KAZAN, Russia – It was a great night for U18 hockey as a capacity crowd of 10,000 saw Russia down rival Canada 4-2 in a cracker of a game. In the other group, Sweden scored in the last seconds to defeat USA 5-4. Both Russia and Sweden claimed semi-final byes.Russia – Canada 4-2 (0-0, 2-2, 2-0)
If someone thought that the Russia – Canada rivalry isn’t what it used to be, they would definitely change their mind after watching the U18 clash of the titans in Kazan. Russia defeated Canada 4-2 in front of 10,000 wild fans at the Tatneft Arena that had all the elements of a classic matchup.
Evgeni Grachev broke a 2-2 deadlock 7:43 into the third period to give the Russians a lead they never relinquished. Pavel Chernov added the insurance goal with 4:25 remaining. Russia is the defending U18 World Champion.
With the win, Russia clinched first place in Group A, assuring a bye to Monday’s semifinal. Russia leads the group with a perfect 3W-0L record for nine points and have only Denmark left to play in the last preliminary round game on Friday. Canada is 2W-1L and has Slovakia left to play on the same day.
There were 45 penalty minutes called during a rough opening, among them a game misconduct to Russia’s Nikita Filatov for butt-ending. Things calmed down in the middle stanza and Dmitri Kugryshev gave the Russians and 1-0 lead at 3:21. Ryan Ellis used a two-man advantage for the equalizer midway through the game and two minutes later Canada scored again. This time through Matthew Duchesne who got the puck past goalie Alexander Pechurskiy.
Canada’s lead stood for a little more than five minutes. Andrei Lektionov made things even with 50 seconds left in the period with a power-play effort. A crucial goal that gave Russia momentum. When the teams returned for the last period, Russia was clearly the hotter squad. They outshot Canada 14-7 in the last 20 minutes. Lektionov leads all tournament scorers with three goals and as many assists.Click here for the game's photo gallery.USA – Sweden 4-5 (1-1, 2-2, 1-2)
Andre Petersson scored a dramatic goal with 16 seconds left in regulation to give Sweden a 5-4 win over the United Sates and keep his team with a perfect 3W-0L record in Group B. It was Petersson’s third goal of the championship.
Team USA had the lead (4-3) with 10 minutes left when defenceman Daniel Bozic equalized. Bozic later caused a penalty shot, but USA’s Danny Kristo couldn’t get the puck past goalie Jakob Markstrom.
Sweden assured themselves first place in Group B and a bye to the semifinal, while the Americans will play the quarterfinal, likely against Slovakia or Germany, on Sunday.
USA enjoyed a 3-1 lead midway through the game after goals from Jordan Schroeder, Colin Moore and Jeremy Morin. But Sweden came back with two quick goals before the last intermission, through Mattias Tedenby and defenceman Erik Karlsson. It was Tedenby’s second goal of the game as he also had Sweden’s first marker after nine minutes. Karlsson also added two assists, while Tedenby was 2+1 for the evening.This Sweden goal was waved off, but the Swedes came back and scored the game winner with 16 seconds remaining to defeat the U.S. 5-4. Photo: IIHF/HHoF/Pekka MononenClick here for the game's photo gallery.
Germany – Slovakia 5-4 (2-1, 2-3, 0-0, 0-0, 1-0)
In a game with many twists and turns, Germany came out on top of a shootout thriller with a 5-4 victory over Slovakia.
It was a wacky game from the beginning as the first period included a goal in the first nine seconds, followed by two shorthanded tallies. Germany’s Maximillian Forster scored after the opening face-off to give his team the very early 1-0 lead. Slovakia bounced back with a morale-boosting shorthanded goal at the 7:21 mark. But the boost was short-lived as Germany reclaimed the lead with a shorthanded tally of its own, taking a 2-1 lead into the second period.
The first half of the second period was owned by the Slovaks as they put in three consecutive goals, including a five-on three, to turn the tables and take a commanding 4-2 lead. Of course, this was no ordinary game, so fittingly, Germany owned the second half of the period and tied the game at four with a pair of even-strength goals.
And in the third period came…silence. No goals, only two penalties and a lot of nervous energy as the teams headed into overtime. The overtime was much of same, forcing the shootout, which was won when Daniel Weiss put in the game-winner for the two points in the standings.
Germany kept a window of hope open to avoid the Relegation Round, while Slovakia now has four points in three games and still faces an unclear fate. If both teams end up the relegation round, the Germans would take two points with them, while Slovakia would have just one.It's in! Daniel Weiss scored the shootout-winning goal. Photo: IIHF/HHoF/Mikael FritzonClick here for the game's photo gallery.Belarus – Switzerland 2-4 (0-2, 1-1, 1-1)
Switzerland skated to its first win at this year’s U18 World Championship after earning a 4-2 win against Belarus. Should the two teams end up in the Relegation Round, Switzerland would carry the three points from today’s win into the round. Of course, the three points from today's win could also go a long way for the Swiss to move onto the quarterfinals.
Marc Kampf scored bookend goals for the Swiss, netting the 1-0 tally just 2:03 into the game and then sealing win with an empty netter just 56 seconds left in the affair. Until Kampf struck in the final minute the win was up for grabs as Switzerland couldn’t pull ahead from the persistent Belarus team.
Early on, Switzerland looked to have things well in control, after springing ahead, 2-0 in the first period. But in the 6:32 into the second period a power-play goal from Sergei Drozd cut the lead in half. Alain Berger restored the two-goal Swiss lead less than a minute later. But once again, Belarus came to within a goal when Alexander Fomin made it a 3-2 game at the 52:08 mark. Down by one, Bealrus gambled and pulled goaltender Dmitry Volkov for the extra skater, opening the door for Kampf’s empty-netter. Swiss forward Nino Niederreiter in front of Belarus goalie Dmitry Volkov when Marc Kampf scored the first goal of the game. Photo: IIHF/HHoF/Pekka MononenClick here for the game's photo gallery.Click here for scores and statistics.