Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Day one of the U-17 Challenge

Press Release

TIMMINS, Ont. – Mark this one down as an upset for the ages.

Heikki Liedes and Miikka Salomäki had a goal and an assist each in a four-goal first period as Finland stunned the two-time defending gold medalists, scoring a 5-3 win over Ontario on Tuesday night at the 2010 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge.

Liedes opened the scoring just 2:37 into the game as the Finns scored four times on 11 shots against Ontario netminder Chris Festarini, who did not return to the nets for the second period.

Markus Granlund added a goal and an assist for Finland, which finished dead last one year ago in Port Alberni, B.C., but opened the 2010 tournament with one of the biggest shockers in tournament history.

Alan Quine, Daniel Catenacci and Barclay Goodrow scored the goals for Ontario, which pulled to within one at 4-3 early in the second period before running into penalty trouble and losing momentum.

Finnish netminder Niklas Kekki was the story of the third period, turning aside all 18 shots he faced as Ontario swarmed the net looking to kick-start its comeback. Kekki was a deserving winner of the Player of the Game award after making 36 saves.

Press Release

KAPUSKASING, Ont. – For one night at least, Quebec is the top Canadian team in Group A.

Jonathan Huberdeau scored once an added an assist, helping Quebec jump out to a 4-0 lead en route to a 4-2 win over West in an all-Canadian 2010 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge match-up on Tuesday night at the Kapuskasing Sports Palace.

The easterners also received goals from Alex Filiatrault, Samuel Henley and Olivier Archambault, while Yannick Veilleux added two assists in the win. Huberdeau’s goal pushed Quebec’s lead to 4-0 early in the third period, although a pair of late goals ruined the shutout bid of netminder Robin Gusse.

The victory gives Quebec momentum entering Wednesday’s crucial Group A showdown with Ontario, which comes into the game needing a win after a shocking 5-3 loss to Finland on Tuesday.

Wilson Dumais and Zachery Franko scored in the final 11 minutes to get West on the board, although by then it was the proverbial ‘too little, too late.’

Press Release

KAPUSKASING, Ont. – Andrey Makarov is making an early case for a spot on the tournament all-star team at the 2010 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge.

Makarov made 46 saves, 16 of them in the all-important third period, as Russia scored a shocking 6-2 win over Pacific in the tournament opener for both at Kapuskasing Sports Palace on Tuesday afternoon.

The Russians trailed 2-1 and were outshot 48-28 through 40 minutes before striking for four goals in 4:08 early in the third period to quiet the pro-Canadian crowd.

Alexei Shamin scored twice in the third, his goals starting and finishing the four-goal burst, while Mikhail Grigorenko and Alexander Khokhlachev added a goal and an assist apiece as the Russians shook off Monday night’s 9-1 exhibition loss to Ontario.

Aaron Hadley and Ty Rattie picked up the goals for Pacific, which coughed up a 2-0 lead and lost, despite outshooting the Russians 48-28 overall.

Press Release

TIMMINS, Ont. – Thanks to a lethal power play, the United States is first into the win column at the 2010 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge.

Tyler Biggs, Robbie Russo, Travis Boyd and Jordan Schmaltz all scored with the man advantage as the Americans routed Atlantic 7-0 on Tuesday afternoon at McIntyre Arena to run its round-robin undefeated streak to 11 games, dating back to 2006.

Rocco Grimaldi, J.T. Miller and Blake Pietila also scored for the U.S., which held off a spirited first period effort from the Canadian side before pulling away in the final 40 minutes, scoring six times in the last two periods.

Grimaldi added two assists to his goal, picking up Player of the Game honours, while Miller also had a goal and two helpers.

Matt McNeely made 24 saves to record the shutout between the pipes for the Americans, while Robert Steeves stopped 25 in a losing cause for Atlantic.

(Nathan also is a writer for Maineiacs Post to Post and the Maine Hockey Journal. He can be reached at fourniern@students.nescom.edu)

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