period to take a 5-2 lead, the first being a power play marker from Halifax winger and top 2018 draft prospect Filip Zadina, then Hajek assisting on a Filip Chytil (NYR, 2017 1st round pick) goal, and finally Pavlik’s 2nd marker that resulted in a Belarussian goalie change.

Like the Czechs, the change in goal spurred Belarus offensively with Yegor Sharangovich (undrafted) netting his 2nd goal of the game, a power play score with just 75 seconds left in the 2nd period to cut the Czech lead to 5-3 going into the final frame. But the Czechs weren’t done with the undisciplined play, as Pavlik earned a 10-minute misconduct for unsportsmanlike conduct when he fired a shot into the Belarus net after the whistle for an icing call. Belarus cut the lead to 5-4 on the ensuing power play, but the Czech Republic reestablished the two goal lead with strike from Sherbrooke winger Marek Zachar (undrafted). Belarus tallied the false hope goal about 90 seconds later when defenseman Gabrus came back from the 1st period slash to the groin to score for Belarus, but they would get no closer.

The Czech Republic plays their final preliminary round match on New Year’s Eve against the Swiss team, looking to undergird their quarterfinal seed with a single loss to Sweden.

Denmark 0 vs Canada 8

F Taylor Raddysh , CAN: 0-1-1, +1, 0 PIM, 3 SOG
Tournament Totals: 4 GP, 2-2-4, +4, 2 PIM, 10 SOG

F Boris Katchouk, CAN: 0-1-1, +1, 0 PIM, 1 SOG
Tournament Totals: 3 GP, 2-2-4, +4, 2 PIM, 9 SOG

F Brett Howden , CAN: 2-0-2, +3, 0 PIM, 3 SOG, *Player of the Game*
Tournament Totals: 4 GP, 2-0-2, +3, 4 PIM, 9 SOG

D Cal Foote, CAN: 0-3-3, +4, 0 PIM, 1 SOG
Tournament Totals: 4 GP, 0-3-3, +5, 0 PIM, 1 SOG

Brett Howden (pictured) scored twice in Canada’s rout of the Danish WJC squad en route to Player of the Game honors for the Canadian team. Canada fired 44 shots at Denmark netminder Emil Gransoe (undrafted), putting up the snowman on the scoreboard. Cal Foote notched assists on both of Howden’s goals, giving Lightning fans a preview of a possible Tampa Bay future, along with a third assist on Drake Batherson’s (OTT, 2017 4th round pick) third period power play marker. Raddysh and Katchouk both assisted on the game’s opening goal by Robert Thomas (STL, 2017 1st round pick). Katchouk won a battle on the half wall and shoveled the puck behind the goal to Raddysh, who fed Thomas cutting to the Danish net. The stats lines for Raddysh and Katchouk are nearly identical in four games thus far, and the pair have had obvious chemistry since the beginning of the tournament, and no doubt Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds GM Kyle Raftis is paying attention amid continued rumors that the rebuilding Erie Otters is looking to move Raddysh by the OHL trade deadline.

Canada has completed preliminary play, winning Group A with a record of 3-0-1-0 and will most likely draw the Swiss squad in the quarterfinals on January 2nd.

Juniors Game Night: 12-30-17

Quebec Major Junior Hockey League

Cape Breton Screaming Eagles 2 @ Halifax Mooseheads 5

C/W Otto Somppi, HAL: 1-1-2, E, 0 PIM, 3 SOG, 8/12 FO
Season Totals: 28 GP, 12-26-38, +24, 14 PIM
’16-’17 Totals: 60 GP, 17-24-41, -7, 28 PIM

Somppi (pictured) notched two power play points, a goal and an assist, in the Mooseheads’ 5-2 win over the Screaming Eagles. Alexi Gravel (2018 draft eligible) made 29 saves and Xavier Parent (2019 draft eligible) scored twice.

Ontario Hockey League

** Note: Boris Katchouk (Sault Ste. Marie) and Taylor Raddysh (Erie) are away from their respective teams for the 2018 WJC tournament.

Barrie Colts 4 @ Owen Sound Attack 3 (SO)

W Alexey Lipanov, BAR: 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM, 4 SOG, 3/5 FO
Season Totals: 32 GP, 11-17-28, +10, 10 PIM
‘16-‘17 Totals (VHL-Russia): 21 GP, 3-5-8, +5, 8 PIM

The Colts scored twice in the 3rd to rally from a 3-1 deficit at the second intermission to force overtime and the eventual shootout. Ben Hawerchuk (undrafted) scored in the shootout to go along with his regulation goal and assist to pace Barrie to victory. Lipanov remains pointless since being cut from the Russian WJC pre-tournament selection camp.

