U18 Day 2: Favourites all win

Russia, USA, Finland and Slovakia all skate to victories

Kazan  Russia

Hosts Russia could celebrate the second win after two days. Photo: IIHF/HHoF/Mikael Fritzon

KAZAN, Russia – Slovakia against Denmark and the United States vs. Belarus both won their second games, 5-2. Russia beat Germany while Finland succeeded against the Swiss.

Germany – Russia 2-6 (1-0, 0-3, 1-3)

Germany had Russia on the ropes for nearly half today’s preliminary round game against Russia, but couldn’t hold off the defending champions as the Russians surged to the 6-2 win.

While the Germans were much improved from their 9-2 loss against Canada in the opener, they still have no points in two games at this year’s championship. Meanwhile, Russia is sitting pretty with six points in its two outings.

Maximilian Forster gave Germany the surprise 1-0 lead at the 13:39 mark with a power-play goal. Perhaps even more surprising was how long the slim German advantage lasted against the hosts. It took until the 26-minute mark for the Russians to find the back of the net as Kirill Petrov broke the silence on the power play.

After the Petrov goal, the floodgates opened as Russia put in a total of three goals to climb ahead to a 3-1 lead in the period. Nikita Filatov and Dmitryi Kugryshev also scored in the solid period.

But with a strong start to the third period, Germany made it a one-goal game. Toni Ritter scored with Forster assisting 1:54 into the period. Andrey Lokotionov helped ease the building tension when he gave the Russians breathing space again, scoring the 4-2 goal with just over 10 minutes left in the game. A Filatov shorthanded goal a little more than a minute later crushed all German upset hopes as Russia skated on to the 6-2 win.

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Switzerland – Finland 3-5 (0-2, 1-2, 2-1)

Finland’s first game at this year’s U18 World Championship was a successful debut as the Nordic nation easily topped Switzerland, 5-3. The loss puts the Swiss in a tough, but not impossible, spot to make the quarterfinals as they are now winless in two games.

Finland got on the board twice in the first period, scoring early and late goals. The opening tally came just 3:25 into the game when Toni Rajala struck. It was followed up with a Jere Sallinen power-play goal with 1:15 left in the period. The Finns continued to cruise in the second period, building on its lead a mere 20 seconds into the period when Matias Sointu scored the 3-0 goal.

Patrick Geering, who also scored one of Switzerland’s two goals against the U.S., gave the Swiss hope again today against Finland. His goal at the 25:15 mark made it a 3-1 affair. But Joonas Nattinen was there to restore order, and the three-goal lead, for the Finns as he netted the second power-play goal of the game seven minutes later.

The Swiss countered again and cut the lead back down to two goals 5:21 into the third period with a power-play effort. But Finland was simply too strong down the stretch as Rajala scored again with 10 minutes left. The Swiss were again able to answer with a power-play goal, but it did little to change the outcome as Finland won, 5-3.

Finn Toni Rajala scored two goals, here the 5-2, against Switzerland. Photo: IIHF/HHoF/Pekka Moronen

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Slovakia – Denmark 5-2 (0-0, 2-0, 3-2)

Slovakia rebounded from its first game loss and skated to a 5-2 win against Denmark in U18 preliminary round action.  The game was Denmark’s first of the tournament.

Slovakia is looking strong thus far as the team skated well against defending champion Russia, despite losing 6-4. Despite it being early in the preliminary round, today’s win against the Danes could prove to be vital in the Slovak’s bid for quarterfinal spot.

After a scoreless first period, the Slovaks pulled ahead with two second-period goals. It took nearly half the game for the Slovaks to penetrate the Denmark defense as Tomas Hricina scored the 1-0 goal at the 9:09 mark of the second period. A two-man advantage goal from Michal Siska doubled the lead late in the period.

The third period opened with a flurry of goals as Denmark cut the lead to 2-1 with a power-play tally 3:44 into the stanza when Alexander Jensen scored. But the Danish hopes were quickly dashed as Slovakia slammed in two goals, coming just 28 seconds apart to climb ahead 4-1. The teams exchanged goals late in the period, as Jensen netted his second goal, while Martin Stajnoch scored on the power-play for Slovakia. But the late goals did nothing to change the outcome of the game as Slovakia rolled onto the 5-2 win.

Slovakia's Richard Panik against Denmark's Markus Lauridsen. Photo: IIHF/HHoF/Mikael Fritzon

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Belarus – United States 2-5 (1-2, 0-2, 1-1)

Last year’s silver medalist, USA, continues to look strong as the squad cruised to a 5-2 win against Belarus. The Americans now have two wins in two games, while Belarus is winless in its first two games.

Belarus took the early 1-0 lead netting the surprising opening goal just over three minutes into the game. The lead stood for nearly 10 more minutes as Belarus was able to keep up with the Americans through much of the first period until David Wohlberg evened things at one at the 14:47 mark. A power play goal in the waning minutes of the period from Philip McRae gave the U.S. its first lead of the game.

From there, the U.S. dominated the game, as Belarus, despite keeping it close in the first period, could only watch as the U.S. offense took over. In the second period, the Americans added another pair of goals that came five minutes apart to pull out to a commanding 4-1 lead. The puck was also in the Belarus zone through much of the later stages of the game as in total, the Americans held a 44-19 shot advantage and allowed just three shots on net in the second period surge.

Belarus had a spark of hope after netting the 4-2 goal with a two-man advantage six minutes into the third period, but the team could not further close the gap as the Americans sealed the win with an empty-netter in the last two minutes of the game to bring the final to 5-2.

Team USA's Philip McRae's amazing 2-1 goal against Belarus. Photo: IIHF/HHoF/Pekka Mononen

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