Day 7 updates from WJC
BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Three Flames prospects are taking part in the 2011 World Junior Hockey Championships in Buffalo, New York. Calgaryflames.com is on location in Buffalo to provide you with daily reports, video, written features and more through to the end of the tournament.
JANUARY 2nd, 2011
Canadian fans will have their wish come true for Team Canada to face off with Team USA. Unlike the gold medal game last year, this year the exciting rematch will only be to win a ticket to the gold medal game. Canada has advanced to the semi-finals after defeating Switzerland 4-1 Sunday afternoon.
Inti Pestoni got the Swiss team on the board first just 1:09 into the opening period.
Canada went on a shooting spree after that trying to even the score but couldn't solve the brilliant goaltending of Benjamin Conz. They were finally rewarded for their hard work at 15:06 on the power play.
Brayden Schenn received a nice feed from Ryan Ellis, passed it over to an open Ryan Johansen who put it through the legs of Conz. After 20 minutes, Canada led the Swiss 23 to 8 in shots.
Canada kept the pressure on in the second period and finally got their first lead of the game with 2:32 to play in the second period.
Simon Despres fed the puck up ice to Carter Ashton who had Casey Cizikas with him on a 2 on 1 opportunity . Cizikas patiently read Conz and snapped one over his shoulder to give the Canadians a 2-1 lead after 40 minutes.
Louis Leblanc added some insurance at 4:17 into the third period as he snapped one over the stick-side shoulder of Conz with very little room for error. Cody Eakin and Brayden Schenn were credited with the helpers.
Zack Kassian net an empty net goal with 2:01 left on the clock to bump the score to 4-1.
Team Canada finished with 50 shots on net to Switzerlands 22.
Canada will now face the USA in the semi-finals Monday night.
All the highlights from Canada's quarter-finals game on January 2nd.
WATCH VIDEO ›
Canada's Ryan Ellis and Ryan Johansen's reaction after beating Switzerland.
WATCH VIDEO ›
SLOVAKIA 5 NORWAY 0
Slovakia took down Norway 5-0 in the first game of the Relegation Round. This means that Norway will not be able to play in the World Junior Championships next season in Calgary and Edmonton.
Slovakia's Richard Panik was the highlight of the night, picking up four of Slovakia's five goals and added an assist. His four goals mean a new Slovak record for goals scored in a single game and ties Brayden Schenn’s performance earlier this tournament (also against Norway).
Slovakia now has five points from two games and temporarily takes over possession of first place in the relegation round standings. The loss against Slovakia means the losing streak for Norway continues. It dates back to 1991 and currently stretches 18 straight losses at the top U20 level.
Norway will have another chance to break this losing streak on Tuesday when they face Germany.RUSSIA 4 FINLAND 3 (OT)
Until late in the third period, it appeared that Finland was off to the semi-finals to face Sweden until Russia destroyed their dreams and came back to defeat Finland 4-3 in overtime.
With four minutes to play in regulation and down two goals to Finland, Russia had to pull out all the stops to tie the game. Yevgeni Kuznetsov found a way to save the day by netting a power play goal at 16:19 of the third period. His linemate Maxim Kitsyn picked up the helper to make it a 3-2 game.
Things went from bad to worse for Finland as Kitsyn took his turn and tied the game with just 1:38 to play in the game and Kuznetsov picked up the assist.
Kuznetsov kept things rolling in OT and picked up the game winner after 6:44 of play. Kuznetsov fired a hard shot that flew past a stunned Ortio who stopped 41 of 45 shots sent his way.
"The second period was probably the worst for us," said Ortio. "We didn't play our hockey. We weren't good enough with the puck and we gave away the puck too easily. We took our game to the third but losing a 3-1 lead like that is hard."
Russia had a 45-37 shot-on-goal advantage while the Finns had more shots in the first period, 17-13.
Ortio has been excellent in the tournament overall, currently holding a 93.8 save percentage and 1.66 goals against average.
"It's a disappointment," said Ortio. "But I'm proud of those guys in the locker room, they worked their asses off tonight and throughout the tournament. The way we played was something really good. It just wasn't enough this time to go for the medals.
"We were really confident," Ortio continued. "I don't think we took Russia too easily. The game started really good then I don't know what happened. In the last couple of minutes in the third, there were a couple of great individual efforts from them. They were just better than us."
Team Russia advances to the semi-finals and will have little rest before facing Sweden in the early game Monday night.
Finland will face Switzerland in the fifth place game Tuesday night at 5:00 MT at the HSBC Arena.
CZECH REPUBLIC 3 GERMANY 2
Germany came very close to upset the Czechs but dropped 3-2 in their first relegation game. Two third-period goals by Ondrej Palat turned a 2-1 deficit into 3-2 Czech victory.
"Those who have seen our games against Switzerland, Slovakia and today against the Czech Republic, saw that we could have beaten all of them," said German player Marius Mochel. "We are closing the gap on the top countries."
Both teams now have a day off before closing their 2011 World U20 Championships campaign on Tuesday. Germany will face winless Norway and the Czech Republic and Slovakia will decide on which of the two neighbouring countries will finish seventh.
Author: Kristi Hennessy