Close call for Americans

USA holds off late Czech attack; Canada manhandles Kazakhstan

29.12.2008
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Scotiabank Place Kanata Ontario Canada

The Americans were one goal too good for the Czechs. Photo: Andre Ringuette IIHF/HHoF Images

SCOTIABANK PLACE – The U.S. and Canada remained the top teams in Group A as both stayed undefeated with wins today. The North American duo is on track to treat Canadian fans to a New Year’s Eve showdown for first place in the group.

United States – Czech Republic 4-3 (1-0, 2-1, 1-2)

The Americans survived a game that was closer than they would have liked, but in the end, they were able to hold off a late Czech attack and skate on to a 4-3 victory.

The first period was evenly skated as both teams had several good scoring chances. Both goaltenders, Dominik Furch for the Czechs and Thomas McCollum for the Americans, had a handful of showy saves to keep the scoring to a minimum.

There was only one goal in the first period. Jordan Schroeder scored it with a wrist shot on a power play. It was his first of two goals in the game. Schroeder also added an assist in the game and now has seven points in two games at this year’s championship.

The lead lasted until 5:14 into the second period when the Czech Republic’s Ondrej Roman evened the game, sending up a hearty roar from the 19,847 fans. The crowd set a new single-game attendance record, beating the number set on opening day and, surprisingly, topping the two games involving Canada.

Matt Rust restored the one-goal American lead when his long distance shot found its way between the pads of Czech goaltender Dominik Furch. James vanRiemsdyk gave the U.S. some breathing space with a late-period goal to make it 3-1 with 1:26 left in the second.

The momentum carried into the third period as Schroeder netted his second goal, an even-strength effort that came just 3:43 into the period. The three-goal lead was short-lived as Martin Paryzek made it 4-2 with a slap shot from the slot that made its way through heavy traffic in front of the net. The Czech comeback bid continued when Jan Kana scored a power-play goal with 3:17 left in the game, pulling to within one. But the Americans kept the Czechs from completing the comeback as they held on for a 4-3 win.

Despite the loss, the effort still represented a bit of redemption for the Czechs, who struggled in their opening game against Canada, losing 8-1. The bulk of the Czech team is the group that was relegated two years ago from the top division of the U18 championship.

Next up for the Czechs is Germany on Tuesday after a day off. The Americans also have tomorrow off before taking on Kazakhstan.

JENNY WIEDEKE


Kazakhstan - Canada 0-15 (0-4, 0-5, 0-6)

SCOTIABANK PLACE – There was no miracle on ice for the Kazakhs on Sunday at the World Juniors as they were outmatched, outplayed and outclassed by host Canada in a 15-0 defeat.

For Canada, the 15-0 victory matched the biggest-ever shutout in Canadian World Junior history. Previously, Canada beat France 15-0 on December 25, 2001.

Canada's eight power-play goals set a new team record.

The four-time defending U20 champions had no problem handling the Kazakhs, who were outshot 22-2 in the first period alone. Jamie Benn scored twice for Canada in a four-goal first period and finished the game with three goals and two assists.

In total, 10 different players scored for Canada. John Tavares and P.K. Subban contributed two goals and two assists apiece, and Cody Hodgson and Tyler Ennis each had a goal and two assists.

Jordan Eberle opened the scoring 1:29 into the game and from that point on, Canada cruised. Kazakhstan didn’t do itself any favors by giving Canada too many power-play chances. In the first period alone, Canada had two extra-man goals, including a five-on three goal from Benn. The Canadians added another three power-play tallies in the second period, including one from John Tavares which made him Canada’s all-time leading power-play goal scorer with six, surpassing Sidney Crosby's old record of five. The Tavares goal made it 9-0 at the end of 40 minutes.

It was clear as the second period rolled on that Kazakh goaltender Andrei Yankov was out of gas, and he was replaced by Maxim Gryaznov for the third period. On Canada’s side, there was little in the way of goal-celebration after it became clear that the victory was assured.

In the final period, the Canadians continued to dominate. The fourth line netted its first goal as Evander Kane put Canada into double digits. Another five goals brought the final to 15-0, as Kazakhstan’s Alexander Kaznacheyev took an undisciplined match penalty for slashing that kept the man-advantage floodgates open for Canada. Kaznacheyev will miss his country's game against the United States on Monday, since a match penalty carries an automatic additional one-game suspension.

The game was a good chance for Canadian head coach Pat Quinn to work with his lines, which he shuffled continuously during Canada’s opening game against the Czech Republic. It was also a good chance for the third and fourth lines to log some extensive ice time.

Attendance was 19,176.

Kazakhstan will get a much-needed day off tomorrow before taking on the U.S. on Monday. Canada will return to action tomorrow against Germany.

JENNY WIEDEKE

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