Ottawa 67’s 4 @ Peterborough Petes 5

W/C Christopher Paquette, PBO: 0-0-0, +1, 0 PIM, 2 SOG, 3/6 FO
Season Totals: 31 GP, 10-4-14, -18, 6 PIM
’16-‘17 Totals (NIA/PBO): 66 GP, 19-29-48, +1, 28 PIM

The Petes finally get the monkey off their back, but not without a bit of drama, finally breaking their winless streak behind Pavel Gogolev’s (2018 draft eligible) hat trick. Gogolev opened the scoring just 18 seconds into the game, and would then break a 1-1 tie 6:34 into 2nd with his second of the game. That’s when Ottawa’s Tye Felhaber (undrafted) would notch a natural hat trick in the space of 4:22 of the 2nd period to propel the 67’s to a 4-1 lead, and it certainly looked like more of the recent woes for Peterborough. But, the Petes hunkered down in the 3rd, scoring three unanswered starting with Gogolev’s third of the game.

Western Hockey League

** Note: Brett Howden (Moose Jaw), Cal Foote (Kelowna), and Libor Hajek (Saskatoon) are away from their respective teams for the 2018 WJC tournament.

Moose Jaw Warriors 7 @ Brandon Wheat Kings 4

D Oleg Sosunov, MJ: 0-0-0, +3, 2 PIM, 1 SOG
Season Totals: 37 GP, 7-10-17, +30, 38 PIM
’16-‘17 Totals (MHL-Russia): 32 GP, 0-0-0, +1, 79 PIM

A game removed from pasting up a snowman on the scoreboard, the Warriors put up the touchdown against the Wheat Kings as Ryan Peckford (2018 draft eligible) scored twice and added an assist for Moose Jaw, and Brayden Burke (undrafted) scored and added three assists of his own. Moose Jaw has now won 80% of their 38 games thus far this season, going 29-6-1-2 as the top team in the WHL, and is on a 8-1-0-1 run in their last 10 games.

United States Hockey League

** Note: Cole Guttman (Dubuque) was placed on injured reserved on December 22nd following the completion of the World Junior A Challenge tournament.

Omaha Lancers 4 @ Fargo Force 3 (SO)

D Nick Perbix , OMA: 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM, 4 SOG
Season Totals: 19 GP, 0-7-7, +11, 10 PIM
’16-‘17 Totals (HS): 25 GP, 10-30-40, 6 PIM
Committed to: St. Cloud State University

Cole Gallant (uncommitted) knotted the game at 3-3 with about 3 minutes left in regulation for the Lancers to send the match to overtime and the eventual shootout. Perbix failed to convert in the shootout, but Noah Cates (PHI, 2017 5th round pick) finally solved WJAC Team USA U19 goalie Ryan Bischel (Clarkson commit) as the eighth shooter to earn the extra point for Omaha.

Thomas Scores Game-Winner in Shootout, Crunch Top Comets

By Jeremy Houghtaling

Ben Thomas didn’t think the shot was in until he heard the roar.

The Syracuse Crunch defenseman deked and shot from his backhand in the 11th round of the shootout. The puck went off Comets goalie Thatcher Demko’s blocker and popped over his shoulder and into the back of the net.

Connor Ingram made a save at the other end, and Syracuse topped Utica, 3-2, at the Onondaga County War Memorial Saturday.

“I went to the backhand there and I saw it go off his blocker and I thought he saved it,” Thomas said of his first pro shootout attempt. “Then I turned to the corner and heard everyone cheering. When I looked back it was in the net.”

AHL Game Night: 12-30-17 Comets at Crunch

Crunch dispose of rival Comets in a lengthy shootout.

SYR-3 (SO)

Connor Ingram allowed 2 goals on 17 shots before stopping 8 of 11 in a lengthy penalty shot session for the SO victory. With Budaj's injury moving Domingue up to the big league, Ingram's got a window of opportunity here to prove his worth until and if BriseBois brings in another goaltender to help bolster the Crunch.

