BRITISH COLUMBIA – The third day of the 2019 IIHF World Junior Hockey championships were unlike the first two days of competition, due to the reason that there were only two games played. The Russians found themselves in a battle against the Czech Republic, while the United States had a date with the fan-favourites of the tournament, Kazakhstan.
Here’s how both games went down:
Russia vs. Czech Republic
Result: Russia wins 2-1
24 hours after squeaking a 4-0 victory against Denmark, Russia were back on the ice, facing a tough test against the Czech Republic. On the first day and first game of the tournament, the Czechs were able to beat the Swiss in overtime by a score of 2-1.
With both teams starting off with a win, a lot was on the line.
Despite the extra amount of pressure, both teams struggled to find their groove.
The Russians could not get anything going offensively, going 0-5 on the man-advantage while also having difficulty during even-strength play. On the other hand, the Czech Republic were careless on the powerplay, as Artyom Galimov and Nikolai Kovalenko (Avalanche) scored both Russian goals while being short-handed.
In fact, the Czechs were lucky on their power play goal, as uConn’s own Jachym Kondelik (Predators) only scored due to the fact that it was deflected off of his face.
Although both teams were frustrated, Lukas Dostal (Ducks) and Pyotr Kochetkov played great between the pipes, making 26 and 21 saves respectively.
With the victory, Russia turns to 2-0 while the Czech Republic are now with one overtime win and a loss. It doesn’t get any easier for the Czech’s, as their next game is against Canada, while Russia’s next opponent is Switzerland.
United States vs. Kazakhstan
Result: United States won 8-2
The headlines prior to the game was that projected no.1 overall pick Jack Hughes was not in the lineup due to injury. While the injury doesn’t sound too severe, due to the reason that the reason why he wasn’t playing was for precaution.
Despite the absence of the Hughes, his linemates did not lose a step at all. In the opening frame, Joel Farabee (Flyers) only needed 20 minutes to net a natural hat-trick and Oliver Wahlstrom (Islanders) also netted a goal for a three-goal first period for the United States.
However, the crowd in Victoria exploded when Andrei Buyalskiy scored for Kazakhstan, scoring the team’s first goal of the tournament.
Jason Robertson (Stars) had 4 assists, Ryan Poehling (Canadiens) had a goal and 2 helpers, while Michigan star Josh Norris had a goal and two assists, all contributed for the Red and White in the 8-2 win.
The States will get back to work on Saturday, in what will likely decide who will finish on top in the group against Sweden, Kazakhstan will play Slovakia next.
Follow @BringerOfRaine on Twitter for updates throughout the tournament.