Slovakia was successful in its tournament opener defeating lightweight Latvia 7-4. Lightning prospect winger Stanislav Lascek moved into a tie for the tournament lead in points notching a hat trick and adding two helpers while playing on the top line for Slovakia with his Chicoutimi teammate Marek Zagrapan. Fellow Lightning prospect Vladamir Mihalik helped the cause with an assist on a Juraj Gracik second period goal in his first U-20 World Junior Championship appearance.
In the night's other contest Switzerland squeaked by underdog Norway 2-0. Slovakia's next match is tomorrow night as they draw marquee Pens prospect Evgeni Malkin and the Russians. Also tomorrow, the much awaited contest between Finland and USA that will likely be goaltender Karri Ramo's tournament debut.
Team Canada defeated Swiss club team HC Davos today 4-2 in their second match of the Spengler Cup. Morgan Cey again played the role of the backup behind Andy Chiodo. Former Springfield Falcon Jean-Guy Trudel was named player of the match for Team Canada.
And the losing streak continues...
Gerald Coleman allowed 5 goals on 26 shots. The Falcons actually outshot Providence 31-26 but clearly didn't get the same level of goaltending the Bruins did. It may be time for Coach Graham to try and get Eklund back in the starters role or it may be time for the Lightning to recall Jonathan Boutin or Morgan Cey to Springfield. Clearly something has to change.
Game sheet from TheAHL.com.
Radek Smolenak was a last minute cut for the Czech Republic prior to the WJC's opening matches. He and two other players were left off the Czech Republic's rosters just before the start of the tournament. This, obviously, explains Smolenak's absence from the lineup last night against Latvia.
Fredrik Norrena's first club game since being named to Team Finland for the Olympics was an easy one. Linkopings mugged Brynas IF 8-1 leaving Norrena to make just 14 saves on 15 shots to improve his record to 15-5-4 on the season. Norrena also added a helper in the game, assisting on Jyrkri Valivaara's goal with 20 seconds remaining in the first period. Andreas Holmqvist was left out of the abundance of Linkopings scoring.