INNSBRUCK - Russia jumped on a listless US team for seven goals in the final game of the preliminary round of the 2012 Youth Olympic Winter Games. Team USA will have a day to lick its wounds and reload for a rematch against the Russians in the semi-finals.
“We just got overwhelmed,” said US head coach. “We’ve taken so many penalties in the tournament, and took another ten seconds in where they got a goal and it just went downhill from there.”
At 1:43 into the opening frame and with USA’s Adam Baughman in the penalty box for tripping, Egor Orlov cut into the middle of the US zone completely untouched and beat Minney with a shot between the legs. Alexander Mikulovich followed up with another power play goal at 6:47, as the Americans had 16 total penalty minutes to Russia’s four.
With his team holding a 2-0 lead in the second period, Andrey Svetlakov found teammate Stanislav Kondratyev all alone in front of the net for an easy goal. Just over 30 seconds later, Team USA took another hit when an American player crashed into goaltender Edwin Minney, forcing him out of the game with an injury.
With Logan Halladay subbed in the US goal, Alexander Protapovich sent the puck down low to Maxim Lazarev beside the US net. Lazarev passed the puck across the crease to Evgeny Svechnikov, who sent the puck in for the 4-0 lead. Svechnikov then got an assist on a goal by Lazarev two minutes later, when Halladay misplayed the puck behind the net and he got the puck and passed in front to Lazarev to shoot into a wide open net.
Lazarev had another goal in the third period, scoring on a breakaway, and Eduard Nasybullin added a fourth power play goal for Russia. The US avoided the shutout thanks to a goal from Jared Fiegl, but will have to play better if they hope to advance to the final.
“We just have to play with more of the intensity that we showed in our game against Finland, and hopefully we’ll be able to do that,” said Smith.
Following Russia’s win, the semi-finals of the 2012 Youth Olympic Winter Games ice hockey event are set. The Americans will go up against the Russians in the first game, followed by Canada-Finland in the second.
Canada - Finland 3 - 2 (0 - 0, 2 - 1, 0 - 1, 0 - 0, 1 - 0) Game Sheet
INNSBRUCK - It took an overtime period and a shootout to do it, but Canada came out with a win against Finland in their final game of the preliminary round. Reid Gardiner had the game winning shootout goal as Canada claimed the top seed from the Finns.
“It was an excellent game, lots of competition between the two teams,” said Canadian goaltender Keven Bouchard. “It could have gone either way but we were able to take advantage of our opportunities.”
Down 2-1 in the third period, Finland killed off a penalty at the outset of the frame and then tied the game up six minutes in when Otto Nieminen cruised into the Canadian zone and fired a long shot on net. Bouchard made the save but allowed a long rebound to come to Finnish forward Joel Kirivanta, who fired it home for his second goal of the game.
After an uneventful overtime period, Canada and Finland went to penalty shots for the first time in Youth Olympic Games history. The first two shooters for both teams didn’t score, Canada’s Eric Cornel missed the net and Kirivanta’s shot was stopped twice as the ref ruled that Bouchard left his crease too early and gave Kirivanta another shot, only to be stymied again by Bouchard with a poke check.
Ryan Gropp for Canada was up next, and fired his shot home into the top left corner. Then after Finland’s Kasperi Kapanen dangled Bouchard and scored with the backhand, Reid Gardiner copied his teammate's shot and Kahkonen was beaten again to the corner.
That left Finland captain Manu Honkanen needing to score to keep his team alive. Honkanen’s shot beat Bouchard but not the post, and Canada came on the ice to celebrate its third win of the tournament.
“We were expecting a tough game and they gave us a tough game,” said Canadian captain Joseph Hicketts. “It helps us to have a game like this before we go to the semi-finals.”
After both teams were held scoreless through the first period, Canada’s Reid Duke got the puck along the Finnish blue line and passed it up to a streaking Adam Brooks. On the ensuing two-on-one Brooks kept the puck and shot it past Kahkonen for the first goal of the game eleven seconds into the second period.
After a goal by Joel Kirivanta was disallowed when the referee ruled he had kicked the puck into the net, Canada was caught on a bad change that allowed the Finns to come in on the Canadian net and fire on Bouchard, who gave it up to Kirivanta for the tying goal.
Midway through the period Eric Cornel broke through the Finnish defence and took off on a breakaway, beating Kahkonen with a forehand for the 2-1 lead. Then Kirivanta's second goal tied the game in the third period, sending the game into the first overtime of the tournament.
Both teams are headed to the semifinals, their opponents to be determined following the Russia-USA match later today.
(Nathan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)