First Period
9:59 SYR Volkov (7), (Verhaeghe, McNeill)
15:41 UTI Carcone (7), (Archibald, Brisebois)

Second Period
14:15 UTI Roy (1), (Chatfield)

Third Period
5:28 SYR Volkov (8), (Joseph, Cirelli)


UTI- Archibald, Holm, Cassels
SYR- Volkov, Joseph, Erne, Thomas

Alexander Volkov and Ben Thomas were the game's first and third stars. Volkov had quite a night with both goals in regulation and the opening marker for Syracuse in the Shootout.

Syracuse continues to slowly creep up onto the heels of Rochester and Toronto atop the division. They're now 7 points back of Toronto with a game in hand and 9 points back of the Americans with a pair of games in hand.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

NHL Game Night: 12-29-17 Flyers at Lightning

Lightning lose sloppy game, and possibly their backup goaltender.

PHI- 5
TB- 3

Petr Budaj allowed 4 goals on 33 shots for the loss before exiting with what appeared to be a significant left leg injury caused by an accidental collision with a sliding Scott Laughton. I thought the fourth goal exposed some of Budaj’s athletic limitations, but he actually played a very good game before the unfortunate injury. I’d expect Louis Domingue recalled for what may be an extended stint from Syracuse. He’s had NHL experience with Arizona and is a bigger goalie who fits what Frantz Jean teaches. I think he’ll do a good job for Tampa Bay if he gets the call. Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped all 4 shots he faced in relief.

First Period
7:27 TB Stamkos (16), (Kucherov, Hedman)(PP)

Second Period
6:56 PHI Simmonds (12), (Couturier, Voracek)(PP)
10:03 PHI Gostisbehere (8), (Simmonds, Giroux)(PP)
15:37 TB Point (16), (Palat, Kucherov)
19:48 PHI Couturier (18), (Giroux, Konecny)

Third Period
1:53 PHI Manning (4), (Giroux, Konecny)
8:58 TB Johnson (10), (unassisted)(SH)
19:27 PHI Filppula (9), (Voracek, Couturier)(EN)

Tyler Johnson was the game’s third star.

Not much to love about this game. The Lightning got outpossessed and outworked and Philly earned the goals they manufactured with the elbow grease expended. Other than Point, nobody in blue appeared to have any jump and only the fluke luck of Provorov’s broken stick on Johnson’s SH goal game them a chance to net points at the end, which they frankly didn’t deserve tonight.

Slater Koekkoek played 8:09. If you blinked you might’ve missed him.

Yanni Gourde was -1 in 16:14 with 1 shot, 1 hit, and 1 blocked shot. He was also 42% on 12 draws. I think you want more from an energy guy like Gourde in a game like this.

Jake Dotchin was -1 with 2 hits and 1 blocked shot in 13:12. I’m surprised his IT went down against this opponent. I wonder if fatigue was an element of that.

Mikhail Sergachev had 3 shots, 2 hits, and 1 blocked shot in 15:53.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

2018 IIHF World Junior Championship: 12-29-17

Canada 3 vs USA 4 (SO)

F Taylor Raddysh , CAN: 0-0-0, +1, 0 PIM, 0 SOG
Tournament Totals: 3 GP, 2-1-3, +3, 2 PIM, 7 SOG

F Boris Katchouk, CAN: 1-0-1, +1, 0 PIM, 4 SOG
Tournament Totals: 3 GP, 2-1-3, +3, 2 PIM, 8 SOG

F Brett Howden , CAN: 0-0-0, E, 2 PIM, 2 SOG
Tournament Totals: 3 GP, 0-0-0, E, 4 PIM, 6 SOG

D Cal Foote, CAN: 0-0-0, +1, 0 PIM, 0 SOG
Tournament Totals: 3 GP, 0-0-0, +1, 0 PIM, 0 SOG

Let’s be honest, it was a messy game, literally and metaphorically. But you have to hand it to the American, just hours after being upset by Slovakia, they fall behind 2-0 and 3-1 to the Canadians in terrible outdoor weather conditions, but manage a big rally to tie and eventually win in the shootout, throwing all kinds of chaos in the Group A standings.

Canada got out to a quick 2-0 lead with power play goals from Avalanche 2017 #4 overall pick Cale Makar and Dillon Dube (CGY, 2016 2nd round pick), taking the two-goal lead to the 1st intermission. The weather, however, took a turn for the worse in the 2nd period, with heavy snowfall grinding the game to a crawl, and it looked like it would be tough for USA to make a run. But with just under 5 minutes left in the period, Alex Formenton (OTT, 2017 2nd round pick) took a slashing penalty for Canada, and then Howden took an undisciplined cross-check in the ensuing scrum after the whistle. The Americans broke through and scored on the 5 on 3 power play with a goal by Kieffer Bellows (NYI, 2016 1st round pick).

