World Juniors Day 6: New Year’s Eve Specials Prove to be Must-See Sports Once Again

Jerred Bapty
BarnBurner Sports Writer

@CaptainBapty

Tuesday, January 1, 2019


VANCOUVER/VICTORIA, BC – 2018 came to an end in exciting fashion with four great games from the World Juniors, the biggest of course being Canada vs. Russia. 

This only the 3rdtime they’ve ever faced-off on New Year’s Eve at the World Juniors, Russia fought off the Canadians and came away with a 2-1 victory. 

Pavel Shen was the hero for the Russians, who took the puck and drove hard to the net and caught all the Canadians flat-footed, including goalie Michael DiPietro.Shen’s late 3rdperiod goal was the difference for the Russians to hold on to victory, claim top spot in Group A, and force the Canadians to await the result of Monday’s late game to decide who they’d be facing in the Quarterfinals. 

Canada opened the scoring just 2:20 into the opening frame, when Cody Glass snuck one past Russian goalie Pyotr Kochetkov for a 1-0 lead. 

Less than 2 minutes later, Margan Frost took a 10-minute misconduct penalty for a Check from Behind, for what seemed like a routine hit in the corner. 

Russia scored on the ensuing powerplay to tie the game 1-1, their 4thgoal of the tournament with the man advantage. 

Canada continued to fall victim to questionable officiating, both calls against and non-calls for. Maxime Comtois took an embellishment penalty after he was Cross-Checked in the arm by Klim Kostin. Comtois had been a bit easy to push over in the early going of the game, however he was in noticeable pain as he went to the box. 

Canada seemed to lose their jump as the game wore on and eventually stopped forechecking regularly. They had trouble maintaining control of the puck as the time of possession for the Russians continued to climb. 

With the net empty and a faceoff in the Russian zone with less than 20 seconds left in the game, Shen fell directly onto the puck off the draw and was penalized for Delay of Game. This only left 6.8 seconds on the clock for Canada to tie, in which they had no luck. 

Russia finishes the Group Stage with 4 wins and 12 points for 1stin the tournament. They also have the best goalie duo in the tournament of Kochetkov and Danil Tarasov. In two games each, Tarasov holds a .922 Save Percentage and a 2.00 Goals Against Average, while Kochetkov is boasting a .964 Save Percentage and 1.00 Goals Against Average. 

Canada is the top team in goals per game, with 3 of the top 6 scorers in the tournament. DiPietro is the 4thbest goalie in the tournament and thinks Canada is Quarterfinal ready. 

“The air in the [dressing] room was we can do better,” said the Vancouver Canucks prospect. “We’re grateful this happened in round robin and not an elimination game. We can definitely learn from this experience and not let it happen again… A little bit of adversity does some good.”

Russia faces Slovakia in the Quarterfinals. 

Denmark Held Scoreless in Group Stage

Lukas Dostal made 20 saves as the Czechs closed out their Group Stage with a 4-0 win over Denmark. 

The Danes came close multiple times but couldn’t put the puck past Dostal for their 1stgoal of the tournament with the entire Vancouver crowd behind them. 

Denmark heads to the relegation round for the 2ndstraight year and will play a 3-game series against Kazakhstan to see who will be replaced by Germany in 2020. 

The Danes had 7 powerplay oppoertunites against the Czechs but couldn’t cash. 

Martin Necas had a goal and an assist for the Czech Republic. They had to wait to see who won between USA and Finland for to find out their Quarterfinal opponent. 

Kazakhstan Holds Sweden to 4

For a team that was outscore 24-4 in the 3 games prior, for Kazakhstan to only allow the best team in Group B and the 2ndbest team in the tournament to score 4 goals is an incredible achievement. 

Sweden had to kill 5 penalties, one of which led to the Kazakh’s powerplay goal scored by Batyrlan Muratov. 

Toronto Maple Leafs prospect Rasmus Sandin had 2 goals and an assist, including the game winner just over midway through the 1stperiod. 

Sweden finished the tournament 1stin Group B and will play Switzerland in the Quarterfinals. 

USA Takes Down Finland in Final Group Stage Game

This was the final deciding game to see who would play who in the remaining Quarterfinals, and it did not start well for Finland. 

About half way through the opening period, Aarne Talvitie took a 10 misconduct for Boarding. After being unable to capitalize on two American penalties, Finland gave up the opening goal with less than 9 seconds left in the frame to go down 1-0 at the 1stintermission. 

The Finns allowed two more American goals in the 2ndperiod before allowing the 4thstraight American goal on the powerplay. Tyler Madden scored his 2ndof the game to give USA a 4-0 lead just over 2 minutes into the 3rd

With just under 7 minutes left, Jesse Ylonen finally got Finland on the board, but it wasn’t enough to spark a comeback. 4-1 was the final for the Americans. 

USA’s Ryan Poehling, who scored the 3rdgoal for the Americans, closed the tournament as the top scorer and the current MVP candidate for the USA. 

With the win, USA finished 2ndin Group B and will play the Czech Republic, while Finland has to match up against Canada with a 3rdplace finish. 

The Preliminary Round is over, and the Playoffs begin Tuesday, January 2nd, starting with Sweden and Switzerland at 4pm EST. 

The Relegation round between Kazakhstan and Denmark begins at 1pm EST. 

Happy New Year!

Let me know what you think!!

Twitter: @Captainbapty

Email: jerred@barnburner.ca

Image: @IIHF