But the Canadians would seem to bounce back a put the game away with a beautiful play by a couple of Bolt prospects. Raddysh picked off the puck in the neutral zone and lifted it over the USA defense like a tennis lob, springing Katchouk in alone on the USA netminder Jake Oettinger (DAL, 2017 1st round pick). Oettinger stopped Katchouk, but Jake Bean (CAR, 2016 1st round pick) kept the clearing attempt in the zone, and Katchouk redirected the shot from the point for a 3-1 lead by the Canadians late in the 2nd.

2018 IIHF World Junior Championship: 12-28-17

2018 IIHF World Junior Championship

Sweden 3 vs Czech Republic 1

D Libor Hajek, CZE: 0-1-1, E, 0 PIM, 1 SOG
Tournament Totals: 2 GP, 0-2-2, +1, 4 PIM, 3 SOG

Hajek led all Czech blueliners in ice time with 21:28, and assisted on the team’s only goal against the Swedes, a power-play tally by Otto Somppi’s linemate at Halifax, Filip Zadina (2018 draft eligible). The goal drew the Czechs within one, but the Swedes scored two power-play goals of their own. Hajek’s ice time was eclipsed only by Zadina and the Hurricanes 2017 12th overall pick Martin Necas. The Czech Republic next plays Belarus on Saturday.

Juniors Game Night: 12-28-17

Quebec Major Junior Hockey League

Charlottetown Islanders 0 @ Halifax Mooseheads 9

C/W Otto Somppi, HAL: 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM, 2 SOG, 8/15 FO
Season Totals: 28 GP, 11-25-36, +24, 14 PIM
’16-’17 Totals: 60 GP, 17-24-41, -7, 28 PIM

The Q and Otto Somppi resumed play after the break for the holidays and Islander netminder Matthew Welsh (undrafted) pitched a 36-shot shutout, and Pascal Aquin (undrafted) scored both Charlottetown goals.

Ontario Hockey League

** Note: Boris Katchouk (Sault Ste. Marie) and Taylor Raddysh (Erie) are away from their respective teams for the 2018 WJC tournament.

Sudbury Wolves 2 @ Barrie Colts 4

W Alexey Lipanov, BAR: 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM, 2 SOG, 4/11 FO
Season Totals: 32 GP, 11-17-28, +10, 10 PIM
‘16-‘17 Totals (VHL-Russia): 21 GP, 3-5-8, +5, 8 PIM

Barrie once each in the 1st and 2nd, and then let Sudbury draw even before Ben Hawerchuk (undrafted) scored with two minutes left in regulation to give the Colts the win. No doubt a tall order for Lipanov to come back after not making the Russian WJC squad.

Peterborough Petes 1 @ Guelph Storm 3

W/C Christopher Paquette, PBO: 0-0-0, -1, 0 PIM, 1 SOG, 1/1 FO
Season Totals: 30 GP, 10-4-14, -19, 6 PIM
’16-‘17 Totals (NIA/PBO): 66 GP, 19-29-48, +1, 28 PIM

Nate Ratcliffe (PHI, 2017 2nd round pick) scored twice for the Storm and the woes for the Petes continue even after a long holiday rest.

Western Hockey League

** Note: Brett Howden (Moose Jaw), Cal Foote (Kelowna), and Libor Hajek (Saskatoon) are away from their respective teams for the 2018 WJC tournament.

Swift Current Broncos 2 @ Moose Jaw Warriors 8

D Oleg Sosunov, MJ: 1-0-1, +2, 0 PIM, 1 SOG
Season Totals: 36 GP, 7-10-17, +27, 36 PIM
’16-‘17 Totals (MHL-Russia): 32 GP, 0-0-0, +1, 79 PIM

The Warriors pasted a snowman on the board against the Broncos in the backside of the home-and-home series coming out of the break. Moose Jaw got goals from seven different players, with Jayden Halbgewachs (undrafted) scoring twice. With Swift Current’s Tyler Steenbergen (ARI, 5th round pick) off to the WJCs, Halbgewachs assumes sole lead in the WHL in goals scored with 37. Sosunov scored his 7th goal of the season as part of four-goal 3rd period.

United States Hockey League

Cedar Rapids Roughriders 3 @ Dubuque Fighting Saints 4 (OT1)

C Cole Guttman, DBQ: Did not play
Season Totals: 16 GP, 6-5-11, E, 21 PIM
’16-‘17 Totals: 53 GP, 27-27-54, +21, 18 PIM
Committed to: University of Denver

The Captain remained out of the lineup for the Fighting Saints for the second consecutive game, and wondering now if somehow Guttman might have gotten hurt in the championship game at the WJAC’s. Josh Maniscalco (Arizona State commit) scored in OT for Dubuque after serving a fighting major and 10 minute misconduct in the 1st for his tangle with Roughrider Will Zmolek (Bemidji State commit).

Omaha Lancers 5 @ Des Moines Buccaneers 3

D Nick Perbix , OMA: 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM, 3 SOG
Season Totals: 18 GP, 0-7-7, +11, 10 PIM
’16-‘17 Totals (HS): 25 GP, 10-30-40, 6 PIM
Committed to: St. Cloud State University

Perbix was back in the Omaha lineup after silver medaling in the WJACs and taking the holiday break, but the Black Hawks blanked the Lancers behind last year’s Slovakian WJC goalie Matej Tomek’s 31-save shutout.

Minnesota State High School League

Edina Hornets 5 vs St. Michael-Albertville Knights 1

F Sammy Walker, EDN: 1-1-2, 0 PIM, 1 SOG
Season Totals (HS): 11 GP, 12-15-27, 8 PIM
Season Totals (USHL): 4 GP, 0-0-0, -3, 4 PIM
’16-‘17 Totals (HS): 25 GP, 22-24-46, 6 PIM
’16-‘17 Totals (USHL): 4 GP, 0-0-0, -3, 6 PIM
Committed to: University of Minnesota

Walker and Jett Jungels (Western Michigan commit) tag-teamed on a couple of shorties to help the Hornets pull away from the Knights and win their final game of the Schwan’s Cup Gold Division tournament. Edina took a 2-0 lead into the first intermission, but STMA cut the lead in half before Jungel scored his first of the game at even strength to reestablish a two-goal Hornet lead. Jungel then assisted on Walker’s shorthand marker with nearly 3 minutes left in the 2nd, and then Walker assisted on Jungel’s shorthanded tally just 19 seconds into the final frame. Edina’s win placed them 3rd in eight-team tournament, with St. Thomas Academy winning the Schwan’s Gold Cup in a shootout win over Minnetonka.

Edina plays next on January 2nd against the Burnsville Blaze.

NHL Game Night: 12-28-17 Canadiens at Lightning

Patient Lightning outlasts punchless Habs.

MTL- 1
TB- 3

Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed 1 goal on 32 shots for the victory. It says everything about where he has progressed in his career that beating Carey Price in a goaltending duel is a non-story.

First Period

Second Period
3:40 MTL Gallagher (15), (Hudon, Morrow)(PP)
19:48 TB Stamkos (14), (Kucherov, Hedman)

Third Period
0:30 TB Point (15), (Johnson, Palat)
4:45 TB Stamkos (15), (Namestnikov, Palat)(PP)

Steven Stamkos, Brayden Point, and Nikita Kucherov were the game’s three stars.

As with the Minnesota game, the Lightning found themselves tonight having to maintain poise and patience in a low scoring game where chances were finding iron more than paydirt. There’s going to be plenty of games like this to come in the postseason, so it’s good for the team to continue getting comfortable playing in and winning a few games like this. Ultimately, the Lightning got the big swing with goals in the last minute of the Second Period and first minute of the Third Period... mental bugs that Montreal surely has to be sore about. Then, unlike the Minny game, the Lightning enlisted Espo’s Rule as an ally with Stamkos’ hiccup quick finish on the insurance marker.

Yanni Gourde was 70% on 10 draws in 13:04. It’s a thin stat line, but gosh a faceoff percentage like that is a real breath of fresh air to see.

Jake Dotchin was +1 with 2 penalty minutes, 2 hits, and 3 blocked shots in 17:08. It was a very poised performance by the entire D in Stralman’s absence, albeit against a Montreal team that couldn’t find its offense with GPS and a seeing eye dog at the moment.

Mikhail Sergachev was +1 with 2 shots, 1 hit, and 2 blocked shots in 18:49. A stat line like that isn’t glamorous, but I’ll happily take that most every night for the rookie. The gaudy offensive numbers are the bonus. The quality, well-rounded minutes are what you need.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

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